Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that the United States is imposing sanctions on three individuals who pose a threat to the rule of law and regional stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Ethnonationalist political parties continue to undermine democratic institutions in BiH, engage in corrupt behavior, and violate the Dayton Peace Agreement to undermine the state for narrow personal and political gain,” Blinken said.
According to Blinken, the Republika Srpska entity leadership is “engaged in secessionist actions to seize authorities from the state and give them to entity governments and institutions.” Blinken also noted that federation entity-based political parties “have weaponized key justice and security sector institutions to misuse resources in support of political goals and to protect criminal organizations with whom they are associated.”
The Treasury Department is designating Osman Mehmedagic, the former Director General for BiH’s Intelligence Security Agency, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033, for misusing a government-owned telecommunications company for the benefit of his party, the Party of Democratic Action.
The Treasury is also designating Dragan Stankovic, the Director of the RS Administration for Geodetic and Property Affairs, pursuant to E.O. 14033, for attempting to usurp the authority of the state of BiH over state property located in the RS, contrary to BiH Constitutional Court decisions, the BiH Constitution, and a state property disposal ban imposed by the Office of the High Representative.
Lastly, the Treasury is designating Edin Gacanin, a BiH national and one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers, pursuant to E.O. 14059.
As a guarantor of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the United States, according to Blinken, is committed to combating endemic corruption, threats to state authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the proliferation of illicit drugs and organized crime, which collectively threaten the Euro-Atlantic trajectory of the country.
“We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the country’s democratic institutions,” Blinken concluded, stating that the U.S. will continue to support reform and promote accountability for those undermining democratic institutions while also supporting the aspirations of those seeking functional democratic governance in the Western Balkans.
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