US sanctions 2 Bosnian officials in connection with the undermining of peace

SARAJEVO (Bosnia-Herzegovina) -- Two prominent Bosnian officials were sanctioned Monday by the United States.

US sanctions 2 Bosnian officials in connection with the undermining of peace

SARAJEVO (Bosnia-Herzegovina) -- Two prominent Bosnian officials were sanctioned Monday by the United States. They were accused of threatening peace, stability, and prosperity in Bosnia, which has not fully recovered from the brutal inter-ethnic conflict in the 1990s.

Marinko Cavara, Alen Seranic were placed under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department. The pair are accused of trying to "promote ethno-nationalist agendas at the cost of democratic institutions and citizens" in Bosnia.

Marinko Cavara was the Bosniak-Croat Federation's president in post-war Bosnia. He also refused to nominate judges for the region's constitutional courts. The Treasury Department stated in a statement that he had "directly or indirectly engaged in actions and policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions."

It stated that Cavara, a member the most powerful Bosnian Croat party, the nationalist HDZ has done this to promote "his and his political interests."

Alen Seranic (the health and social welfare minister in Bosnia's government's other administrative section, Republika Srpska), was sanctioned for "furthering secessionist attempts" due to his ministry's efforts to create a Serb-only drug and medical products administration.

The Treasury Department interpreted the move as part of a drive to seperate Republika Srpska, which covers half of Bosnia's territory, from the rest, and even withdraw from its multi-ethnic institutions.

Both officials were accused by the Treasury Department of undermining 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement (sponsored by the U.S.) which ended Bosnia's over 3 1/2 years of ethnic bloodshed and created two distinct governing bodies in the country.

These two entities have a lot of autonomy but are connected by state-wide institutions including a drug and medicinal products agency. All actions at the national level must be approved by all three ethnicities.

Over their desire to continue ethnically divisive or completely dismantle the country, the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb parties have long obstructed the work of regional institutions as well as the shared ones.

U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken, who tweeted Monday to welcome the Treasury Department's announcement of sanctions against Bosnia, said that "ethno-nationalist parties cannot compromise Bosnia's future at the expense its citizens."

After the fall of Yugoslavia, the Bosnian war pitted three major ethnic groups -- the Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks -- against one another. Before 1995, a peace agreement was reached, more than 100,000 people died in the conflict.

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