German diplomat Christian Schmidt officially took over as High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday, succeeding Valentin Inzko, who has held the post for 12 years. The handover ceremony took place in the Office of the High Representative (OHR) building.
Schmidt was elected the new High Representative on May 27 this year, with opposition from Russia. His election provoked violent reactions and a session of the UN Security Council was held in order to prevent his election and close the OHR. This decision, initiated by Russia and China, was rejected.
But tensions sparked by his appointment are still present in the country as Serbian member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik says Republika Srpska representatives will not recognize Schmidt as the new OHR chief. Dodik announced that he will not cooperate with Schmidt and that he will not attend the meeting with the new High Representative, scheduled for Tuesday.
In his speech, outgoing High Representative Valentin Inzko said he was honored to serve as BiH High Representative.
“Today, I am handing over this mandate to my successor and friend Christian Schmidt. We have worked closely together these months regarding preparations for today. I was impressed by his detailed knowledge of this place. “I am convinced he will do a good job,” Inzko said.
“I come as a friend of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pleasures it is my pleasure to serve your country and people in the years to come. I take office firmly in my intention to help the people of this country. “This work must be done with deep respect for those who lost their lives in the war and those who are working for BiH ‘s European future,” Schmidt said.
He stressed that he did not want to promise anything impossible, but said he would use all his strength and influence to ensure that this country and its citizens have a better future.
“BiH must return to the political agenda of the international community and the EU. “I will contribute to this, I am very optimistic that the international community, Europeans and Americans, will work together to achieve that goal,” Schmidt said, adding that he would try to make BiH ‘s voice heard in all. European and world capitals.
“The goal should be to strengthen BiH and support its efforts to join the EU, but it is not a one-way street. Anyone who wants to join the EU must respect and guarantee the rules of that alliance. “It is an easy daily task. Progress is only possible through a reflective approach to one’s past,” Schmidt noted.