Division and even armed conflict are a growing possibility in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not for the first time, Russia is heavily implicated.
The West this week capitulated to Russia in the United Nations Security Council when it agreed to block a damning report indicating that the country currently faces “the greatest existential threat of the postwar period,” reports Europe’s Edge.
The report, by the High Representative (OHR) for Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, was traded for an extension to the 700-strong European Union Force (EUFOR). All mentions of the document were stripped from the annual UN mandate renewal, and Schmidt (a former German government minister) was blocked from reporting to the Security Council. The maneuvering by the US, France, and the UK, was designed to appease Russia and save the Dayton peace process, which ended the Bosnian war 26 years ago,
The West’s compromise represents another in a sequence of victories for Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik — and Russia — in reducing international oversight of Bosnia. The High Representative is a key target for Serbian nationalists because he can use the so-called Bonn Powers to enforce laws and remove political office holders, something Dodik would like to revoke.
So, how serious is the situation? The answer is quite serious, made more so by the West’s apparent lack of a plan to resolve matters and Russia’s clear willingness to see the country dissolve. While the Biden administration has sought to “park” issues such as Russia and the Western Balkans so that it can focus on China, the message does not seem to have reached President Vladimir Putin and his allies.
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