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Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: Inzko resigns, Schmidt appointed as new High Representative

After 12 years of long service as Head of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austrian politician Valentin Inzko resigned, opening the door for the appointment of his successor, German politician Christian Schmidt.

Development, in this case, was expected but still unexpected, because the appointment was not yet supposed to happen for at least a few weeks. In recent months, media speculated that Inzko would complete his mission in BiH and that Schmidt would take office, but not before Summer. However, the Governing Council of the Peace Implementation Council held a meeting on Thursday to formally make the change.

“The Ambassadors of the Governing Council of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB) have formally appointed Christian Schmidt as the next High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, following his candidacy submitted by Germany,” the Office of the High Representative announced Thursday afternoon.

“PIC SB expects to work with Mr Schmidt when he takes up his duties as High Representative on 1 August 2021, over which the resignation of Mr Valentin Inzko will become effective,” the statement said.

PIC SB thanked Germany for its initiative and is convinced that Mr. Schmidt will accelerate the completion of the 5 + 2 agenda and contribute to stability in BiH by ensuring the sustainable implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

PIC SB also noted that the decision further underscores their commitment to BiH’s territorial integrity.

The OHR will now inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the PIC SB decision.

“PIC SB expressed its appreciation to Ambassador Valentin Inzko for his extraordinary commitment over a long period of time and his extraordinary contribution to the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and security and stability in BiH for the last 12 years.

The statement added that the Russian Federation did not agree with this decision. Earlier, Russian Ambassador to BiH Igor Kalabuhov told the media that Russia opposes new appointments to the post of High Representative and that the OHR should be closed. He stated that Inzko decided not to use “Bon Powers” that give the High Representative the power to change existing laws and impose new laws. Also, as Kalabuhov stated, Inzko only observed what was happening without any action.

According to former High Representative Christian Schwartz Schilling, this could be changed and Schmit will use them.

“He will certainly use Bonn’s powers, but in changing the laws if they are bad. [He will use them] in terms of lifting the blockade. “If anyone tries to legally regulate the situation with the Srebrenica genocide so that it is not glorified, so that war criminals are not glorified so that decisions are not debated, such situations require the use of Bonn’s powers,” the former Representative said. High for N1.

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