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    Ex-diplomats warn Bosnia in danger of colllapse

    AFP
    22 Ekim 2008 - 15:44Son Güncelleme : 22 Ekim 2008 - 15:44

    Top former U.S. and British diplomats urged the international community on Wednesday to "pay attention to Bosnia again," warning that its post-war political system was in danger of crumbling.

    "Today the country is in real danger of collapse," U.S. ex-diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the chief architect of Bosnia’s 1995 peace deal, and Britain’s Paddy Ashdown, the international envoy in Bosnia between 2002-2006, wrote in an open letter.

     

    "As in 1995, resolve and transatlantic unity are needed if we are not to sleepwalk into another crisis," they said in the letter published by the Dnevni Avaz daily.

     

    They decried a "distracted international community," accusing President George W. Bush’s administration of turning its back on Bosnia and the European Union of failing to develop a coherent strategy in the Balkan country.

     

    "It’s time to pay attention to Bosnia again, if we don’t want things to get very nasty quickly. By now, we should all know the price of that," they said.

     

    But the former diplomats said there was still time to act.

     

    "The country’s decline can still be arrested, provided the EU wakes up, the new U.S. administration gets engaged" by pushing for reforms and maintaining an effective presence of international troops, they wrote.

     

    The Dayton peace agreement, signed at the end of the Bosnian 1992-95 war, split Bosnia into two semi-independent entities -- the Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation -- united by weak central institutions.

     

    But the political situation has been tense since 2006 elections propelled into office two key figures -- Haris Silajdzic, the Muslim member of the country’s tripartite presidency, and Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik.

     

    Dodik has warned that the Serb Republic could secede while Silajdzic has calls for its abolition.

     

    Due to "the toxic interaction" between the two leaders "the suspicion and fear that began the war in 1992 has been reinvigorated, and an unhealthy and destructive dynamic is now accelerating, with Bosniak and Croat nationalism on the rise."

     

    Dodik, "once the darling of the international community, and especially Washington, for his opposition to the nationalist Serb Democratic Party (SDS), has adopted that party’s agenda without being tainted with their genocidal baggage," the letter stressed.
    The SDS was founded in early 1990s by the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, currently on trial for war crimes and genocide at a U.N. tribunal in The Hague.

     

    "His long-term policy seems clear: to place his Serb entity, Republika Srpska, in a position to secede if the opportunity arises," Ashdown and Holbrooke warned, adding that Dodik has "in two years, reversed much of the real progress in Bosnia over of the last thirteen years."

     

    The three-and-a-half-year Bosnian war left at least 100,000 people dead and more than two million homeless.

     

    Photo: AFP

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