High Representative Christian Schmidt, the international peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the international community is resolute in its intention to support BiH as long and as intensive as necessary, adding that he got a strong support of all member states of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Steering Board (SB) during the two-day session.
Following the PIC meeting at the level of its steering board political directors, Schmidt said they discussed various issues, including how to gain the trust of voters in electoral system.
Schmidt stressed the importance of strengthening the integrity of electoral process, as one of the main conditions for BiH and its progress towards the European Union, noting that PIC SB welcomed the commitment of the Council of Ministers and coalition partners to resume the work on this and other reforms.
The ambassadors also pointed out other tasks the authorities need to meet, and this includes the specific and swift results in the implementation of 14 key priorities set by the European Commission.
Speaking about the talks with representative of the civil society, Schmidt said he was impressed with their way of thinking and reviewing the situation, particularly in Republika Srpska, one of two Bosnia's semi-autonomous entities.
International community has a clear stance on the attacks on the representatives of the civil society and their freedoms, he stressed, adding that those attacks are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
According to Schmidt, BiH and its citizens never before had such huge opportunities but also never before they were faced with such big challenges.
The country must seize the opportunity and political will to work for the benefit of the citizens, said the envoy, reminding that Bosnia and Herzegovina obtained the EU candidate status and now needs to meet its obligations in order to make progress.
Priorities are clear – reaching the European standards, especially in the rule of law and integrity of elections, he added.
Schmidt reaffirmed the position of the PIC SB member states, who said that rhetoric threatening to the peace and stability is unacceptable.
He assessed as problematic the recent steps taken by the authorities in RS entity to limit the freedom of speech and the work of the civil society, and to stigmatise the minorities.
The international community believes that BiH can overcome the obstacles, he stressed, adding that Bosnia's EU membership is something that can be achieved in the future.
Schmidt also warned that those “playing with secession” are playing with the future of citizens of this country and will suffer immense consequences both from the international community and himself.
Here he mentioned Republika Srpska entity president Milorad Dodik, noting that he won't unveil what steps might be taken but that Dodik must be aware of the fact that this is a possibility.
Asked about the work of experts to resolve the state property issue, Schmidt replied that this matter needs to stay out of the public eye, explaining that the experts are not here to make decisions but to deliver a framework to carry out this process.