After Western countries decided to elect a new High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) without Russia’s consent, Moscow could respond by blocking the continuation of the European Union Force (EUFOR) mission in our country.
EUFOR’s Althea peacekeeping mission in BiH currently has 600 troops from 19 countries.
To recall, the representatives of the international community in BiH, gathered in the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), last week decided to elect Christian Schmidt from Germany as the new head of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), although Russia did not agree to that.
This is the first time since the establishment of the office of High Representative that no consensus has been reached on the names to be appointed. It is important to note that the procedure for electing the High Representative itself is not strictly prescribed and relies mainly on established practices.
Russia was defeated during th election of High Representative
The United Nations (UN) Security Council, in which Russia has a right to veto, has so far formally confirmed the High Representative. But, Schmidt can take office without official confirmation from the Security Council, as it is not written that he must obtain the approval of that body. In other words, Russia has no way to block the election of a German as the new head of the OHR.
But the main thing Russia can do is block the continuation of EUFOR’s mandate in BiH. Namely, the mandate of EUFOR expires in November and its extension requires a UN Security Council resolution in which, as it was said, Russia, as a permanent member, has the possibility of vetoing or blocking any decision.
Unlike the appointment of the High Representative, EUFOR’s mandate cannot be extended without a UN Security Council resolution.
The interlocutor, who is well acquainted with these events, states that he does not see the plan of Western diplomats on how to extend the military presence in BiH after November.
“In my opinion, they believe they have enough time until November to prepare for it,” he told.
Is a mission in BiH needed at all
The interlocutor adds that it is possible that another way will be sought to keep the Mission of the European Union (EU) in BiH, for example through a bilateral agreement. However, at the same time, there are voices in Washington and even in Berlin, saying that it is not necessary for this mission to be kept.
“It is usual for Americans to close their missions wherever they can, so I would not be surprised if the price we pay is to experience the closure of the EUFOR mission,” said the interlocutor.
Finally, it is not excluded that the relations between the United States (U.S.) and the EU with Russia will improve by November, or that a certain agreement will be reached so that it still agrees to extend the Mission. But at the moment, things are not going in that direction. Kremlin will certainly try to strike back because of the defeat when it comes to the election of the High Representative, and the first thing that comes next is the EUFOR mission, Klix.ba writes.