Sunday, 26 October 2008

Traziem Bosnia

Now, Bosnia is a country I've always wanted to visit. I don't really know why, but somehow Sarajevo resonates with me, maybe it's the stories I've heard from my Serb, Croat and Bosnian friends, maybe the history surrounding this city which was once called the Jerusalem of Europe, where mosques and churches - both Catholic and Orthodox - stood peacefully side by side for so many centuries, where traditional Turkish cafes sit today right next to the continent's hippest bars. I'm curious to discover this country I've studied in so many diplomacy and conflict resolution courses during my Masters degree. Are the consequences of bloody wars of the 1990ies still visible today? Have Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs been able to move on? Is there something like a "Bosnian" identity, or do Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks still very much think and feel along ethnic lines? Has the international community managed to build bridges? What does the future hold for Bosnia Herzegovina?

Only four days ago US ex-diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who was the chief architect if the Dayton peace accords and Britain's Lord Paddy Ashdown, who was the international envoy in Bosnia between 2002-2006, have warned that the country is in real danger of collapse and called on the world "to pay attention to Bosnia again."

"As in 1995, resolve and transatlantic unity are needed if we are not to sleepwalk into another crisis", both former peace envoys wrote in an open letter published in a daily Bosnian newspaper last Wednesday.

The long-term policy of the Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik is clear, "to bring his Serb entity - the Republic of Srpska (RS) - into a position to break away as soon as the opportunity presents itself."

Tomorrow I'm meeting the Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik. I'm really curious to see what he has to say.

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