Bosnia should join EU, NATO: Clinton

Bosnia should join EU, NATO: Clinton

SARAJEVO - Agence France-Presse
Bosnia should join EU, NATO: Clinton

‘We believe that joining the EU and NATO offers Bosnia the best path to lasting stability’ US Secretary of State Clinton says during a conference in Sarajevo. REUTERS photo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said that Bosnia’s entry into the European Union and NATO would be the best way to ensure lasting stability for the war-scarred Balkans nation.

“We believe that joining the European Union and NATO offers this country the best path to lasting stability and prosperity,” Clinton said after meeting Bosnia’s three presidents at the start of her five-nation Balkans tour. She also lashed out at Bosnian Serb leaders who have repeatedly threatened to break away, saying Bosnia’s territorial integrity was not debatable.

“It is totally unacceptable that 17 years after the war ended, some still question Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said at a joint press briefing in Sarajevo with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

“The Dayton Accords must be respected and preserved- period,” she added. The U.S.-brokered peace deal which ended the 1992-95 war between Bosnia’s Muslims, Serbs and Croats divides the country into two semi-autonomous entities -- the Serbs’ Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

The statelets each have their own government and are linked only by a weak central administration.

Seventeen years after the end of the devastating 1992-95 war, Bosnia is more divided than ever.

The Serbs have fiercely opposed calls for central institutions to be strengthened and have repeatedly warned that their entity could break away and negotiate EU entry separately. After Bosnia, Clinton and Ashton will travel to Belgrade later yesterday to meet President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Ivica Dacic to press Serbia to restart the EU-brokered dialogue with Kosovo. Serbia rejects Kosovo’s unilateral 2008 proclamation of independence, which is recognised by some 90 states including 22 of the EU’s 27 members and the U.S.