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News 29 Jun 16

Political Feuds Leave Bosnia Without UN Candidate

Ongoing disputes with in the Bosnian Presidency have made an agreement on a Bosnian candidate for the position of UN Secretary General impossible.

Rodolfo Toe
BIRN
Sarajevo
The UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: World Island Info / Wikicommons

Bosnia will probably be the only former Yugoslav country without its own candidate for the position of UN Secretary General whose election should take place in September 2016, as a result of the feuds inside the Bosnian Presidency.

“Given the current situation, the Presidency will not propose any candidate for this position," Marija Milic, spokesperson of the Serbian member of the Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, told BIRN on Tuesday.

In recent days, Bosnian media have indicated that the Presidency might nominate former Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija for the role.

However, the Croatian member of the Bosnian Presidency, Dragan Covic, on Tuesday said he and his two partners could not agree on a joint nomination.

“We cannot agree on matters of vital importance [for the country], let alone on the candidacy of Lagumdzija for the UN," Covic said on Tuesday.

He was referring, among others, to disagreements over the publication of the 2013 census results and over the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU.

After having renounced having its own candidate, Bosnia's delegation to the UN might support one of the candidates from Bosnia's neighbours.

They include Vesna Pusic, a former Croatian Foreign Minister, Vuk Jeremic, a former chair of the UN Assembly, from Serbia, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, former Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim and the former President of Slovenia, Danilo Turk.

However, due to the bitter divisions inside Bosnian politics, it may be difficult for Bosnia to agree to support of any of these candidates, either.

The Bosnian Foreign Ministry, the Presidency and the permanent mission to the UN all declined to comment on the issue.

Esref Kenan Rasidagic, an expert on international relations from the University of Sarajevo, said the most rational choice would be to support Croatia's Vesna Pusic or the Slovak Foreign Minister, and former High Representative to Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak.

“Supporting Pusic would be important in improving our relations with Croatia, while giving our preference for Lajcak would be important if he enjoys the support of countries from the European Union," Rasidagic told BIRN.

However, he said he does not expect “Bosnian foreign policy to be that rational.

“Most likely, if Bosnian parties agree on supporting a single candidate, this will only be the result of some internal political games and political bargaining between our different parties”, he concluded.

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