Bosnia and Herzegovina Government Formation Impasse

Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
March 8, 2011

Following the meeting yesterday between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and European Union Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia Miroslav Lajcak, the United States continues to be deeply concerned over the stalemate in government formation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the Federation institutions. This impasse is preventing Bosnia and Herzegovina from addressing urgent domestic issues as well as reforms required for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. We remind all the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the imperative of forming broad-based, strong coalition governments at all levels that can make decisions to advance this agenda.

We call upon those parties which are objecting to sending delegates to the Federation House of Peoples from the remaining cantons to begin cooperating immediately by selecting those delegates, as these cantons are in violation of the Federation Constitution. By failing to uphold this obligation, they are putting a narrow ethnic agenda before the interests of all the citizens of the Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Additionally, we call upon the parties seeking to convene the Federation House of Peoples to postpone this action until delegates from all cantons are certified by the Central Election Commission. Any attempt to convene the House of Peoples before the Central Election Commission certifies the delegates from all cantons raises serious legal concerns regarding the legitimacy of such a body.

We fully support High Representative Inzko’s initiative to mediate among political parties to quickly resolve outstanding issues that would enable formation of the Federation and State Governments. We urge the parties to engage in these discussions constructively and in good faith.

PRN: 2011/351