Sarajevo’s City Council unanimously supported on Wednesday a decision to award retired US senator Bob Dole with the Key to Sarajevo.
Dole is one of the most important people who contributed to building up strong friendly relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially Sarajevo, and the US.
“The reputable Republican politician from Kansas had a connection with our country and city throughout his entire political career. Especially during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also throughout the years of rebuilding and reconstruction. During that time, Dole was a strong advocate for military interventions that would stop the war and destruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Sarajevo’s mayor Abdulah Skaka.
Dole's engagement in the US Senate and his pressure on the then-democratic administration were crucial in the decision of former US President Bill Clinton to launch a military intervention together with the NATO forces,” he said.
He added that Dole also very clearly and precisely publicly characterized what took place in Bosnia as a war and genocide and his contribution as head of the International Commission on Missing Persons was “unmeasurable throughout the first years of the intense search and identification of war crimes victims.”
Dole visited Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina several times and served as a strong political voice as the former leader of the majority in the US Congress, advocating reforms and progress of Sarajevo and the entire country over the past two decades.
“The recognition of the Key to Sarajevo is a crown and the best way for Sarajevo, as the capital of Bosnia, to symbolically repay senator Dole for his selfless help, advocacy and fight for the truth, which was often more important for us than humanitarian engagement,” Skaka said, calling Dole a “legend of American policy from the end of the 20th century.”
Robert Joseph ‘Bob’ Down is a retired US Senator from the state of Kansas who served from 1969 to 1996, and was for some time the leader of the majority parliamentary group in the US Senate. Dole was also a candidate for US President in 1996.