Wednesday, April 9, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 9,2008) - The U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English said yesterday in Sarajevo that politicians in Bosnia should reach a compromise on crucial police reform.

“I hope that political leaders understand that Bosnia faces a critical choice; to accept compromise and open the path towards European Union integration, or to reject an agreement and choose isolation,” English told Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz.

English stressed that a compromise was possible as current options differed only “in a few words.”

This statement comes ahead of the crucial vote, scheduled for Thursday, when the Bosnian Parliament will vote on two police reform laws, which remain the last condition for the continuation of the country’s EU accession process and speedy signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the bloc.

After months of difficult negotiations, Bosnia’s ruling parties remain divided over the police reform. The Party of Democratic Action, SDA, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP want greater centralisation of the police system.

Theoretically, two other major parties – the SBiH, and the SNSD – can put together a majority that will secure parliamentary adoption of the two laws. Yet they remain deadlocked in debate over last-minute amendments.

This deadlock has forced Bosnian Parliament to postpone its vote on the legislation last week.

Over the weekend, SDA president Sulejman Tihic said his party was convinced that Bosnia would be able to sign the SAA agreement even without the adoption of the police reform legislation.

This notion was tersely rejected by the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak and the head of the European Commission mission in Bosnia, Dimitris Kurkulas.

In order to ensure the adoption of the crucial legislation, over the past few days Lajcak separately met Bosnia's political leaders, his office said in a statement.

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