US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Nelson told N1 that the sanctions imposed on Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb leader, refer to corrupt activities that undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina, explaining that these measures have been expanded to include those who support those activities, including family members, associates and companies. He called for
Anyone who becomes sanctioned should be worried, the ambassador said, adding that it is important for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to understand the meaning of these measures.
The sanctions that were originally imposed on Dodik in 2017 for undermining the Dayton Peace Accords have been expanded to show the support of the US to the stability and progress of the Western Balkans, said Nelson.
He also emphasised the necessity of combatting the corruption, noting that those who are subject of the sanctions are now trying to shift the responsibility onto others, even onto the entire people.
Any legitimate business individual, he stressed, should be worried about the implications of these sanctions and isolation, as well as inability to do business with American banks and companies.
That is a serious restriction, the ambassador added.
According to him, the goal of the sanctions is to initiate changes; that a leader becomes a constructive leader, who will support the rule of law instead of weakening it in order to gain more control over democratic institutions and economy.
Nelson criticised the prosecutor's offices of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo Canton for not issuing any indictments or launching investigations for corruption. He stressed this was their responsibility and reiterated that the USA supports the efforts of a few judges and prosecutors who know their duties but they work in institutions that are controlled by political parties.
There are too many political leaders in Bosnia who are motivated by political interests, he said, adding that Dodik is one of them.
The ambassador stressed that BiH needs a constitution that would enable the country to be a functional state.
The US will always support the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward, he noted, adding that going back is a road to nowhere, to isolation and economic difficulties.
He also said that the voice of people should be heard and that they need to believe in the future of this country. In this context he mentioned the importance of this year's election, expressing hope that they will be related to true changes and not to fears.
The citizens should vote and trust their votes, he added.