PIC Ambassadors Criticize Divisive Rhetoric in Bosnia

Ambassadors in the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board slammed the divisive talk about secession of Bosnia’s entities, hypothetical war scenarios and negation of war crimes verdicts, and said those undermined reconciliation and progress in Bosnia.

Following a two-day session and a meeting with Bosnian presidency members in Sarajevo, the PIC ambassadors, with the exception of the Russian ambassador, disputed a set of conclusions passed in the Republika Srpska Assembly last month and said that Bosnia “is not a union of states”.

“Republika Srpska is a component entity of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and not a state in its own right. The PIC SB recalled that foreign policy and seeking membership in international organizations and institutions is the exclusive responsibility of the state-level institutions,” the ambassadors said in a statement not joined by the Russian ambassador.

The ambassadors urged Bosnian authorities to pursue reforms “crucial to improve the lives of the BiH citizens, strengthen regional cooperation, increase the country’s competitiveness, and advance BiH’s EU aspirations.” They identified key short-term priorities, including the election law reform, the anti-corruption effort, the work on strengthening the independence of judiciary and the effort to end discrimination in schools. The diplomats slammed the authorities of Sarajevo Canton for renaming a school after a WW2 anti-Semite this year.

“NATO members of the PIC SB and Japan encouraged the authorities to implement the BiH Defense Review, adopted in December 2016, to modernize the country’s defense-related institutions and capabilities, and to register prospective defense properties in both entities. The RS authorities must comply with binding decisions by the Courts of BiH in the case concerning the prospective property location in Han Pijesak (Veliki Zep),” the envoys of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, the Presidency of the European Union, the European Commission and Turkey said in a statement.

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