Waiting for Godot, Bosnian style

Sometimes when something doesn’t happen, it still matters. A few weeks ago the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council met to decide on the future of the OHR in Bosnia.

However, while this meeting as widely anticipated a few months ago and maybe, possibly somehow bringing an end to the OHR. Instead, the meeting just marked the transition from one last High Rep to the next last High Rep (maybe the office should be renamed on the Office of the Last High Representative).

While the declaration lists the progress Bosnia made and thanks Lajcak for “the important contribution made … to peace implementation and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures,” the non-decision speaks louder than words. The OHR remains open, no change and the remaining conditions for the office closure (5+2) have only been fulfilled to a limited degree.

But the fact that it’s business as usual is a display of helpless by international actors. A new person does not mean a new strategy. The problems which the IC has had in Bosnia in recent years are not down to the personality of the High Representative alone. The PIC declaration does not display any new strategy or approach and we still don’t know about the mandate of the EUSR once the OHR will close down. It thus appears as if not only Bosnia is not yet ready for the next step, but also the international community.  So everybody is waiting, dancing around the other without knowing where the dance will take them, but probably nowhere good.

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