High Representative Paddy Ashdown confirmed exclusively for “Večernji” that BiH politicians gathered in
In a telephone interview from
Paddy ASHDOWN: The answer to this question concerns them entirely, not me or the International Community. Even two years ago I began saying that the next phase would require that
Vecernji List: What is of key importance in these talks in your opinion?
Paddy ASHDOWN: The key is that politicians ask themselves whether the
Vecernji List: What paper was prepared for the politicians in
Paddy ASHDOWN: The most important thing is for them to sign a paper committing themselves to continue to participate in the process of implementation of constitutional reform. It will be a statement of intent to participate in this process. Some other steps are expected, too, related to this process. The paper I expect to be signed will be a clear sign of commitment of local politicians to make BiH more functional.
Vecernji List: Will this “progress” on the issue of constitutional changes have an impact in terms of changing the views of the International Community with regard to downsizing the role of the OHR?
Paddy ASHDOWN: This won’t be decided on in
Vecernji List: What does it depend on now?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Let me repeat, it’s got nothing to do with
Vecernji List:You pointed out in
Paddy ASHDOWN: The Croat people, with their culture, ethnic identity, is an inseparable part of
Vecernji List: So you don’t consider mature the decision of Croat officials such as Čović, Cardinal Puljić or the opposition leader Zubak, who sort of boycotted Washington?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Those were your words.
Vecernji List: But you criticized their absence, nevertheless?!
Paddy ASHDOWN: I understand Croat frustrations and it’s very important that Croats feel comfortable in
Vecernji List: What is your comment with regard to remarks we could hear from the Croat side about the framework of constitutional changes leading to centralization of BiH?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Those who are saying that should have taken part in the negotiations. A boycott is not the best way to show your positions. Those are legitimate requests and views, but if you remain at the side, no one is going to hear you.
Vecernji List: What is your comment with regard to the calls for a third entity, those we could hear in the recent days?
Paddy ASHDOWN: You should be thinking about the future, not the past. You must go onwards, not backwards.
Vecernji List: But we have the RS from the past?
Paddy ASHDOWN: That is a constitutional category of
Vecernji List: Is it not time for its change?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Yes, it is time for change. But how this is done is definitely up to political representatives of BiH and not any more up to international officials. Therefore, it’s very important that representatives of the three peoples agree on that. I will not rule out any solution. Still, the most important thing is that this is achieved by agreement and that BiH becomes more functional.
Vecernji List: What do you think of the proposal of BiH bishops about four regions?
Paddy ASHDOWN: I did not take part in this discussion and repeat it is up to local officials.
Vecernji List: Do you believe in the BiH’s future soon in EU?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Absolutely. No one in the world could believe that BiH would make such brilliant progress after the war. The worst is behind us and if we have gone this far I am convinced that the final efforts can be made in order to make this happen.