Five months after national elections, political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina have yet to form a new state-level government.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multi-ethnic country with three major ethnic communities: Serb, Croat, and Bosniak. It consists of two entities: the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. They are linked by central institutions.
In early October 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina held national elections, but no political party or coalition won a majority. Since then, only Republika Srpska has formed a government, while haggling among political parties has prevented the formation of governments in the Muslim-Croat Federation and at the State level.
This impasse is undermining Bosnia and Herzegovina's chances of integrating into the European community and its oft-expressed desire of joining the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Even as its neighbors Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia are progressing in their path to EU accession, Bosnia and Herzegovina is lagging further and further behind.
"The United States continues to be deeply concerned over the stalemate in government formation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the Federation institutions," said U.S. Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley.
"This impasse is preventing Bosnia and Herzegovina from addressing urgent domestic issues as well as reforms required for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
"We remind all the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the imperative of forming broad-based, strong coalition governments at all levels that can make decisions to advance this agenda.
"We call upon those parties which are objecting to sending delegates to the Federation House of Peoples from the remaining cantons to begin cooperating immediately by selecting those delegates, as these cantons are in violation of the Federation Constitution.
"By failing to uphold this obligation, they are putting a narrow ethnic agenda before the interests of all the citizens of the Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Spokesman Crowley.
"We urge the parties to engage in these discussions constructively and in good faith."