Skip to main content

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Volume 579: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2014

10. What recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (903584)

Bosnians are deeply frustrated by the failure of political leaders to deliver on any of the issues that matter. During my visit to Bosnia 10 days ago, I urged Bosnia’s leaders to respond to protesters’ legitimate demands and to avoid ethnic and secessionist rhetoric. The redrawing of borders in the Balkans is finished.

The challenge of Bosnia continues to be exacerbated by secessionist voices within the entity of Republika Srpska. Does the Foreign Secretary agree that Europe and the United States must address this threat to the stability of Bosnia and that the international community must be prepared to sanction those responsible for it?

Certainly, the international community must address those issues. We will discuss them at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg next Monday. It will be vital, after the elections take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October, for there to be a major international effort to ensure that a functioning state is created in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is not happening at the moment.

This is the first opportunity I have had to put on the record my sadness at the passing of Margo MacDonald, the former SNP Member for Glasgow, Govan. I am sure that Members on both sides of the House would wish to pass on their condolences to Jim Sillars—himself a former Member for Glasgow, Govan—and the extended family.

On Bosnia, the Foreign Secretary is aware that Croatian Bosnians are able to access and have passports from the Republic of Croatia; that, soon, Bosnian Serbs will be able to have Serbian EU passports; and that the one group of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina who will not be able to have EU passports are the Bosniaks themselves. What can the Foreign Secretary do to ensure a European perspective for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

I join in the tribute to Margo MacDonald on her passing and to her strong record in this House in the past.

On the very important question of what happens to the whole population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I spoke about it on Saturday with other EU Foreign Ministers, including those from EU candidate countries, and stressed the very point the hon. Gentleman has just made. An unstable Bosnia threatens the stability of the whole of the western Balkans. That is why we have to make sure there is a functioning state in that country in the coming years.