US President’s nominee for the post of new US ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Michael Murphy was introduced before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, where he presented the priorities of his work if confirmed for the post.
“If confirmed, I look forward to returning to Sarajevo, where I served from 2006-2009. I found the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina welcoming and friendly, and I am eager to engage with them again,” Murphy said at the beginning of his speech.
He stressed that there has been a “strong bipartisan consensus throughout my career that a Europe whole, prosperous, and at peace is in our national interest.”
“The United States’ engagement in, and support for, Bosnia and Herzegovina are critical to accomplishing this goal, and our leadership there is essential,” he underlined.
The candidate further stressed the support to implementation of the Dayton Agreement, subsequent state-level reforms and to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity among top priorities of his potential duty.
“Twenty-six years of peace is a great achievement, but we cannot take it for granted. We must steadfastly support an independent, democratic, and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said, adding that the support to the Office of the High Representative will also be among the goals of his work.
“If confirmed, I will also focus on the following. First, I will support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. I will work with our Allies and partners to facilitate the reforms necessary for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move towards membership in the European Union and a deeper partnership with NATO. EuroAtlantic integration is the surest path to the democratic, prosperous, and secure future that all of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s citizens seek and deserve. Second, I will support rule-of-law reforms, especially anti-corruption activities. Corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina damages U.S. national security by undermining the functionality and stability necessary for Dayton implementation, by putting at risk Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic integration, and by exposing Bosnia and Herzegovina to malign external influences,” said the ambassadorial candidate.
“Third, I will support reforms to promote economic growth, bolster trade and investment with the United States, and create the prosperity necessary for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their children to enjoy the opportunities that come from a thriving economy. Fourth, I will work to counter efforts by local and outside actors, especially Russia and the People’s Republic of China, that threaten our interests and undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future,” he added.
Also, he mentioned the support to the reconciliation process as something he would focus in his work.
“The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a terrible tragedy. One hundred thousand lives were lost and horrible crimes were committed, including the genocide in Srebrenica. The guilt for Srebrenica and other crimes rests with those who committed them, not with entire ethnic groups. The duty of today’s leaders is to hold perpetrators accountable, acknowledge and honor the victims, and promote reconciliation. It is also to focus their energies on building a common democratic and prosperous future for all in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”