Bosnia’s presidency has pledged there will be no war, says senior US diplomat

Bosnian officials have ruled out the possibility of a new ethnic war, a senior US envoy has said, despite deep tensions triggered by Bosnian Serb separatist moves.

Gabriel Escobar, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, stressed that talks with the Bosniak, Serb and Croat presidency members were constructive.

“The most important thing … that we all agree [is] that there will be no war and that’s the most important message,” Escobar said on Monday.

“That’s not just the message that you are going to hear from all of the leaders that I meet with today, but you are going to hear this from regional leaders as well,” he added.

Concerns had been raised over threatened separatist actions by Bosnian Serb leader and presidency member Milorad Dodik.

More than 100,000 people were killed and millions were left homeless during the 1992-95 Bosnian War, the worst bloodshed in Europe since World War II.

Conflict broke out when Bosnian Serbs, with the help of the Yugoslav army, tried to create ethnically pure territories with an aim of joining neighbouring Serbia.

The war ended with a US-sponsored peace agreement that created two regions — the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation.

The two regions were given wide autonomy, but some joint institutions were kept including the national army, the top judiciary, and tax administration.

The chief international representative in Bosnia, German diplomat Christian Schmidt, had warned last week that the 1995 peace deal could unravel.

Schmidt also said that Bosnia could break up if the international community does not curb threatened separatist actions by Dodik.

Dodik had pledged that the Bosnian Serb parliament would prepare laws to create its own army, tax authority, and judiciary by the end of November.

But after separate talks with the Dodik and the other two presidency members — Croat Zeljko Komsic and Bosniak Safik Dzaferovic — Escobar said that assurances had been made.

“The thing we wanted to make sure is that Bosnia remains independent sovereign and territorially whole,” the US envoy said on Monday.

However, Dodik said the Bosnian Serb parliament would continue drafting laws withdrawing support for central institutions.

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