US Envoy Gabriel Escobar Threatened BiH with Sanctions – Again

Gabriel Escobar, Deputy Assistant of the US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, has warned that those who engage in corrupt, destabilizing, or anti-democratic behavior in the Western Balkans region, putting emphasis on BiH, will face the consequences.

Speaking at the meeting of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation on Wednesday, Escobar emphasized that the biggest problems that hurt the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and jeopardize regional stability are the ongoing political crisis and the endemic corruption in the country.

Escobar, the US special envoy for the region, began his testimony saying that the Western Balkans is central to this vision of a Europe free, whole, prosperous, and at peace, which remains a vital interest of US policy, noting that, however, its potential remains unfulfilled.

He said that Washington recognizes this challenge and remains committed to Western Balkans, adding that the US supports the full integration of the region into Euro-Atlantic structures with its longstanding diplomatic engagement.

Escobar emphasized that Washington is continually making clear to all BiH leaders that the only viable paths to a democratic, European future are through established constitutional processes, de-escalation of rhetoric, and the resolution of differences.

Stressing the importance of keeping Europe’s doors open as the most important incentive generating political will for the critical but sometimes-difficult reforms, Escobar underscored that the US will continue to use all available tools to hold accountable those who block the region’s progress for their own financial or political gain by engaging in corrupt, destabilizing, or anti-democratic behavior.

Escobar also said that the US continued leadership – including in the Senate – remains essential to completing the transformation of the Western Balkans into stronger allies, Transatlantic partners, and contributors to global peace and prosperity.

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