US, Britain urge 'firm' international stance on Bosnia
Bosnia is "sliding backwards" away from the European Union and a firm international response is needed to stop the slide, the US and British chief diplomats warned in a joint article published here Tuesday.
"For half a decade now, Bosnia-Hercegovina has been sliding backwards," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote in a piece carried by the main Bosnian papers.
"That slide has accelerated in recent months, and now demands a firm response from the international community, above all from the European Union," they added.
Bosnia, which still does not have a central government eight months after general elections, is mired in the most serious crisis since the end of its 1992-1995 war.
Clinton and Hague stressed Bosnia's institutions were "gridlocked" and warned against the nationalist moves of the authorities of Republika Srpska which along with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up post-war Bosnia.
"In the Republika Srpska entity, harsh nationalist rhetoric and actions challenging the Dayton (peace deal) framework risk dragging Bosnia-Hercegovina back towards the past -- just at the moment its neighbours start moving towards a European future."
Bosnia's political crisis deepened further following Bosnian Serb threats to hold a referendum on the central justice system, which they claim is biased against them.
However, their leader Milorad Dodik gave up on referendum plans after a visit from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last month.
Clinton and Hague also voiced their "strong support" for Danish diplomat Peter Sorensen, who was recently appointed head of a "strengthened" EU delegation in Sarajevo.
They urged him to use "all of the levers available to achieve progress."
Bosnia's two entities each have their own government and are linked by weak central institutions.
© 2011 AFP