HR Inzko in Japan: OHR Will Focus on its Core Tasks

Japan has played a key diplomatic and economic role in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s post-war recovery, High Representative and EU Special Representative Valentin Inzko said in Tokyo today, and he urged Japanese companies to consider this country as a base for investment and manufacturing.

The HR/EUSR is on the second day of a two-day visit to Tokyo during which he has held meetings with senior officials at the Japanese Foreign Ministry and delivered a keynote speech at the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

In his speech the HR/EUSR drew attention to the deep sense of solidarity felt by BiH citizens for their counterparts in Japan at the time of the March earthquake and he recalled that funds for disaster relief had been raised through a spontaneous BiH civic initiative.

“This gesture may have been modest, at least in material terms, but I hope that those who were directly affected may have found some comfort in the fact that citizens of a country on the other side of the globe, who have themselves experienced enormous suffering, offered a helping hand in the moment of crisis,” the HR/EUSR said.

He stressed that Japan, which is widely respected in Bosnia and Herzegovina, can play a useful role in the coming period, when the International Community will strive to facilitate a resolution of underlying political disagreements in this country.

The HR/EUSR said unemployment, poverty and crime, “the legacy of political swagger and incompetence,” have affected citizens in every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina but that popular dissatisfaction may force politicians to change course.

He said the EU’s reinforced presence “will offer BiH citizens a more coherent, consistent and compelling partnership,” and he said that separating the OHR and the EUSR, as of 1 September, “will allow the OHR to focus on its own core tasks.”

“It has, unfortunately, become clear that the role of the OHR mandated under the Dayton Peace Agreement remains essential if Bosnia and Herzegovina is to complete its recovery,” the HR/EUSR said. “The OHR must operate in a dynamic and effective way, maintaining an environment in which difficult political discussions can be undertaken and brought to a successful conclusion.”

“Bosnia and Herzegovina has enormous natural and economic resources and it has skilled and talented citizens, but its capacity to succeed is being undermined by politicians who have grown accustomed to serve their own interests,” the HR/EUSR said. He added that “this can and must be corrected.”