I believe that the
“The real question is why was
In his opinion, BiH has made tremendous progress in the past ten years, and especially during the last three years since he took office as the High Representative.
“These were difficult reforms, and they were particularly difficult for the RS. I want to pay tribute to the RS leaders who made police reform possible. The next phase for BiH begins today, and there are two important segments in this phase; firstly, we must make BiH far more efficient, so that it could serve its citizens, and secondly, we must see a progressive phase-out of the International Community,” Ashdown noted.
Nezavisne Novine: Will
Paddy ASHDOWN: No.
Nezavisne Novine: BiH will begin
Paddy ASHDOWN: This is a tremendous step for BiH. I think it is the most important milestone that BiH has crossed ten years after
Nezavisne Novine: Will the leaders of BiH reach an agreement on constitutional changes in
Paddy ASHDOWN: You might want to ask the BiH politicians that question, because it is not something that can be done by the International Community, nor is it something that can be imposed by one people to another, or by two peoples onto the third – it is something that must be done by a consensus. Therefore, this work must be done.
Nezavisne Novine: The idea of a single president and single government is unacceptable for the RS leaders, unlike the politicians from the Federation of BiH. How can these opposing views be reconciled?
Paddy ASHDOWN: It is up to them to decide. This cannot be done by the International Community, it cannot be imposed by the High Representative. We want to help, we will facilitate, we will give money, but the bottom line is that it must be their agreement.
Nezavisne Novine: How would you comment on allegations that BiH politicians in
Paddy ASHDOWN: No, I do not think pressure will help. First of all, I think it is something that must be done by agreement. Let me be clear, British, German and American taxpayers give their money to BiH. So how do I explain to British taxpayers, my taxpayers, that they are throwing their money away into a black hole, that their money is not used to help the people, but to pay politicians. This means that, until you make your system far more efficient, you will not be able to continue like this, with our taxpayers financing your politicians. Is that pressure? No, I would rather say it is the reality, real politics, real life. You cannot expect taxpayers from Western countries to finance BiH if BiH does not use this money efficiently, by spending it on its impoverished people, and not on politicians who are already quite wealthy.
Nezavisne Novine: How do you see
Paddy ASHDOWN: I am never fully satisfied. I always want to do more, faster, better. But when I came here three and a half years ago, I set myself a task to put BiH on the road to statehood, and to put it irreversibly on the road to
Nezavisne Novine: What is your message to citizens of BiH?
Paddy ASHDOWN: Well, do find some time to celebrate, because this is, indeed, a success, but get back to work very quickly because the task ahead of us, the journey ahead of us, will be a very long one. There will be no visa-free regime, there will be no foreign investment, if we do not move faster on this road. I would also like to add that there is not a single country that joined the EU without a consensus between the Opposition and government. If the BiH politicians are not ready to show statesmanship, to create a common front on the road to
A signature will not arrest Karadžić and Mladić
Nezavisne Novine: Political and religious leaders will sign a joint statement in
Paddy ASHDOWN: Perhaps it will help in some way, but I think it is very relevant. If the RS politicians are ready once again to express their commitment to bring these two to justice, it will improve the political atmosphere, which will contribute to their arrest. If you are asking me if this statement means they will be arrested, then the answer is no, but if you are asking me if it will help in the overall campaign and efforts to arrest them, then the answer is, certainly, yes.