Ambassador Ferguson announces stronger engagement of UK in BiH, says Role of Russia in BiH should not be exaggerated

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Outgoing UK Ambassador to BiH Edward Ferguson said in an interview for Friday issue of Dnevni avaz that European future of BiH is clear and that Russia's role in this country should not be exaggerated.

Asked if BiH is left to “Russian sphere of interest”, he replied by saying that BiH is a European country, which applied for the EU membership. “European future of this country is clear. And we should not exaggerate the role of Russia in BiH. We are far away from Moscow. And, although Russia has a legitimate interest in trade and cultural exchange, it is a noticeable fact that 70 percent of your export goes to the EU, compared to only one percent that goes to Russia”, stressed Ferguson.

Commenting the changes to the Law on Elections of BiH, the ambassador said it was necessary to find a solution. He further noted that the international community does support and helps in negotiations, but that BiH leaders must take more responsibility for reaching an acceptable solution that would move BiH closer to the European standards. “If your leaders want to prove they are serious about acceleration of European integration of BiH, then the least we can expect is that you are capable of holding elections and implementing results”, he was quoted as saying. Ferguson also said that there are acceptable solutions that could be quickly adopted as soon as the parties give up on their maximalist demands and start working together towards a reasonable solution.

He also warned that there was too much talk about secession, formation of new entities and abolishing of current ones. “None of that is going to happen”, he underlined. The ambassador announced an even stronger engagement of the UK in BiH. “We are already spending BAM 15 million per year in BiH, and I think this amount will increase. We support and train your Armed Forces, your judicial institutions and your law enforcement agencies, to help them become better in fight against modern security threats, from terrorism and extremism to organized crime and corruption. We invest in your economy, help BiH to be a better place for doing business, so that many more local and foreign investors can successfully do business in this country”, Ferguson emphasized, adding that young talents are also helped through Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships as well as through the British Council’s work. “You can expect more and not less of the British presence”, he concluded.