Clinton to push Balkans reform | News | DW | 30.10.2012
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Clinton to push Balkans reform

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun a five-nation tour of the Balkans. She will discuss the region's future and press leaders to stick to promised reforms conditional on joining the EU and NATO.

Clinton began her tour in Sarajevo, along with European Union foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, and is expected to press Bosnia to bring about reforms 17 years after the end of the country's 1992-1995 war.

Before the trip, the US State Department said the country's leaders needed to stop putting their own personal agendas before those of their people.

"We are disappointed that the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina have not put the interests of the country first and instead have promoted narrow ethnic or party or personal agendas," a spokesman said.

He said Clinton and Ashton would push the country to "accomplish necessary reforms" in order to become members of the EU and NATO.

Bosnia is deeply divided along ethnic lines. It is made up of two semi-independent halves, the Serb's Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. Each has its own government. This arrangement followed the 1995 Dayton peace deal, brokered by the US.

On Tuesday afternoon, Clinton will visit Belgrade and meet with Serbian leaders, and urge them to move forward in talks with the breakaway province of Kosovo. She is also due to visit Pristina, Kosovo's capital.

The US State Department says Clinton will "reiterate US-EU resolve for Serbia and Kosovo to build on previous agreements and advance their dialogue."

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 - but Serbia rejected this and claims sovereignty over the region.

Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic said his country was "ready to make a lot of compromises in order to solve [the] Kosovo issue, but it would expect [the] ethnic Albanian side to do the same."

Ending tensions with Kosovo is a main condition of Serbia being able to join the EU.

jr/jlw (AFP, dpa)

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