OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid held separate meetings yesterday with members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić, Šefik Džaferović and Milorad Dodik.
The meetings confirmed that the visit takes place during a particularly complex and challenging period for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- It was clear to me that there is a difference in outlook when it comes to key challenges and their resolution. From my side, I conveyed to all Presidency members the urgent need to decrease tensions, cease the use of divisive rhetoric and to restore the full functionality of State-level institutions - she stressed.
Schmid urged political leaders to focus on implementing reforms and dealing with the real problems citizens face, for instance unemployment, corruption, and the need for quality, inclusive education.
- The ongoing crisis is negatively affecting the economy and discouraging investment. The aggregate result of these factors is the continued outflow of citizens from Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially young people - she said.
Schmid also raised with all interlocutors the critical need for electoral reform.
- Citizens are losing faith in elections, which undermines the very foundation of democracy. Citizens are losing faith in elections, which undermines the very foundation of democracy. Constructive engagement is needed to amend the B&H Election Law in line with international standards. I underlined that the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), together with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stand ready to provide expertise and facilitation in support of this critical effort - she stated.
The OSCE, including through the OSCE Mission, will continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in keeping with the mandate provided under the Dayton Peace Accords.
- We will continue to focus on building trust, reconciliation and reform. Ultimately, responsibility rests with the country’s leaders to make the right decisions and to move forward. The many positive success stories at the local level across the country serve as an inspiration in this regard, and as proof that positive change is possible - Scmid concluded, OSCE announced.