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21. May 09
Joseph Biden's Historic Address to the BiH Parliament

YOU HAVE WON OUR HEARTS!

This historic event was also attended by Denis Prcić, AUBiH President. AUBiH students in Tuzla and Sarajevo watched the US Vice President Joseph Biden's address live on TV

On Tuesday, May 19th, Joseph Biden, the US Vice President, addressed the packed Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and shared his suggestions and offered assistance to the political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the diplomatic corps, the students, religious leaders and other distinguished guests. This historic event was also attended by Denis Prcić, AUBiH President, as well as Mijo Mišić and Mirsad Kurtović, members of the AUBiH Board of Trustees.

AUBiH students attentively watched Joseph Biden’s address, followed with occasional rounds of applause as the University had ensured for its students in Tuzla and Sarajevo to watch Vice President Biden's address live on TV.

In the context of the near future, Vice President Biden advised the BiH officials as follows: “You must focus your talent and energy on issues of undisputed interest to all Bosnians – creating jobs, growing the economy, educating your children, so that you can be competitive in the 21st century.” 

SAD COMMITTED TO BIH

Recalling his visits to BiH during the war, strongly condemning the nationalist rhetoric and secessionist tendencies, he stated that the Obama-Biden administration is strongly determined to come back to the political scene of the Western Balkans as an ally for all those that follow democratic principles.

“America takes pride in our commitment to a peaceful, successful, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For nearly 15 years, America has been sending our sons, daughters, soldiers and diplomats to you – to help your country and its citizens”, said Biden.

His kind address, comprising the thesis that compromise is not a sign of weakness, took a sharp tone on several occasions, particularly concerning the hate speech arriving from the BiH political scene:

“This must stop! We are not telling you how to organize yourselves so long as you protect the rights of all the peoples of Bosnia and have a political process that does not exclude any ethnic groups. You can be a state with two vibrant entities. However, state institutions must not dispute each other and you need to interact with the rest of the world as a single, sovereign state”.

Reminding the BiH politicians of how great the stake is, Vice President Biden advised them not let the politics blind them, and to ask themselves whether they are building trust or feeding fears. However, Vice President Biden, being fully aware of the situation in the Balkans, did not fail to stress the positive post-Dayton developments such as the defense reform, the unified military, the rule-of-law reforms, and constitutional reforms concerning the status of Brčko District. According to Vice President Biden, the cooperation with the countries in the region is the only way forward for the Balkans.

YOU CAN AND YOU MUST GROW UP TOGETHER!

“You can follow the path to Europe, or you can choose an alternative course. You have done this before and I am sure you understand the consequences. If you miss your chance, you will remain among the poorest countries in Europe, and at worst, you will descend into ethnic chaos that defined your country for the better part of a decade. In that case, I think you will be judged harshly by history and your children”, said Vice President Biden, underlining that history must not be the anvil upon which new hatreds are forged.

Vice President Biden is visiting our country, where he met the three-member BiH Presidency, accompanied with Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Valentin Inzko, the High Representative of the international community in BiH. During his address to the BiH Parliament, Vice President Biden confirmed that the USA fully supports the presence of OHR in BiH until the fundamental conditions are met for accession of BiH to the EU. He also reconfirmed that the appointment of a special US envoy for the Balkans is necessary, in order to contribute to building more efficient state institutions, in partnership with the EU and the BiH political leaders. Following the visit to Sarajevo, Vice President Biden will be visiting Belgrade, where he will meet Boris Tadić, the President of Serbia, and Mirko Cvetković, the Prime Minister of Serbia. The following day, Vice President Biden is travelling to Priština where he will meet Kosovo officials.