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Battelli BiHSpecial Representative Roberto Battelli, with Ambs. Andreas Nothelle and Jonathan Moore, meet House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Mladen Bosic in Sarajevo, 18 May 2017 BANJA LUKA, 19 May 2017 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President and Special Representative on South East Europe Roberto Battelli (MP, Slovenia) today concluded a five-day visit to Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He wrapped up the visit in Banja Luka where he held talks with RSNA Speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic, Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac, and national religious leaders.

In Sarajevo on Thursday, Battelli together with Amb. Jonathan Moore, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, met with representatives of the international community and parliamentary leaders including Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Peoples Deputy Speaker Safet Softic and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Mladen Bosic. Friday’s meetings included discussions with Minister of Security Dragan Mektic and with senior staff of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Battelli, who has been accompanied this week by the OSCE PA’s Special Representative in Vienna, Amb. Andreas Nothelle, said today that political dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region should be more constructive and respect national strategic interests. Battelli and Nothelle also took note of a general plea to boost national confidence in the rule of law and witnessed first-hand the crucially important assistance provided by the OSCE Mission in this area.

“While the European institutions need to re-invigorate the attention they pay to the region, and to Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, it is up to the country’s authorities to leave aside the heated rhetoric and to agree instead on steps that take the country forward, including through comprehensive reform of the judiciary,” Battelli said.

Battelli, Nothelle and Moore on Wednesday met with representatives of the Coalition against Hate from Trebinje, Nevesinje and Bileca, as well as local religious leaders.

Battelli noted that the visit comes at a crucial time for the region and has proved productive in terms of reassuring national political, institutional, religious and other stakeholders that the OSCE remains fully engaged including through its Parliamentary Assembly. Battelli further commended representatives of the religious communities who are working to counter stereotypes and promote mutual understanding.

“I congratulate the religious leaders who are working jointly to abolish segregation, particularly in the school system,” he said, also pointing to the important work of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The very good and effective projects that the mission is conducting are extremely valuable and deserve our full support.”

Beginning the visit to the region in Albania on Monday, Battelli and Nothelle held a series of meetings with heads of political parties and national leaders, including Prime Minister Edi Rama, Speaker of the Assembly Ilir Meta and Head of the OSCE PA’s Albanian Delegation Arta Dade. Meetings were also held with opposition leader Lulzim Basha and Denar Biba, Chair of Albania’s Central Election Commission.

Battelli met with Amb. Bernd Borchardt, Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, and Amb. Peter Tejler, who is heading the election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Topics of discussion included the political crisis in the country as it prepares for parliamentary elections next month. Battelli is expected to serve as Special Co-ordinator for the short-term OSCE observer mission for the scheduled 25 June vote.

In Montenegro, Battelli and Nothelle continued their series of high-level meetings and also participated in and addressed a Conference on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security. They met with Amb. Maryse Daviet, Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, and Speaker of Parliament Ivan Brajovic.

In meetings, Battelli and Nothelle have expressed the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s continued commitment to the region. The PA delegation highlighted the unique work of the OSCE field operations in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina operating in challenging environments, and expressed appreciation for the support provided that contributed to a successful visit.

Discussions with national interlocutors confirmed that it is vitally important to retain the engagement of the international community in the region to consolidate progress achieved and to advance the national reform agendas as well as the foreign policy aspirations of the region.