”The civic concept for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) can only be discussed after it becomes a member of the European Union(EU), and until then the Dayton Agreement is the frameworkwhich will be used,” said Gabriel Escobar, the United States (U.S.) government’s special envoy for the Western Balkans.
Escobar believes that BiH is currently not a functional state because BiH institutions have not been effective “for a long time”, “which is not a consequence of the Dayton Agreementbut the lack of goodwill” of the political leadership in BiH.
The mentioned agreement has been “successful in maintaining peace in the country for 25 years” and is not the cause of problems in BiH.
“The problem is irresponsible leadership, corruption, politicians who insist on staying in power at all costs,” said the envoy of the government of U.S. President Joe Biden, ” agency Hina reports.
According to Escobar, the agreement is a good compromise that recognized the interest of the three constituent peoples and a good signpost for European integration, “but it has not been used that way.”
When it comes to the concept of a civic state advocated by part of the international community, the American said it could be discussed “maybe in the future” after BiH becomes a member of the EU, Klix.ba writes.
“Until then, Dayton is a roadmap to European integration and it must remain so,” Escobar told, reiterating U.S. support for the concept of one state, two entities, and three constituent peoples.
The U.S. envoy understands concerns about high tensions in BiH and sees an analogy with 1991 because politicians in the country do not talk and threaten to withdraw from central institutions.
However, Escobar emphasized that there are peacekeepers in BiH, the presence of NATO and a high representative of the international community with Bonn powers, Serbia and Croatia are not interested in the war on their borders, and young people in BiH do not want to fight for governing structures and corruption of the politicians.
“Therefore, I do not see any chance of conflict. There may be acts of violence, but all responsible politicians and public officials are working to prevent that from happening. That is why I think war is not possible,” Escobar said, adding that he was still worried about BiH due to an equally dangerous scenario of economic and demographic collapse of the state.
“BiH is an exception to all the good news about the Western Balkans,” according to independent analysis, it is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, with its private sector shrinking to just a third of GDP, which is why the country has the fastest emigration of all the Western Balkan countries,”mentioned Escobar.
“Political leaders with such numbers in the private sector would be fired,” Escobar stressed, adding that was why the U.S. hoped for an agreement on electoral reform and elections – so that voters could dismiss some leaders.
Escobar did not want to speculate on whether an agreement would be reached, nor to comment on their course because they last on a daily basis and he is not directly involved in that process, although he thinks there is a solution that will suit all parties.
In every media appearance, the U.S. envoy emphasizes that the will for change in BiH must take place within the country itself, and not through the actions of the international community because it is a sovereign country.
“We want the residents to sanction their own politicians,” and it is up to us to encourage change,” concluded Escobar, who was in Zagreb on the occasion of a two-day U.S.-Croatian forum.