The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary Liz Truss recently visited Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). On that occasion, she said that the UK sees Russian influence in our country as well. A few days ago, she sent a letter to BiH Council of Ministers Chairman Zoran Tegeltija.
In her letter, the UK Foreign Secretary emphasized that during her visit to BiH, she pointed out that it was necessary to prevent our country from falling back into conflict.
”Your country’s tragic history is a reminder of what happens when we fail to stand up to aggression. Things get worse, not better. The Srebrenica genocide and siege of Sarajevo were just two of the atrocities which left me appalled. We said never again, but Europe’s security architecture has been shattered by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which is an assault on the very foundation of the rules by which we coexist: sovereignty, democracy, and the Charter of the United Nations (UN),” Truss wrote to Tegeltija.
In the letter, the UK Foreign Secretary pointed out that her country was working with allies and partners, including the G7, NATO, and the UN, to impose an unprecedented package of economic sanctions, with the aim of weakening Putin’s war machine, as well as sending arms to Ukraine, and Russia’s international isolation.
”Ukraine’s victory is a strategic imperative for us all and if Putin wins it will encourage aggressors everywhere. Our strategy is working: over 140 countries, including BiH, have called out Russia in successive UN votes, and Russia faces its first external debt default for a century,” Truss emphasized.
She said she expects the Western Balkans to show united support for the UN Security Council resolution, which includes BiH, expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
”Foreign Minister Turkovic has shown admirable personal leadership in standing against Russia’s aggression and has the UK’s full support. I call on you to join her in this work; the UK expects BiH to live up to its international commitments, including by adhering to the UN Charter, imposing sanctions on Russia, and continuing to stand up to Russia’s egregious violation of international law in multilateral fora,” she added.
She believes that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased the risk of instability in the Balkans and that Russia has turned its back on BiH’s international architecture through its aggressive rhetoric.
”I am determined to prevent Russia from using your country as a theatre for provocation or distraction. That is why the UK sanctioned Bosnian-Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik and Republika Srpska (RS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic on April 11th. Their attempts to undermine the legitimacy and functionality of the State, including undermining the hard-won peace of the last 26 years are unacceptable. When I saw High Representative Schmidt, I made clear to him that he has the UK’s full support, including the use of his Bonn Powers. The threats against him are unacceptable and cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged,” Truss explained.
She noted that the UK will continue to invest in BiH and the region, to help increase resilience and the ability of the Balkan states to defend themselves against Russia’s attempt to influence them.
”History tells us we must meet aggression with action and strength. My support for BiH, like my support for Ukraine, rests with my belief in a simple principle: the right of people to decide their democratic future and to protect themselves. BiH’s future lies on this Euro-Atlantic path, as a NATO member and with countries like the UK,” Truss concluded in her letter.