Talks convened today in Bosnia, bringing the U.S., EU, and Bosnian politicians together to discuss ways of breaking the political deadlock that continues to trouble the country. Fourteen years after the brutal conflict that brought its independence, Bosnia faces deep political divisions internally between Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation, the nation’s two governing entities that were established by the 1995 Dayton peace accords. Ratcheting up the ethnocentric rhetoric, Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik has repeatedly threatened to call for a referendum on succession.
Although the talks are not expected to make significant progress, the hope is that they will improve the nation’s chances for eventual EU and NATO membership. With Croatia and Macedonia already candidate countries to the EU and applications from Albania and Montenegro under consideration, international leaders hope to ensure that Bosnia is not left behind as the rest of the region achieves integration.
Bosnia remains under international protectorate, despite long-standing plans to close the Office of the High Representative, which retains power over political decisions in the country. Expected to meet in mid-November to discuss the end of this protectorate status, the international community will be considering Bosnia’s success at implementing constitutional reform. Currently, the Bosnian government includes three presidents, 13 prime ministers, and 180 ministers.