The United States stands with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but ultimately it is up to them to decide on their own future and up to their representatives to accept compromise and “give up the path of corruption,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power told N1.
“Fundamentally, the United States stands in deep partnership with the people of this country. And the European Union and the United Kingdom, countries that have been very active around the time of Dayton (1995 Peace Agreement) as well, are very invested in the success of the people of this country and their aspirations being fulfilled,” Power said.
However, she noted that ultimately it is the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina who should decide on their own future, arguing that while “it is true that international divisions don’t help,” there is certainly no moving forward without a willingness of Bosnia’s political leaders to make hard choices to accept a political compromise and “give up the path of corruption.”
Power explained that US President Biden sent her to Bosnia to send a message – “We stand with you, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina” – both in times of crisis, for sure, but hopefully also when we get to the other side of this crisis.”
“Whether it’s President Biden or US Secretary of State, Blinken, or myself, so many senior people, right up to the President, have such deep ties to this country that it pains us to see the political impasse that has taken hold. And it pains us to see people threatening to walk away from institutions,” she said, arguing that Bosnia’s leaders should rather work together to achieve economic growth and the creation of jobs in the country.
She argued that the sanctions the United States recently imposed against BiH officials are producing an impact.
“The batch of sanctions sends a signal that nobody is immune. Not only individuals who are abusing their high office to steal resources from their people, but also the enablers,” she said.
She explained, that the sanctions will not solve the political crisis in BiH alone but can be used to reinforce local efforts.