The international representative for Bosnia says the country is facing its worst crisis since fighting stopped there in 1995.
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko told the U.N. Security Council that more than seven months after the general elections in Bosnia, there is still no prospect of a new state government being formed.
Also, he said, the authorities in Republika Srpska, one of two semi-autonomous entities that make up the country, have taken actions that represent the most serious challenge of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement since it was signed. The Republika Srpska National Assembly decided last month to hold a referendum in June on the validity of the powers of the High Representative and many state institutions.
"The conclusions and the decision on the referendum, which were adopted by the Republika Srpska National Assembly in April, are not only a clear breach of the peace agreement, but also put into question all laws enacted by the respective high representatives, claiming they are in violation of the peace agreement," he said.
Inzko added these developments are the latest in what he called a downward trend in political stability in Bosnia for the past five years. He warned that if the referendum takes place, he will have no choice but to repeal the conclusions and referendum decision.
United States Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo reiterated full U.S. support for the authority of the High Representative.
"We agree that the recent conclusions adopted by the Republika Srpska National Assembly present a fundamental challenge to the Dayton Accords, and constitute the most serious of a disturbing pattern of actions by the Republika Srpska in violation of this agreement," said DiCarlo.
DiCarlo said the United States is in the process of considering its own measures in support of the Dayton agreement and Bosnian state institutions, should they become necessary.
Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin charged the statement to the Security Council by the Bosnia High Representative contained, as he put it, more emotion than an objective analysis of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Churkin said Russia does not view the Republika Srpska referendum as a violation of the Dayton peace agreement.
In contrast, the representative of the European Union, Pedro Serrano, told the Security Council the decision by the Republika Sprska to hold the referendum is a step in the wrong direction. He said the European Union has made clear in talks with Republika Sprska representatives the EU expectation is that the referendum will not be held.