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Finally, Progress In Bosnia-Herzegovina

Dragan Covic , right, leader of "Croatian Democratic Union" (HDZ), and Zlatko Lagumdzija , left, leader of Social Democratic party (SDP) address journalists during press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. After more than a year o

The United States welcomes the agreement by the major political parties and leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to form a government.

The United States welcomes the agreement by the major political parties and leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to form a government, a move that will finally set the country back on a path toward integration into the European community.

Multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the countries that emerged from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, and the Brčko District.

In early October 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina held a national election, but for nearly 15 months political leaders were unable to reach agreement on formation of a coalition government as they argued over how to divide up government portfolios.

In the meantime, progress on reforms required for the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration – goals shared by the overwhelming majority of the country’s citizens – ground to a halt. The political stalemate also prevented the government from passing a 2011 budget.

As a result, Bosnia and Herzegovina has fallen behind its neighbors on its path to European integration.

On December 28th, the country’s elected leaders finally broke the nearly 15 month stalemate and agreed on how to designate ministerial positions, adopted a budget and agreed to move forward other legislation necessary if Bosnia and Herzegovina is to join the European Union.

Thus the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken a small but significant step toward overcoming the obstacles towards the country’s international integration.

“The United States welcomes the agreement reached ... among Bosnian political leaders to form the Council of Ministers and further agreements on the 2011 budget and the laws necessary for EU integration,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “We urge the parties and institutions to work rapidly to implement these agreements and to complete formation of the state-level government, which can effectively advance the shared interests of all citizens.”