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news 14 Nov 12

Bosnian Separatism Worrying, UN Report Says

High Representative Valentin Inzko has told the Security Council that Bosnia is caught up in political power struggles, and that growing secessionist rhetoric should cause concern.

Elvira M. Jukic

Inzko told the Security Council on November 13 that he was concerned by the secessionist rhetoric of the leadership of Republika Srpska, the Serb-led entity in Bosnia.

“My written report contains many examples of the types of inflammatory statements...by very senior officials in the RS,” Inzko said.

“How does one respond when a leading politician says that BiH makes him feel sick and that he hopes to God it will fall apart soon?”

Inzko pointed to efforts to weaken the state-level institutions with the latest being the Republika Srpska's idea to abolish or emasculate the armed forces.

“It would be a mistake to dismiss these words as empty or election-driven rhetoric,” Inzko said. “I regretfully conclude that these challenges are worrisome enough to warrant the particular attention of this body.”

He also said the country's ruling parties had not got to work, but remained embroiled in power struggles and in attempts to change government at state and entity level.

All of that meant that Bosnia was falling further behind other countries in the region. “The consequences of this will be dire - economically, socially and politically,” Inzko warned.

In his UN report, Inzko said the international community should not tolerate questions concerning Bosnia's sovereignty and should make it clear what is expected of Bosnian political leaders.

Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, last week said that Inzko himself was to blame for the problems in the country, and that his office should go.

After presenting the report, Bosnia's ambassador to the UN, Mirsada Colakovic, was expected to read out a letter by the Foreign Minister on the political situation, but the Bosnian Presidency prevented this earlier.

Media reports said that the State Presidency did not approve of the letter by Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija, who is also the leader of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

Lagumdzija said in his unread letter that Bosnia was about to take fresh steps in terms of pursuing EU integration now that a new ruling coalition at state level had been formed.

The Foreign Minister, as leader of one of the criticised ruling parties, also questioned the High Representative's report.

Lagumdzija and Dodik recently signed an agreement of cooperation aimed at improving the functioning of the state and the economy.

But the two-party deal has met strong criticism concerning its proposed changes to the judiciary, foreign trade, the election law and other issues.

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