The institutions and officials of the United States and Germany joined the European Union representatives in welcoming the agreement that Bosnia's political leaders reached on Wednesday, enabling the local vote in the City of Mostar after an over a decade-long deadlock.
“The United States welcomes the agreement between the SDA and HDZ-BiH political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to restore the right of Mostar residents to elect their local government and end the decade-long impasse over the conduct of local elections,” said the US State Department, a day after the deal was signed.
“The city of Mostar, and the country as a whole, will significantly benefit from this breakthrough. Both SDA President Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ-BiH President Dragan Covic demonstrated leadership and political courage in pursuit of the necessary compromise. The United States also commends the hard work of the two parties’ local boards and the cooperative spirit in which they approached the negotiations,” said the statement, stressing that the compromise the leaders reached during the talks was an “essential feature of thriving democracies.”
“We hope today’s achievement will be the first among many actions to empower the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country advances on the path toward Euro-Atlantic integration,” the statement added. “The United States looks forward to participating in electoral observation efforts in Mostar this fall and celebrating the inalienable right of people to choose their leaders.”
Susanne Schulz, the Director for the Western Balkans at the German Federal Foreign Office, also welcomed the compromise the leaders reached, stressing it was crucial to ensure its timely implementation and allocation of funds for the local elections.
“Welcome compromise reached in BIH (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on elections in #Mostar, where people waited far too long to exercise their right to vote & to run for elections. Good to see that progress is feasible. Timely implementation and allocation of funds for local election's preparation is key now,” Schutz tweeted on Thursday.
The agreement was signed in Mostar on Wednesday by Bakir Izetbegovic and Dragan Covic, the leaders of the Democratic Party Action (SDA) and the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), in presence of foreign ambassadors and Mostar's local politicians.
US Ambassador Eric Nelson, UK Ambassador Matthew Field, the international administrator in Bosnia, High Representative Valentin Inzko, and Head of the OSCE Mission in Bosnia Kathleen Kavalec also attended the Mostar meeting.