U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton started her Balkan tour with her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Clinton’s visit to B&H is highly important in this political moment for Bosnian state and upcoming reforms of Constitution where her administration will held a major negotiating position together with E.U. partners. Her visit will include talks with incumbent members of Presidency and newly elected Bosniak representative Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, she will open brand-new U.S. Embassy building in Sarajevo and will address to the student of Sarajevo University.
“This is important signal to B&H that U.S. wants to keep and that will kept its engagement in B&H and in Balkan. This is also a clear signal to newly elected officials that U.S. will stand behind Bosnia and that will strongly support Bosnia on the road to E.U. integration”, said Bosnian Foreign Affair Minister Sven Alkalaj moments before Mrs. Clinton plane landed on Sarajevo Airport.
Secretary Clinton is welcomed by Minister Alkalaj, newly appointed U.S. Ambassador in Sarajevo Patrick S. Moon and family of U.S. diplomat Robert Frasure who lost his life in plan crash over Igman Mountain in 1995. Ambassador Moon said that this is Mrs. Clinton first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina since she become U.S. State Secretary, but he also stated that she was in Bosnia in many other occasions as U.S. Senator and First Lady in a late 1990’s.
“Bosnia is a first stage of her Balkan route, it’s very important that she wants to speak with citizens of Bosnia in a moments when politicians are talking about coalitions and establishing of government”, said Ambassador Moon.
One of her assistants who works hardly on Bosnian case, James Steinberg, said in a days before she left Washington that a goals of her visit are “pretty clear”.
“State Secretary wants to confirm American interests and devotion to better future for all nations of West Balkans. We want to show them that we want to cooperate wit them in effort to fulfill their aspirations toward membership in E.U. and trans-Atlantic integrations. We want to show them the we are their partners, that we want to help them, but we also want to tell them that they need to put forward some decisions which are important for better future of their citizens”, said Mr. Steinberg.
During Mrs. Clinton visit to Bosnia all security agencies would be under joint command and they will be coordinated from one center in cooperation with U.S. Secret Service which is in Sarajevo present for a past few days.
Balkan tour will include visits to Belgrade and Kosovo capital Pristina, where she would talk with the officials about bilateral relations between two states and further negotiations about Kosovo status. Briefly before she left Washington Mrs. Clinton said that there is no space for negotiations about Kosovo status as independent state, and that she would like to see negotiations about relations of two states as partners on E.U. integration road. Last stage of her Europe trip would be Brussels where she would talk with E.U. partners about bilteral relations between U.S. and E.U., and it’s expected that Balkan situation would also be on the table because U.S. and E.U. almost always worked together on a new peace or reform initiatives for Bosnia and other former Yugoslav republics.