The internationally appointed High Representative overseeing post-war development of Bosnia will bow out in a year, the current holder of the office said on Friday, in view of the progress the country has achieved.
"We have decided to close the Office of the High Representative. The office will close on June 30 next year and preparations for the closure will start immediately," Christian Schwarz-Schilling told reporters.
The decision was made by the Peace Implementation Council, set up under the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.
It comprises more than 40 members including EU states, the US, Russia, and a number of international organizations.
The move is seen as a sign of progress in normalization for the country more than a decade after the brutal war that claimed some 200,000 lives, left 2.2 million homeless and destroyed the economy.
The High Representative has the power to sack elected officials for obstructionism and impose vital laws, which Schwarz-Schilling's predecessors did not hesitate to use.
"Today's nature of the international community's involvement in Bosnia must change as the country moves from peace implementation to Euro-Atlantic integration," Schwarz-Schilling said.
Schwarz-Schilling, who is also EU Special Representative here, stressed that the international community would remain "fully engaged" in Bosnia through "reinforced" involvement of the EU, continued presence of EU peacekeepers, NATO and other organizations.
Following the closure of the office of the High Representative Schwarz-Schilling will remain the EU Special Representative playing a coordinating and advising role.
Bosnia's Serb and Muslim-Croat officials reacted differently to the announcement.
"It is extremely good for Bosnia because institutions and local politicians will be able, at last, to take responsibility again," Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic, a Bosnian Serb, said.
"It will be a serious sign ... but the political chiefs will be obliged to agree among themselves instead of waiting for others to carry out their wishes," he added.
The president of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, Sulejman Tihic, a Muslim, had on the other hand warned a day earlier that by closing the office the international community could hinder Bosnia's reform process.
Schwarz-Schilling's predecessor, former British politician Paddy Ashdown, was criticized by some analysts for acting like a "colonial-style governor" during his 44 months of rule in Bosnia.
In particular he made waves by firing many public officials, often for obstructing Bosnia's cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists