The United States (U.S.) State Department responded to the accusations that were made during a discussion organized in New York by the Harriman Institute, at the prestigious Columbia University, where the focal points in the Western Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), were discussed.
During the panel discussion, it was said that the U.S. is the direct culprit that encouraged High Representative Christian Schmidt to impose changes to the Election Law and the Constitution of the Federation of BiH (FBiH), which benefit the HDZ and official Zagreb.
“Today we will look specifically at the crisis in BiH, which, as I believe, originally began under the auspices of the foreign policy of the U.S. through the letter that State Secretary Blinken sent in March 2021 to the collective Presidency of BiH, in which he called for electoral reform. That electoral change was promoted at the behest of the Croatian right-wing HDZ party in BiH, culminating when High Representative Christian Schmidt not only consulted with the Croatian government, but also used Bonn powers to impose changes to the Election Law during the actual counting of votes on October 1st. To describe the move as a shocking display of hubris and illiberalism is an understatement,” explained event host, Harriman Institute professor of international relations, Tanya Domi.
The Voice of America’s request to the U.S. State Department to comment on the accusations was answered by the Media Office of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.
“The long-term political crisis in BiH is the responsibility of the political leaders of that country, not the U.S., and especially not a letter from the Secretary of State. In the letter, the leaders of BiH are reminded that electoral reform is a necessity in order to implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH, and to strengthen electoral integrity in BiH in accordance with OSCE recommendations. The U.S. and the European Union (EU) helped to hold talks to encourage the political parties to reach the necessary compromise in order to finally achieve mentioned goals – which are key for the Euro-Atlantic association as well as for the rule of law. However, the parties failed to reach an agreement. Allegations that these talks were aimed at fulfilling the aspirations of only one political party are absolutely incorrect,” it was mentioned in the State Department’s response, Klix.ba reports.