The international community should help Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country has no strong leaders who are ready to work for the wellbeing of all citizens, said former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic at a security conference in Pristina.
The conference was held as part of a celebration of two decades since the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo. It was attended by, among others, Bill Clinton who was the US President at the time, his State Secretary Madeleine Albright, US General Wesley Clark who was the NATO Commander during the alliance’s 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, 'Vijesti' reported.
Apart from Mesic, the conference speakers were Clark and conflict management Professor Daniel Serwer, while Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and others took part via video link.
Mesic said that Kosovo is unique in terms of international law and sends a message that nobody is allowed to use violence against a group with impunity, adding that Kosovo Albanians were systematically discriminated against by the regime of late Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, which is why he ended before of the international war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.
A massive crime was prevented by the international community, by NATO troops who deployed in Kosovo, he said.
Led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Northern Macedonia managed to stabilize itself with the help of the international community and make historical steps toward NATO membership, which will soon happen, he said, adding that Albanians living in Northern Macedonia played an important role in that process.
“Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have such strong and decisive leaders who are ready to work for the benefit of all citizens as is the case in Northern Macedonia, and strong support from the international community is lacking as well,” Mesic said.
“That is why, from this place, I call upon the international community and its leading countries to help Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the path of Kosovo and other regional countries is European integration,” he stressed.
Once the countries in the region finally become EU members, they will “breathe easily” and a “harmony in inter-ethnic and inter-state relations will be established,” he argued.
“There will be no borders. Every ethnic group will be able to live within its general cultural community and in different states. Albanians will live in Kosovo, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, but within their own community. Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs and other peoples will also live in their cultural community, but in different countries,” he said, arguing that it should not only relax relations but will also be “key for sustainable peace and the general progress of those countries and the region.”
Mesic said he is convinced that “a lot will change” with the countries joining the EU and NATO, explaining what it did to his country.
“I cannot even think of what would have happened over the past several years with Croatia had it not become an EU and NATO member. The EU has, through its funds, turned Croatia into a large construction site, and NATO’s security umbrella has attracted numerous domestic and foreign investments,” he said, but added that “the true effects of EU and NATO membership are still to be seen in Croatia.”
He wished for the Republic of Kosovo to build a society that provides equality for all citizens who will be able to live a decent life.
“This I wish for all countries and citizens in the region. The success of one country is the success of all of us as only through cooperation, dialogue, understanding and mutual support can we achieve a better and more predictable future,” Mesic said.