Javier Solana: Time right for conflict resolution in Balkans

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Source: YouTube/ The Hertie School of Governance

The European Union’s former top diplomat Javier Solana believes that the time has come for diplomatic efforts to bear fruit in the Balkans.

“As autumn comes to Europe, it is time to reap the fruits of months of hard diplomatic work across the Balkan Peninsula,” he wrote in an opinion piece for the Project Syndicate portal.

He among other issues touched upon the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that this country is set to hold a general election on October 7, “despite the fact that the country currently lacks an effective electoral law.”

Former EU High Representative and NATO Secretary-General described the situation in this country as “being trapped in a territorial and administrative jumble since the end of the war in 1995,” stressing that Bosnia is “an exceedingly difficult” country to govern.

“Ethnocentrism continues to dominate its politics and the current electoral race is no exception,” Solana wrote.

He singled out Milorad Dodik, Bosnian Serb leader and the President of Bosnia's Serb-dominated part, as someone who complicates the situation further with his secessionist politics.

The former envoy hopes that a more constructive spirit pervading in the rest of the region will step into Bosnia and that “their inter-ethnic initiatives gain steam, as a large part of Bosnian civil society has long advocated.”

Speaking of the frozen Belgrade-Pristina conflict he said this matter could “soon thaw enough to move towards a resolution” thanks to the efforts of the EU which “initiated a dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo that has since produced significant benefits in terms of freedom of movement, trade, economic opportunities, security, justice, connectivity, and much else”.

Solana said that it is not up to the EU to set the terms of a possible agreement to normalize Belgrade-Pristina relations. “It is clear that local ownership will be key to any deal that may emerge from the process”, he said.