Tuesday, June 24, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 24,2008) - The eventual closure of the Office of the Internationa Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) is up for discussion at a meeting of the top international body supervising peace in Bosnia.

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) is made of representatives of organisations and countries involved in enforcing peace in Bosnia. They are holding their meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today and tomorrow. They are also scheduled to meet all the key Bosnian political leaders.

According to sources close to the OHR, the Peace Implementation Council meeting will also review all key conditions which have been set for the closure of the OHR – including respect of the rule of law and political stability. However, no final decision related to the fate of OHR should be expected until later this year, diplomatic sources said.

The OHR was set up in late 1995 as part of the Dayton Peace accord which ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, as the international community’s top envoy in Bosnia and to oversee peace and stability in the country. As of 1998 the OHR received broad governing powers and the ability to impose laws and sack local officials.

The OHR was supposed to be abolished by 2007 but its mandate was prolonged indefinitely as political infighting in Bosnia and regional tensions blocked reforms and triggered political deadlock.

This crisis was temporarily resolved and Bosnia signed its Stabilisation and Association Agreement,considered the first big step towards European Union membership,on June 17. Yet this development renewed pressure from some local and international officials for the abolishment of the OHR.

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