Major parties in BiH agree to accelerate accession efforts for NATO, EU

2013-02-16 22:51:28 GMT2013-02-17 06:51:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SARAJEVO, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Six major parties of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) agreed on Saturday to properly deal with issues of military property issue and "Sejdic-Finns" ruling in a bid to join NATO and the European Union (EU) at an earlier date.

The parties, including SBBBiH, SNSD, HDZ BiH, HDZ BiH 1990, SDP BiH and SDS, agreed to begin concrete work on the two issues in a meeting participated by EU Special Representative to BiH Peter Sorensen.

Party leaders agreed to set up a government working group and an expert team to work out principles as well as an action plan to solve the military property issue.

The issue of military property refers to more than 60 military sites inside BiH after the fall of former Yugoslavia. NATO has urged BiH to deal with the issue as soon as possible and make it as a precondition for BiH to join the alliance.

The party leaders also promised to take concrete measures to implement the "Sejdic-Finns" ruling by the European Human Rights Court.

Milorad Dodik, President of SNSD, told reporters after the meeting BiH could apply for EU membership by the end of the year if it can implement the ruling by April.

Sorensen said the meeting is "productive" and that the EU will continue to support BiH.

The case of "Sejdic and Finci v. BiH" involved Dervo Sejdic, a prominent Bosnian Roma and vice president of NGO Kali Sara Roma Information Center, and Jacob Finci, a prominent Bosnian Jew and Bosnia's ambassador to Switzerland, who launched an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights on the basis that Bosnia's Constitution violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

Under the Constitution of BiH, the presidency, which consists of three members, can only come from three constituent peoples: one Bosniak and one Croat elected from the Federation of BiH and one Serb elected from RS.

The European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling in favor of Sejdic and Finci in September, 2009. The EU has made the adoption of the ruling as a precondition for BiH to join the bloc.

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