Bloomberg News

Bosnia Leaders Split on Palestinian Bid Following Obama’s Appeal

November 04, 2011

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina are split over the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations Security Council following an appeal by President Barack Obama to oppose the resolution.

The Muslim member of Bosnia’s shared presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, supports the bid, his spokesman, Dzenan Salihbegovic, said by phone today. The Serb, Nebojsa Radmanovic, is against the motion. The Croat member, Zeljko Komsic, “will state his position when the vote comes,” his spokesman, Damir Becirevic, said today by phone.

Under the terms of Bosnia’s peace agreement, the state’s three main ethnic groups are represented in the shared presidency.

The Security Council meets on Nov. 11 to discuss a final report on the Palestinian application filed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the General Assembly in New York. As a veto-wielding permanent member on the 15-member council, the U.S. has pledged to block the membership if it comes to a vote.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker on Nov. 2 met with the three Bosnian leaders and handed each of them a letter from Obama, their representatives said. Bosnia has a non- permanent seat on the Security Council, and Palestinians need its vote to help gain a majority of votes on the council.

“This issue should be solved through peaceful negotiations,” Radmanovic said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. “A quick and irresponsible decision could result in negative consequences,” he said.

It is “not immediately clear” if the decision will have to be made by consensus or a simple majority, Salihbegovic said. “We will have to look into how this issue is defined by the constitution.”

Bosnia recognized Palestine as an independent state in 1992 soon after its own declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia in March 1992.

The U.S. brokered the 1995 Dayton Agreement that ended a war in the former Yugoslavia, and a NATO-led stabilization peacekeeping force was deployed until December 2004, when responsibility for safeguarding security was handed over to the European Union.

--Editors: Douglas Lytle, Jennifer M. Freedman

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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