Bosnia and Herzegovina: Current Issues and U.S. Policy [January 24, 2013]   [open pdf - 431KB]

"In recent years, many analysts have expressed concern that the international community's efforts over the past 17 years to stabilize Bosnia and Herzegovina are failing. Milorad Dodik, president of the Republika Srpska (RS), one of the two semi-autonomous 'entities' within Bosnia, has obstructed efforts to make Bosnia's central government more effective. He has repeatedly asserted the RS's right to secede from Bosnia, although he has so far refrained from trying to make this threat a reality. Some ethnic Croat leaders in Bosnia have called for more autonomy for Croats within Bosnia, perhaps threatening a further fragmentation of the country. […] The EU's main inducement to enlist the cooperation of Bosnian leaders--the prospect of eventual EU membership--has so far proved insufficient. The prospect of NATO membership has also had little effect. In April 2010, NATO foreign ministers agreed to permit Bosnia to join the Membership Action Plan (MAP) program, a key stepping-stone to membership for NATO. However, the ministers stressed that NATO will not accept Bosnia's Annual National Plan under the program until the entities agree to the registration of defense installations as the property of the central government. Dodik has rejected doing so for installations on RS territory. The U.S. political role in the country appears to have declined in recent years as the EU role has increased. The Obama Administration has stressed the importance of maintaining a close partnership with the EU in dealing with Bosnia. Like the EU, the United States has urged Bosnian politicians to agree among themselves to constitutional and other reforms to make Bosnia's government institutions more effective and better coordinated, so that the country can become a better candidate for eventual NATO and EU membership."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40479
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