Tuesday, September 25, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 25,2007) – The situation in Bosnia is serious and worrying. The international community is very concerned because of that and Bosnia is again the topic of senior international forums,the International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak warned in Sarajevo speaking at the session of the Association of Independent Intellectuals Krug 99.

Lajcak said that some of the greatest problems in Bosnia are the lack of a strategic objective for the country, the lack of trust or the “great mistrust between the leading political figures” and the lack of a sustainable development of the country, which became evident in the two years since the international pressure lessened and everything that was built so far began to dissipate.

The only idea that can become dominant in Bosnia is European integration, and it enjoys more than 70 percent of support among all Bosnian citizens,he said.

“Bosnia is a European country in every sense, and it remains to be seen how much time will be lost until work on concrete steps begins”, Lajcak.

Police reform is important in this respect, because the political leaders have accepted two years ago the three European principles and the fact that police reform be the ticket to the process of European integration, i.e. a direct condition for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU.

Lajcak described as “absurd” calls for this issue to somehow be bypassed, because the rules for integration are clear and there can be no detour, and police reform is only the first from a series of steps towards that objective.

The International community's High Representative in Bosnia said that police reform is a technical, rather than a strategic issue and added that the future of Bosnia does not depend on the colour of police uniforms, but that it certainly depends on European integration.

He expressed confidence that his proposal on police reform is the best possible, that it is in accordance with the three European principles and that it is based on the fact that it needs to be adopted by the state and the two entity parliaments.

This plan, Lajcak said, establishes a common police structure, a functional police force, it transfers authorities to the state level and forms a state budget.

He warned that all problems of the country “cannot be resolved through the police”, because that would be a way to catastrophe, not a solution. He expressed concern with the fact that certain politicians in Bosnia who advocate Bosnia as a state of citizens are refusing to listen to the arguments of the other national groups. Lajcak said that creating an image of a victim of one people is in contradiction with the thesis of advocating for a multiethnic state.

He explained that this does not mean his disrespect for the victims of war, especially not the victims of genocide, but that he is against using the status of a victim as a political card every time arguments disappear.

Lajcak also condemned the disloyalty of certain politicians towards their own country, especially since those politicians have large influence on their supporters.

He described as shocking the fact that a significant number of politicians have disregarded the European importance of this “technical issue” and that they have engaged in mutual accusations and have also accused him of being a Russian spy.

“A result will not be achieved with maximalistic demands. That is a direct rejection of the principle of a multiethnic state”, he said.

Lajcak said that if an agreement on police reform is achieved the road towards signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will be opened, the trend of negative events stopped and the road towards constitutional reform opened.

The rejection of his proposal would represent not only a rejection of the Eu future, but also a direct challenge to the international community. Such a scenario would lead to concrete consequences, including the financial rating of the country, while responsible officials would bare consequences for that, Lajcak warned.

Stagnation that would lead to isolation with a further deterioration of the political atmosphere would lie in store for the country.

“If we are unable to agree on technical issues how will we be able to tackle strategic issues”, he said.

He said that not a single Bosnian politician has since the last talks on March come forward with a concrete proposal on police reform, and that instead they have only engaged in the interpretation of the European principles.

This is not the only example of Bosnian politicians failing to do their job, Lajcak said. He cited the example of the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic who in during a whole year did not organise a single conference on return “even though he receives a salary for that and comes from a party which advocates return”.

Lajcak also rejected any connected between the resolution of the status of Kosovo and police reform in Bosnia.

“I am not hiding behind Kosovo as certain politicians here do”, he said.

He also stressed that the international community is completely untied on the issues of police reform “even though this has not always been the case when Bosnia is in question”.

“There are no holes in the international community. They are looking for them in vain”, Lajcak said.

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