Bosnian Serbs State Price For Accepting New High Representative

Christian Schmidt of Germany will take over from Valentin Inzko as head of the international community's Office of High representative, OHR, to Bosnia from August 1, the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, PIC, which groups countries overseeing the peace in Bosnia, confimed on Thursday.

The OHR should now formally notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the appointment.

However, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs - who have long called for the abolition of the institution - voiced strong reservations.

Milorad Dodik, Serbian member of the three-member state presidency, who opposes the appointment of a new OHR chief, says Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, RS, will only accept a High Representative if he is appointed in accordance with Annex 10 of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 992-5 wart in Bosnia.

"And that means that the signatories of that annexe agree, that is, the Republika Srpska, Serbia, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia," Dodik said. [The Federation is the other entity of Bosnia and is mainly inhabited by Musims and Croats.]

Russia, which is supportive of the RS, and is a member of the PIC and a permanent member of the Security Council, did not support the decision to appoint Schmidt.

Most Bosnian media assesed the mandate of Inzko, the outgoing Austrian who served as High Representative for 12 years, as not overly active in terms of imposing solutions.

Schmidt is expected to engage more strongly with the country, since Germany is clearly behind him, which may be what Dodik most fears, as he himself appeared to admitt in an address to the RS parliament in March this year, when the work of the OHR was discussed.

Schmidt has...

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