Friday, October 19, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 19,2007) – The failure of police reform and the message Bosnia's political leaders have sent in terms of their commitment to the process of European integration are disturbing for the US, US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at his first press conference since taking this position.

He said that police reform has become an example of the inability of Bosnia's leaders to reach a consensus for the general good and to work in the interest of all Bosnian citizens.

Ambassador English confirmed that the international community will in the coming days and weeks consider what repercussions could result from the failure of police reform.

He refused to say more on this matter, but expressed full support of the US for the work of the International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak “who has the authority to work on resolving the situation in Bosnia”.

The US Ambassador to Bosnia warned that Bosnia's road towards the EU is now blocked, that the country is lagging behind its neighbours and that this is how isolation begins. He therefore called on Bosnia's politicians to act immediately while they can still catch pace with the neighbours.

“As time passes there will be fewer opportunities for progress and the new generation of BiH citizens will have an increasingly negative perspective”, the US Ambassador said.

He said that the failure of police reform and the lack of progress on many other key reforms, including reform of the defence sector, judiciary and economic reform lead to a conclusion that the promises given by Bosnia's political leaders to voters were not serious.

He said that while one side refused to recognise that economic development and prosperity require an efficient and functional state, the other rejected to accept the fact that changes, especially to the Bosnian Constitution, require a compromise.

Both sides relied on nationalistic rhetoric and political posturing in building a dangerous illusion – that they can build a future for the voters without taking into account the aspirations and worries of others. Both sides need to understand that this will never succeed, Ambassador English said.

He concluded that the United States remain committed to the work on the implementation of key reforms in Bosnia and that the U.S. will work on this with Bosnia's politicians who look ahead and have the courage to work together and compromise.

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