Bosnia needs leaders who would be devoted to progress and ready to make difficult decisions, US State Department's top official and ex-ambassador in Bosnia, Maureen Cormack, said in an exclusive interview with N1.
Cormack has arrived in Bosnia where she held a series of meetings with senior officials, including the member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the other two Presidency members.
Sefik Dzaferovic, according to her, as well as representatives of Presidency members Zeljko Komsic and Milorad Dodik all expressed devotion to Bosnia's European agenda. However, Cormack stressed, the time has come to move from words to deeds.
The leaders must start making compromises which, as she said, is never easy.
Bosnia needs leaders who would be devoted to progress and who would be ready to make difficult decisions. She mentioned as an example the authorities of the North Macedonia, who managed to overcome a long-lasting problem through a compromise, adding that this is what is expected to happen in Bosnia too.
According to her, it seems like current political leaders in Bosnia fear they would not benefit from progress as much as they do from the current situation, stressing that it is frustrating that Bosnia is dealing with the same issues over and over again.
Asked if Bosnia's survival is in peril, Cormack said it was not and that Washington strongly believes the country can move forward.
Other countries keep making progress and Bosnia can do the same with the help of investments and strong leadership, she added.
Speaking of a possibility of the international administrator in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, using his special powers, called Bonn powers, which enable him to impose laws and remove officials, former US ambassador said she hoped it would be the leaders who would find solutions on their own and respond to all problems.
However, she added, Bonn powers are still in effect and that is an important tool to be used in case of a serious breach of the Dayton Agreement, a peace treaty which ended Bosnian 1992-95 war and which contains the State Constitution.
Sanctions are still an option for those blocking the progress, she stressed, but the idea is that the sanctions become a matter of the past and that all politicians work together on the progress towards the European Union and the prosperity.
Asked if there is a possibility for the European Union's enlargement in 2020, the former ambassador in Bosnia said it was important that the EU path remains open for all countries in the Western Balkans.
She also praised Bosnia's efforts as an important partner in the global coalition against ISIS.
Upon the end of her term in Bosnia, Cormack was appointed as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department.