German politician, Christian Schmidt, is taking over the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia on Sunday and will continue the job of overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.
The former German Minister of Food and Agriculture and member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) is taking over the post from Austrian diplomat, Valentin Inzko.
Schmidt was elected to the post on May 27 by the Ambassadors of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB), with opposition from Russia.
A UN Security Council took place with the goal of preventing Schmidt’s appointment and closing down the Office of the OHR. The initiative, which came from Russia and China, did not pass.
“If we look at Bosnia and Herzegovina, we will see that it is not about the majority or the minority, but about the three constituent peoples and others,” Schmidt said recently at the Dubrovnik Forum, referring to the ongoing discussion in Bosnia and Herzegovina about how to change the election law – to have it respect the group rights of the three majority peoples but also to respect the rights of individuals as citizens.
“Today if we looked at Dayton (Peace Agreement) we would have ideas to write some articles differently or to have different options,” he said.
The 1995 constitution contained in the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war based elections on the rights of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, largely ignoring the rights of minorities who cannot be elected to certain top posts.
“But that's the way it is. At the same time, it is quite simple for those who have fantasies that it would be good to change the borders,” he said.
“It is time to commit to stability and to treat people as they are,” Schmidt said, referring to decades-long requests by nationalist political representatives to carve up Bosnia and Herzegovina.