The international community has welcomed the decision by the Bosnian Serb parliament to approve creation of a unified police force for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo Thursday called the move a significant step forward in moving Bosnia on the road to European integration.

Meanwhile, the top international mediator in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown, said the decision ultimately will move the country toward European Union and NATO membership.

On Wednesday, the Bosnian Serb parliament, after long delays, approved merging the police of Bosnia's Serb Republic with that of the country's Muslim-Croat Federation, creating a multi-ethnic national force.

The European Union has made police reform a condition for possible Bosnian membership.  But many Bosnian Serbs say a unified force threatens their autonomy.

Some information for this report provided by AP.