Western Envoy: Situation in Bosnia “Worrisome”

Bosnia’s top envoy Valentin Inzko met US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, on the second leg of a US tour in which he has highlighted the growing sence of urgency in Bosnia’s worsening political crisis.

 

Earlier this week he presented a stinging condemnation to the UN Security Council. In it he warned that growing obstructionalism by Bosnian Serbs and their confusion about the division of powers between different levels of government are holding the country back from prosperity.

Meeting Steinberg in Washington DC, Inzko called the situation in Bosnia ”worrisome” and updated the Deputy Secretary on the ongoing political deadlock.

The latest warning comes amidst a new round of meetings in which EU and US negotiators have presented Bosnian political leaders with a revised package of constitutional reforms, which are seen as necessary for the closure of the Office of the High Representative, OHR, and for country’s continued path towards the EU and NATO membership.  

The initiative, which was started in October by Steinberg and Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, tried to reach a compromise among local leaders over required constitutional and other reforms.   

However, most of the local leaders have rejected some or all parts of the initial package.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, EU-US negotiators presented a revised package to Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim), Croat and Serb leaders.

Yet so far both Bosnian Croat parties, HDZ and HDZ1990, as well as the second-strongest Bosniak Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, SZBH, and the main opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP, have rejected the revised proposal, saying that the changes do not go far enough.

In case of failure of the so-called Butmir initiative, analysts say the international community should begin go think how to both extend and change its presence in the country, given the expected political tensions ahead of the upcoming 2010 elections.

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