BAACBH Meets with Ambassador Patrick Moon

On February 7, 2011 the President of BAACBH, Mr. Admir Serifovic along with the Vice President, Mrs. Adna Karamehic-Oates and Executive Director, Ms. Ajla Delkic, met with the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the Honorable Patrick Moon. The meeting focused on the current standstill in the formation of a new government in BiH. Ambassador Moon stressed that it is up to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to form a government and carry out the necessary reforms while also expressing the United States' willingness to assist BiH in these efforts from the sidelines. He emphasized that any talk of secession and or the formation of new entities is strongly condemned by the United States and would hinder the development and stability of BiH. Ambassador Moon also expressed interest in youth programs and hopes that more Bosnian students come to study in the United States in order to gain new perspectives that would be useful to them upon returning to BiH.

BAACBH offered several recommendations to Ambassador Moon. Most importantly, BAACBH encouraged the U.S. State Department to have a stronger and clearer stance on rule of law, respect for human rights, and a democratic constitution as requirements for reforms if BiH is to progress towards Euro-Atlantic institutions. BAACBH stressed that an incremental approach to constitutional reform would be more effective than large, overly ambitious 'packages.' BAACBH also expressed the Bosnian-American community's concern about Article 17 of the BiH Constitution which states that "Citizenship of BiH is lost by the voluntary acquisition of another citizenship, unless a bilateral agreement between BiH and that State, approved by the Parliamentary Assembly in accordance with Article IV (4)(d) of the Constitution provides otherwise." These bilateral agreements, however, provide no remedy for BiH citizens in the United States because the U.S. has formally indicated that it does not intend to enter into such agreements. BAACBH believes that Article 17 and its accompanying provisions endanger the right of BiH citizens who hold citizenship of another State to retain their BiH citizenship.