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Bosnia is in danger of breaking up, warns EU’s top official in the state


Bosnia is in danger of breaking up, warns EU’s top official in the state

The international community’s chief representative in Bosnia has warned that the country is in imminent danger of breaking apart, and there is a “very real” prospect of a return to conflict.

In a report to the UN, Christian Schmidt, the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that if Serb separatists carry out their threat to recreate their own army, splitting the national armed forces in two, more international peacekeepers would have to be sent back in to stop the slide towards a new war.

International peacekeeping duties in Bosnia are currently the task of a residual EU force (Eufor) that is 700 strong. Nato retains a formal toehold with a headquarters in Sarajevo. The year-long mandate for both is up for renewal this week at the UN security council, but Russia has threatened to block a resolution unless all references to the high representative are removed, potentially undermining Schmidt’s authority as the overseer of the 1995 Dayton peace deal.

In his first report since taking up the post in August, Schmidt, a former German government minister, warned that Bosnia was facing “the greatest existential threat of the postwar period”.

The Bosnian Serb leader, Milorad Dodik, is threatening to pull out of state-level institutions, including the national army built up with international assistance over the past quarter century, and reconstitute a Serb force. On 14 October, Dodik said he would force the Bosnian army to withdraw from the Republika Srpska (the Serb half of Bosnia) by surrounding its barracks and that if the west tried to intervene militarily, he had “friends” who had promised to support the Serb cause, a presumed reference to Serbia and Russia.

Bosnian Serb police carried out “counter-terrorist” exercises last month on Mount Jahorina, from where Serb forces bombarded Sarajevo throughout a 1992-95 siege.

“This is tantamount to secession without proclaiming it,” Schmidt wrote in a report delivered to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, on Friday. He said Dodik’s actions “endanger not only the peace and stability of the country and the region, but – if unanswered by the international community – could lead to the undoing of the [Dayton peace] agreement itself.”

The high representative said it was possible there would be clashes between Bosnian national law enforcement agencies and Bosnian Serb police.

“Should the armed force of BiH [Bosnia and Herzegovina] splinter into two or more armies, the level of international military presence would require reassessment,” Schmidt warned.

“A lack of response to the current situation would endanger the [Dayton agreement], while instability in BiH would have wider regional implications,” he said. “The prospects for further division and conflict are very real.”

Schmidt’s warnings were delivered as the UN security council was preparing its annual resolution renewing the peacekeeping mandate for Eufor and the Nato headquarters, with a vote as early as Wednesday. Moscow is threatening to block the resolution unless all references to the high representative are removed.

The Kremlin opposed Schmidt’s appointment by a Peace Implication Council, an ad hoc multinational body set up to implement the Dayton peace agreement, and refuses to recognise his authority.

“I suspect what Russia really wants is to chip away at the authority of the high representative’s office by stopping him briefing the council,” said a diplomat close to the discussions.

Kurt Bassuener, co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin-based thinktank, said: “It sounds like the Americans, the Brits and the French have effectively agreed to really strip back the references to the high representative that were boilerplate, standard issue language in all the previous resolutions.” He added: “And while legally that doesn’t undercut the high representative, politically it sure as hell does.”

Even if Eufor’s mandate is renewed, there is little appetite in the EU to beef up the small force left in Bosnia. Some member states, particularly Hungary, are supportive of Dodik.

“I think he’s willing to gamble on the possibility that, as improbable as it is, he can get away with it by essentially creating new facts on the ground rapidly and counting on the idea that confusion and delay would grip both Sarajevo and the international community and there would ultimately be no meaningful international consequences,” Jasmin Mujanović, a Bosnian political scientist, said.

US deputy assistant secretary of state Gabriel Escobar told Congress last week that the US is working with the EU to “make sure there are consequences for any illegal or any destabilising actions” in Bosnia. But it is unclear whether the Biden administration would support a return to Nato peacekeeping.

Alida Vračić, the head of a Bosnia-based thinktank, Populari, said the perpetual and worsening sense of crisis allows the country’s leaders to disguise their failure to govern.

“Dodik has gone ballistic, but collectively politicians hope to win points on this crisis and citizens are the only losers as expected,” Vračić said.

“This discussion comes in handy, as it derails all meaningful discussions like the fact that Sarajevo is choking in smog, that [the regional governments] embezzled money in the Covid-19 crisis, that the death toll in Sarajevo is worse than during the war, the fact that half of the country is living in poverty, that we have completed exactly zero reforms, that no laws have been discussed in the parliament for months.”

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NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

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NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

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Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.


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