Bosnia’s First and Latest Envoys Discuss Future

resizer35Bosnia’s first international envoy, Carl Bildt, has met its latest High Representative, Valentin Inzko, to discuss the country’s future.

Bildt, now Swedish Foreign Minister, arrived in the Bosnian capital on Tuesday as the first of three European foreign ministers expected in Sarajevo this week.

The flurry of high-profile guests is seen as a sign of growing European and international interest in the troubled country. 

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and his French colleague Bernard Kouchner are expected in Sarajevo tomorrow. The three foreign ministers will meet Bosnia’s High Representative and EU Special Representative, Inzko, Bosnia’s tripartite presidency and leaders of the three ruling national parties.

“I am very grateful to Carl Bildt that he is coming here to give support to the current High Representative,” Inzko told journalists.

Inzko underlined the importance of Bildt’s visit in light of Sweden taking over the EU presidency in July.

But a senior western diplomat told Balkan Insight that Bildt and his political views have been indirectly undermining the work and authority of the Office of the High Representative, OHR. Bildt has been at the forefront of calls for the OHR to close as soon as possible, no matter what the situation on the ground.

Other European countries like the United Kingdom and the United States have been insisting the OHR should remain as long as conditions for its closure are not fulfilled, or until the international community find another framework for its presence.

Many international officials agree the OHR’s mandate has come to the end of its usefulness. Yet some diplomats, experts and analysts fear the OHR’s departure, without a well-designed follow-up international presence, could further distabilise the situation and contribute to country’s break-up.

Asked by journalists whether the Swedish EU presidency would accept Bosnia’s application for EU membership, Bildt said he didn’t think “Bosnia is there yet”.

“I hope that the time will come when I, in one capacity or another, will welcome the application of Bosnia to be a member of the European Union,” he said, adding there is a long list of reforms to be undertaken on the EU path.

“We expect, of course, the Bosnian politicians themselves to take responsibility for further reform of their society. The international community and primarily the European Union is there to help along the way,” he said.

“I am obviously a historic friend of the Office of the High Representative, obviously. But you can’t really combine that sort of intrusive international presence with a true European integration process.

“So it [the application] will also be dependent somewhat on when we are able to do the transition from the OHR to clearly the EU road,” he added.

Check Also

Experts react: What did the European Council just say about Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina?

“We are not intimidated by Russia, and we are absolutely on the side of Ukraine.” …