U.S. State Department once again reminded Bosnian leaders that the decision on the most difficult problems is in their hands, and that solution must to be find by Bosnian leaders. Those warnings come out this time through newly appointed U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Eurasia, Tom Countryman, how was one of the speakers at the panel organized by German Marshall Fund.
“In Bosnia, the Dayton agreement has failed in its most immediate goal, to end the fighting and create a platform for inter-ethnic cooperation and understanding. He was succeeded in the sense that B & H now has the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, and an action plan to join NATO. However it is difficult for BiH to start from the point at which there is now, without renewed commitment of its leaders in all areas and all ethnic groups”, said Mr. Countryman.
Countryman once more remembered everyone on a last week visit to Bosnia by a head of The State Department, Hillary Clinton who tried stimulate Bosnian leaders and all ethnic groups to renew their commitment for inter-ethnic cooperation and understanding.
“Solutions most difficult problems in Bosnia must find its leaders. They will therefore have the active support of the United States and the EU, but they can not expect to meet these two aims, first joining NATO, and then the EU, without making difficult decisions within the BiH”, said Mr. Countryman.
U.S. diplomat also express he is not optimist regarding B&H’s ability and her leaders to take much needed steps towards integrations, he also said that those concerns are there for longer period of time. Educational system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most concerning elements, especially because its reform is still pending. Countryman’s stand is that separate schools (two schools under one roof, E.M.) are generating a risk that new generations will be even more nationalist-oriented then the generation who led the Bosnia and region to the war.
In past OSCE tried to eliminate two schools under one roof, but still there is significant number of them. In those schools children from two different national groups are taking classes in a same building but their educational programs are totally opposite to each other. Several years ago we had an example in small Herzegovina city of Stolac were half of the School [Bosnian] was getting books and programs from Sarajevo, and other half [Croatian] was teaching by Croatian educational programs from Croatian capital of Zagreb. Same situation was in Republic of Srpska in situations when small refugee groups finally returned to their homes and tried to start educational process for their kids. Returnees usually will get small places in existing school buildings, or they would be forced to attend their classes on unsuitable locations. Last week in Herzegovinian biggest city, Mostar, several Croatian and Bosniak students were severally beaten just because they belong to other national group.
If we compare that with some of arrested hooligans last week in Serbia, in a time of Pride march, we can conclude that Mr. Countryman’s stand was not to far from truth. Several dozen of them were teenagers or young adults, and according to authorities in Serbian capital they were connected to several neo-Nazi or nationalistic organizations.