Foreign Ministry official: Hungary stands by democratically elected leaders

Hungary stands by the democratically elected leaders and promotes a genuine dialogue as soon as possible, Peter Sztaray, state secretary for security policy and energy security of the Hungarian foreign ministry, said on Wednesday in reaction to the United States' announcement of sanctions on four leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2. August 2023 13:15

In its statement on July 31, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that it had sanctioned four officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sanctions apply to Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic, Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) Speaker and President Nenad Stevandic, Zeljka Cvijanovic, who is the Serb member of the country’s three-person presidency, and Republika Srpska (RS) Minister of Justice Milos Bukejlovic.

OFAC said in its statement that “these leaders are directly responsible for encouraging the passage of a Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) law that purports to declare the decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court (BiH CC) inapplicable in the RS, thus obstructing and threatening the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA)”. Under the sanctions, any assets those officials have in the United States have been frozen and restrictions have been placed on people doing business with them.

In his statement, Sztaray said that the stability of the Western Balkans is of Hungary’s primary national security interest. Hungary is therefore making every possible effort in accordance with its responsible neigbourhood policy to ensure stability and peace in the region including Bosnia and Herzegovina in the long term, he said, adding that there was “no need” of the emergence of a new security challenge in Europe in light of the prevailing difficult situations in global affairs.

He said experiences so far had clearly showed that “sanctions against the Western Balkans have always failed and have only caused trouble”. Sanctions have had exactly the opposite effect in the Western Balkans; they heighten tension and deepen conflicts instead of facilitating peace, Sztaray added.

“Sanctioning the democratically elected leaders works against stability which is why it would be preferable to engage in consultations instead on the basis of mutual respect, not about the Western Balkans, but with the Western Balkans,” the state secretary said. Therefore, Hungary stands by the democratically elected leaders and calls for a dialogue to be started as soon as possible, he said.

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