”If a multiethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is pushed towards disintegration, it will inevitably have an impact on other unresolved conflicts in the Western Balkans, such as the one between Serbia and Kosovo, ” Christian Schmidt, high representative (HR) in BiH, told Reuters on Saturday.
Reuters mentioned that Schmidt, as the international HR in BiH, said this week that the peace agreement that ended the war in the country in the 1990s is in danger of disintegration if the international community does not take measures to stop the Serb separatists.
Degradation of the Dayton Agreement
He was referring to moves by the Bosnian Serb leadership aimed at collapsing key state institutions such as the joint Armed Forces (AF), the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA), and the highest judicial body, as well as other institutions.
”The riots in this region will affect the issue of difficult relations between Serbia and Kosovo in this same or similar way, ” Schmidt stated in an interview.
”Serbia should have an interest in BiH remaining united, ” he said, adding that Belgrade’s path to membership in the European Union (EU) could be seriously affected by instability in Bosnia, where it supports its ethnic relatives.
Asked if there was a real possibility of BiH disintegrating, Schmidt pointed out it was not an immediate danger.
“However, if the degradation of the Dayton Agreement continues, there is a risk that the country will fall apart,” he added.
The Dayton Peace Agreement that was supported by the United States (U.S.), signed in 1995, ended a three-year war between Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Muslim Bosniaks by dividing the country along ethnic lines into two autonomous regions – the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) and the Croat-Bosniak-divided Federation.
Imposition of laws
While Schmidt explained he still hoped international pressure would move developments in a “reasonable direction”, the red line would be the withdrawal of RS from the joint AF and the creation of its own separate army within Bosnia, as announced by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.
“If that turns out to be true… then we in the international community will have to think very, very, very seriously about how we can move forward,” Schmidt noted.
Also, he told that using his broad powers to fire officials and impose laws would be the last option.