EU and US strive to defuse political tensions in Bosnia

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – The European Union and the United States are working with Bosnian officials to try to resolve a nagging political crisis and to help draft the necessary electoral changes, their representatives said on Friday.

The work of Bosnian state institutions has been blocked by Bosnian Serbs since the end of July. They are protesting against a measure imposed by the former peace envoy that would jail anyone who denies genocide and war crimes committed in the 1990s.

In addition, Serbian nationalist leader Milorad Dodik, who advocates secession from the Serb-dominated region of Bosnia, announced that the Serbian Republic would withdraw from all state institutions, including the military and major judicial and fiscal bodies, and would form its own instead. .

“We are here to try to find a way out of the political crisis,” said Angelina Eichhorst, director general of the European External Action Service. “There really is no time for rhetoric or actions that divide more, there is time for solutions and to work constructively.”

Speaking to reporters with U.S. Special Envoy for Electoral Reform Matthew Palmer, Eichhorts said the duo are also helping find the solution for necessary but contested electoral reform that would tackle discrimination and corruption.

“These are difficult tasks and we are fully aware of the responsibility we have,” she said.

Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks disagree over how a Croatian member of the tripartite presidency is chosen, with Croats complaining that Bosnians, the majority in the region of Bosnia that the two groups share, choose their representative.

The two officials reiterated their support for Bosnia as a single, united and sovereign country.

“We have watched with concern and concern the rise in tensions over the past two weeks and the actions that have led to this rise in tension,” Palmer said. “We are committed to doing all we can to help defuse the situation.”

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by David Gregorio)

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