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EU Foreign Ministers Reiterate Commitment To Bosnia, But Call For Reforms

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn attends the opening ceremony of an EU-funded cross-border bridge in Donji Svilaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in March.

LUXEMBOURG -- Meeting in Luxembourg, European Union foreign ministers have reiterated the bloc’s commitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s EU perspective as a single, united, and sovereign country.

In a document adopted at an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on October 16, the ministers deplored that “a divisive rhetoric rooted in the past and an early electoral agenda have over the last months slowed down the pace of reform and affected the political climate” in Bosnia.

They also urged Sarajevo to “step up efforts including regarding the functioning and the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime, as well as the fight against terrorism and the prevention of radicalization.”

Bosnia has lagged behind its neighbors on the path toward EU membership. An Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia was signed in 2008 but didn't enter into force until 2015, due mainly to Sarajevo's lack of progress on reforms.

In Luxembourg, the EU foreign ministers expressed readiness to prolong the mandate of Operation Althea, the bloc’s military operation in Bosnia, under a renewed UN mandate.

Operation Althea, launched in 2004, aims at supporting Bosnia's authorities to maintain a “safe and secure environment.”

Since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995, the country has been split into two entities -- the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnian Muslims and Croats and the ethnic Serb-dominated Republika Srpska.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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