Meeting with the US State Department’s Assistant Secretary of the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, in Sarajevo today, High Representative/EU Special Representative Valentin Inzko welcomed recent progress in forming the State parliament but expressed serious concern over the fact that there was still no agreement on a new BiH Council of Ministers: “BiH has already lost too much time and yet the delays continue,” he said. “Political leaders agree on what is needed to bring the country forward, but they quibble over Ministerial posts while ordinary people struggle to make ends meet and Bosnia and Herzegovina falls further and further behind other countries in the region.”
Updating the US Assistant Secretary on recent political developments, the HR/EUSR noted that the transfer of Ratko Mladic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague is a great relief for all those who want to see justice done, including the victims of war crimes and their families. Noting that the United States played a key role in undermining the networks that allowed Mladic to evade justice for sixteen years HR/EUSR Inzko said: “I take pride in the fact that we played a role in a broad and sustained effort to ensure that justice is done and that all those indicted by the ICTY for crimes in BiH will now stand trial in The Hague.”
Noting that with the RS National Assembly’s decision to step back from a referendum, the immediate challenge to the Dayton Agreement has now been removed, HR/EUSR Inzko informed Assistant Secretary Gordon that the Conclusions, also adopted by the RS National Assembly on 13 April, Agreement have only partially been addressed by the RSNA and continue to represent a challenge to the Dayton Agreement. “I am now closely monitoring how the situation evolves,” said HR/EUSR Inzko.
HR/EUSR Inzko commended the ongoing strong US presence in BiH and the active and positive role the US continues to play as a key member of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board. “Once the EU’s presence here is reinforced, the OHR and EU will work side-by-side within their respective mandates. The EU will accompany BiH on its way to EU integration; I will remain focused on the implementation of Dayton and the 5+2 agenda for OHR closure. In carrying out my mandate to ensure that Dayton is respected, I am looking forward to continuing my excellent cooperation with the United States.”