Former head of the OHR, Carl Bildt, says that the High Representative in BiH “has become part of the problem from the part of the solution”, and pointed out that the international intervention is “the wrong medicine for what hurts Bosnia”.
In a text for the website of the international media organization Project Syndicate, Bildt says that “nationalist rivalries and widespread corruption continue to hamper Bosnia and Herzegovina” and that the country is now once again in a deep political crisis that requires the international community to reconsider and clarify its own role, creating the conditions for Bosnian leaders to finally sit down and resolve the compromises needed for the country to succeed. “
“Bosnia should be much better than it was 26 years after the end of the war,” Bildt said, recalling the history and the last war.
But, he points out, instead, another deep crisis is looming and adds that it is about the Serbian member of the Presidency of BiH Milorad Dodik, who he claims is “hitting the nationalist drum” and advocates, he says, that the Republika Srpska entity “confirm even greater independence in in relation to the central government. “
“Rhetoric is intensifying on all sides, leading to a call by Christian Schmidt, the EU’s High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for another international intervention,” Bildt said.
However, he believes that this is the wrong medicine for what is bothering BiH.
“One of the factors in the current political crisis is the controversial new law banning genocide denial, which was imposed last summer by the outgoing high representative of the international community just days before he left office. “Bosnian Serbs responded immediately by withdrawing from joint state functions, and Dodik has since set harsh ultimatums,” Bildt wrote.
He believes that Dodik’s call for the separation of Republika Srpska from BiH, he says, should not be taken seriously.
“After all, both Serbia and Russia have clearly called for respect for the territorial integrity of Bosnia,” Bildt recalls, Sarajevo’s H1 TV reported.
However, the crisis, he said, deepened nationalist divisions in Bosnia and “highlighted the confusion at the heart of the country’s presumed role in the country.”
Therefore, Bildt asks whether “Bosnia should be a protectorate in which the international community can design, impose and implement decisions at will, or is it really a sovereign country that should solve its own problems.”
“In a way, the function of the international high representative – the position I was the first to hold after the war – has become part of the problem. On the Bosniak side, his presence calls for constant demands for international action against reluctant Bosnian Serbs or Bosnian Croats, while these groups fear that such action will indeed be taken. The result is paralysis and mistrust, because neither side feels the need to sit down and make the difficult compromises needed for the country to succeed, ”Bildt said.
He assessed that one of the main factors in the current crisis of the general elections in BiH this year, and that in the local elections in 2020, the opposition parties achieved impressive results against the dominant nationalist forces in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.
“Fearing further losses, nationalist leaders on all sides are eager to create a new crisis to intimidate and mobilize their bases,” Bildt wrote, adding that it was crucial that the general election be held as planned, but that the international community needs to reconsider its approach to BiH.
“If she is not ready to take over full protectorate powers, she should withdraw and leave the country’s leaders to reluctantly solve things on their own.” That process will be slow and difficult; but that must happen sooner or later if Bosnia wants to have any chance of functioning as a sovereign country, “Bildt said, among other things, reports Tanjug.