US calls for compromise in Bosnia ahead of elections

30th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States called on Bosnia's leaders Thursday, ahead of general elections this weekend, to replace confrontation with compromise in order to launch long-stalled reforms.

US ambassador to Bosnia Partick Moon called on Bosnian politicians to ensure that "Monday (a day after the vote) will be the day ... when joint efforts must replace confrontation, the day when serious work to move Bosnia-Hercegovina into NATO and the EU must begin," in an article published in Bosnia's main dailies

"Bosnia-Hercegovina must move beyond rhetoric and start producing results, beginning with the formation of a new government coalition, followed by the truly hard work of seeking common ground to accomplish the reforms that this country needs," he added.

While Washington stands ready to support these efforts, Moon warned that their success would require "both committed elected officials and engaged citizens."

And British and German Foreign Ministers William Hague and Guido Westerwelle called on divided Bosnian leaders to do "their utmost to turn the page on the past."

"That will require flexibility, creativity, a readiness to compromise and a willingness to pull together in the national interest," the two ministers said in a joint statement issued by the British embassy in Sarajevo.

"It will require indispensable steps to take the country towards the EU and to turn the focus from particular interests of single ethnic groups towards the common interests of the country," they said.

Hague and Westerwelle said their "message to the Bosnian people is that our countries are sincere in wanting to help and support you."

"But for that to be successful we need leaders who choose to work with us towards the goal of EU integration," the two ministers said.

Bosnians will cast their ballots on Sunday in general elections crucial for the future of the former Yugoslav republic still deeply divided between its ethnic Croats, Muslims and Serbs.

Almost 15 years since a US-supervised peace deal ended the 1992-1995 war, the campaign is still dominated by the nationalist rhetoric used by the 2006 election winners.

The war left the country split into two semi-independent entities -- the Muslim-Croat Federation and Bosnian Serb-run Republika Srpska. The two share weak central institutions while each has its own government.

A reform process aimed at strengthening the country's central institutions to make Bosnia more eligible for entry into the European Union and Atlantic alliance has been blocked for the past four years.

"Bosnia deserves a secure and prosperous future in the EU. It needs determination, compromise and genuine leadership to get there," Hague and Westerwelle said.

They said that Bosnia "has a clear European perspective, but the road to Europe leads through internal dialogue and the unity of the country."

© 2010 AFP

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