Changing Dayton accord necessary for Bosnian reforms, US official says


US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee has said that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) needs to amend the Dayton peace agreement and the constitution which stemmed from it so that it can carry out reforms that would lead it towards European Union membership.

We all realise that the essence of Dayton wasn’t a lasting constitution or the guiding principle for the country, he told several Bosnian print dailies of Saturday.
We are closely cooperating with our colleagues from the EU to help BiH make the necessary reforms so that it can reach the target, which is to enhance not only the constitution and what Dayton represents, but also adopt practical changes which BiH citizens want and deserve, Yee said.
He added that the international community would not decide on BiH’s internal organisation and that this was up to Bosnian politicians to agree on. The international community is here to support reform processes, but it is up to citizens and leaders to decide on the country’s future organisation, he said.
Yee said Islamic State and fighters returning from war zones posed a threat to BiH, as to other countries in the region. I can’t speak about specific threats, but it’s clear that there are people who are willing to commit acts of terrorism in Europe. who are returning to BiH from Iraq, Libya and Syria, becoming a threat to citizens, he said.
Yee also said that the Bosnian Serb entity authorities were breaching the Dayton peace agreement by organising a referendum on the work of the State Court and the State Prosecutor’s Office. We are not against referendums, we actually support the idea that people voice their opinion in a democratic way, but a referendum in only one BiH entity which brings into question the state’s competencies and its institutions is unconstitutional, he said.