Minister of State Gernot Erler will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 9-11 March to assess the current political situation there.
In Sarajevo, Minister of State Erler will have talks with the Chairman of the Presidency Radmanović, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Branković and Minister of Foreign Affairs Alkalaj. Additionally, he will meet with acting High Representative Gregorian, Chairman of the Regional Cooperation Committee Biščević and the leaders of several political parties. He is also scheduled to have a meeting with civil society representatives hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and present an award to a German partner school.
In Banja Luka, Minister of State Erler has a number of talks scheduled, including with Mr Dodik, Prime Minister of the Serbian part of the country, President of the National Assembly Radojičić, as well as with Mr Čavić, head of the democratic party. In talks with representatives of the Republika Srpska, Minister of State Erler will press for a clear commitment to the substance of the Dayton peace agreement and an end to the secessionist rhetoric.
As Germany sees it, Bosnia and Herzegovina's European perspective remains valid. However, the necessary reforms must come from Bosnia-Herzegovina itself and renewed effort has to be devoted to pushing forward important reform projects.s
Minister of State Erler will travel to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 11 and 12 March in the run-up to local and presidential elections (scheduled to take place on 22 March and 5 April). He hopes to learn more about the reform steps the country has taken on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as about the implementation status of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (which ended the 2001 conflict).
In Skopje, Minister of State Erler will meet with a number of people including President Crvenkovski, Prime Minister Gruevski, Foreign Minister Milošoski, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jakimovska und representatives of various parties.
Germany supports the European perspective of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a potential EU accession country. From Germany's point of view, peaceful, free and democratic elections and further reform efforts in key areas are of central significance for this process and are essential for progress on the path to European integration. It is also important to encourage further progress when it comes to balancing the interests of FYROM's ethnic groups and firmly embedding the principles of the Ohrid Framework Agreement in society, especially among young people.