Four member delegation of UK House of Lords International Relations Committee visited BiH on Friday, in order to research and make analysis of the challenges the Western Balkans are faced with, as well as the consequences for British politics, especially after the Brexit.
The delegation held a number of meetings with representatives of all levels of governance and representatives of international community in BH. One of them was High Representative, Valentin Inzko, who used this opportunity to brief the Committee members about the current political situation in the state, and to offer his views on the progress of reforms.
“I fully support the Euro-Atlantic path as the best option for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens. Unfortunately, some politicians continue to focus disproportionality on divisive nationalist issues, calling into question their commitment to the Euro-Atlantic agenda as a genuine priority. While each country has its own pace, the Western Balkans region as a whole has made strong progress towards full integration into the European family. Nevertheless, without a clear sense of urgency, BiH risks falling behind. This is why I urge BiH politicians to stop bickering and focus on reaching the common ground necessary to achieve meaningful economic and social reforms”, the said the High Representative.
Inzko concluded that the Office of High Representative (OHR), Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and the wider international community remain committed to helping BiH along this path. Inzko thanked the UK for its longstanding diplomatic role in BiH and commitment towards post-war reconstruction and development of BiH, both bilaterally and as an EU member state.
During the meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs deputy, Josip Brkic, it was stressed that the upcoming summit on the Western Balkans in London in 2018 has a great importance for maintaining and improving the engagement of the United Kingdom in the Western Balkans.
Brkic stressed the importance of the UK support in the BiH process of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, and thanked for engagement in the British-German initiative, which gave a new, positive momentum, launching the reform process and accelerating the process of the state approach to EU.
Brkic stressed that he is convinced that even after leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom will continue to support the reform processes in BiH on its path to the EU. In addition to the importance of the continuation of the reform and integration process, he stressed that the integration of the entire region of the Western Balkans into the EU is essential.
Nedeljko Cubrilovic, the speaker of the Republic of Srpska National Assembly, stated after a meeting with the delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament that solutions to problems in BiH must be sought within the institutions of the country. “There was a number of questions by the lords which obviously show that there are still lots of misunderstandings about the situation in BiH by the International Community. RS think that all the solutions must be sought within the institutions, instead of waiting for somebody from international community to offer solutions for all open issues in BiH”, Cubrilovic said.
He stressed that the meeting with the delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament was very constructive and attended by representatives of the Serb People Caucus in the House of Peoples and the members of the SNSD Caucus in the House of Representatives of the BiH Parliament.
“We informed UK Delegation on our view. We know that they will meet with different groups and hear different views. I hope this meeting was useful for both us and them”, Cubrilovic added.
He has expressed hope that the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament will leave BiH with enough information to draw the right conclusions.
At the meeting with representatives of both houses of BiH Parliamentary Assembly, the UK delegation showed interest in different views on BiH future, especially in the light of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as the obstacles that BiH and its institutions face. The delegation also met the Minister of Security BiH, Dragan Mektic.
The analysis, which is the reason for this visit to BiH, refers to three areas: the challenges that the region is facing, the external relations of the region, and British interests and politics. The request for the analysis of the situation was made in July and the report will be presented at the end of the year./IBNA