It Takes Two to Tango

BiH leaders have a second chance to step forward with constructive solutions to the problems facing this country, but only if they abandon the posturing of the last 12 months, the High Representative and EU Special Representative, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, wrote in an article that appeared in Euroblic today.

“Since the beginning of my mandate I have followed a clear and consistent policy (often in the face of vitriolic criticism) of letting BiH political leaders take centre stage and solve the problems confronting this country in their own way. They have squandered this opportunity,” Schwarz-Schilling wrote. “To regain the initiative, the relevant leaders – and they know who they are – must change their behaviour. They must work constructively to relaunch the constitutional reform process, complete the implementation of Dayton, and fulfill the remaining requirements for signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.”

Schwarz Schilling was commenting on the decision by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Brussels on Tuesday to extend the mandate of the Office of the High representative until June 2008.

“The Steering Board did this in response to my assessment that progress made by the domestic authorities during the last twelve months in respect of their obligations under Dayton and the requirements of the European integration process fell well short of what is necessary to justify closure of the OHR this year,” he noted, adding that, “The Steering Board made it clear it will not tolerate any attempt to undermine Dayton; it reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it specifically called on me to take action to ensure that the relevant authorities fulfill this country’s international obligations.”

Schwarz-Schilling stressed that the Steering Board’s decision “testifies to the International Community’s willingness to continue working in partnership with the political leaders in BiH,” but he noted also that “it takes two to tango.”

The text of the High Representative/EU Special Representative’s article can be accessed at and