Christian Schmidt Receives Cold Shoulder By Bosnian Serb Leaders

BOSNIA

Bosnian Serb leaders want to do away with Office of the High Representative (OHR) as a decade old leadership has been replaced with someone that does not seem that palatable. The latest to take on the leadership position is the German politician Christian Schmidt as the Bosnia’s international peace overseer.

But he has already had to face a cold reception. Schmidt is a former government minister who has finally replaced Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko after 12 years. The OHR office oversees the 1995 Dayton peace agreement.

The verbal lashing has been harsh. In July itself Russia and China have tried to undermine the position and capabilities of OHR. The organization plays a significant role is continuing to help the Bosnia-Herzegovina resurrect after the 1992-95 Bosnian war. This initiative was under the US brokered Dayton peace agreement. The war saw the loss of 100,000 lives.

Schmidt was appointed by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council that comprises ambassadors from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, the United States, the European Union, European Commission, and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, represented by Turkey.

The decision is definitely a well thought out one and should need no hiccups but the Bosnian Serbs don’t seem to be interested in anything that goes against their scheme of things. Valentin Inzko of Austria, his outgoing predecessor had hit a stalemate in his efforts to reign in nationalism and improve the working of the ‘Rule of Law’.

Last week, Bosnia’s Serb dominated Serb Republic parliament has already rejected making the denial of the Srebrenica genocide a crime, threatening the dissolution of Bosnia and passing its own decrees instead.

Serbia and Bosnia have repeatedly wanted to move out of the EU control of the Rule of Law. Bosnia’s autonomous nationalist Serb region, backed by Russia, has long requested the shutdown of the OHR.

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