AP: Russia, China trying to end High Rep's Office in Bosnia

NEWS 15.07.2021 09:30
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Source: Zgrada OHR-a (N1)

Russia and China are advocating for the adoption of a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would immediately strip Bosnia’s international administrator of his special powers and would result in his office closing down in 2022, the Associated Press reported.

The High Representative of the international community in Bosnia is tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which defines Bosnia’s constitutional setup.

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The official has a special set of powers – the Bonn Powers – which allow him to, among other things, fire officials and impose laws.

The AP said it obtained the draft resolution which states that the ‘Bonn Powerss’ given to the High Representative “are no longer required given the progress achieved by the Bosnian parties.”

Austrian diplomat, Valentin Inzko, is currently the High Representative but will leave the post at the end of this month when Germany’s Christian Schmidt will take over the post.

The draft supports Schmidt’s appointment, but only until July 31, 2022.

Bosnian Serb political leaders have been pushing for the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to close down for years, arguing that the decisions the officials serving the post have made in the past, which can not be appealed, have favoured Bosniaks and damaged Bosnia's Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

They also opposed the appointment of Schmidt.

These positions have been supported by Russia – but strongly opposed by the United States.

The AP quoted US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who said at the last UN Security Council meeting on Bosnia that the OHR plays an “essential role” in Bosnia and that the country “must meet the specific criteria” established by the Peace Implementation Council – an international body overseeing Bosnia’s peace process – in order to “graduate from international supervision.”

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