Secretary of State Clinton in Sarajevo
Secretary Clinton landed in Sarajevo on the first leg of her trip through the Balkans:
Clinton arrived Monday night in Sarajevo, the capital of ethnically divided Bosnia-Herzegovina, which just held elections, to urge the country’s new leadership to make EU membership a priority. She then travels to Serbia and its now-independent former province of Kosovo to encourage the bitterly divided sides to normalize relations.
From Kosovo, Clinton will bring her message to EU headquarters in Brussels, where she will also attend NATO meetings on Thursday with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to discuss European security, the situation in Afghanistan and prepare for a November summit of alliance leaders in Portugal.
In Sarajevo on Tuesday, Clinton plans to meet with the three-member presidency to push for constitutional and other changes deemed necessary for EU membership. Bosnia is lagging behind other countries in the Western Balkans in making progress on such reforms, and its recent elections brought few changes to its political climate.
“We’ve been quite clear that we believe that further reforms are necessary,” Philip Gordon, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, told reporters aboard Clinton’s plane.
“The Bosnians need to follow up,” Gordon said. “The rest of the region is moving towards Europe, and Bosnia is going to have to overcome these ethnic divisions … if they want to go down this path…”