The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, expressed concern on Sunday over the political situation in Bosnia, where suspected secessionist plans by the country’s Serbian entity have raised fears of a return to the dark years of communal conflict, Belga News Agency reports.
“The situation in Bosnia is more worrying than ever,” Mr. Borrell said in an intervention at the Munich Conference on Security. “It was never easy, but now the centrifugal tendencies are really very worrying.”
Tensions have risen in recent months in Bosnia, which is made up of two entities - the Republic of Srpska and a Croat-Muslim federation - united by a central state, under an agreement 25 years ago that ended Europe’s worst bloodshed since World War II, a civil war that killed over 100,000 people and left millions homeless.
The 1995 Dayton Peace Accord established two separate governing entities in Bosnia, one run Bosnian Serbs, and the other led by the country other two ethnic groups, Croats and Muslims. The two entities are linked by shared, state-wide institutions, and actions at the national level require a consensus among all three ethnic groups. The country tripartite presidency is made up of one representative from each group.
Statements made in recent months by Milorad Dodik, the Serbian representative in the presidency, have given the impression that he wants his region to withdraw from the country’s central institutions as soon as possible and unite with Serbia.
In an apparent reference to this, Borrell urged Bosnian leaders to preserve the country’s unity.
“I appeal to the responsibility of the political leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina to avoid the breakup of the country,” and to carry out the necessary constitutional and electoral reforms, the EU foreign policy chief said. “We shall not accept the division and disintegration of Bosnia.”
The developments in Bosnia are expected to be on the agenda of a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday.