Updated: 08-May-2002 Week of 6 - 12 May 2002

8 May 2002

Paddy Ashdown at NATO HQ

In his capacity as the new High Representative and EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown came to NATO HQ on 8 May to meet Lord Robertson. They discussed the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina in areas such as the return of minorities, constitutional changes, the elections in October of this year and the restructuring of the country's armed forces. Reductions in the number of troops and the retraining of redundant personnel are currently underway, however, further troop reductions and defence restructuring are still necessary.

They discussed possibilities of cooperation in these areas and gave particular attention to the rule of law since the level of organised crime and corruption in the country is high. In this context, they talked about the role of the European Union, which has committed itself to replacing the United Nations' International Police Task Force (IPTF) in January 2003. The EU Police Force Mission (EUPM) will be undertaking the first crisis management operation under the European Security and Defence Policy since the EU was declared operational for this type of operation at Laeken in December 2001. The EUPM will come under the general supervision of Sven Frederiksen, the EUPM Police Commissioner-designate.

As High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown is succeeding Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, who had held this position since August 1999 after having been the EU's Special Envoy for Kosovo. Paddy Ashdown is a former British MP and leader of the Liberal Democrat Party who has a long standing interest in the Balkans. He has been nominated for two years. The Office of the High Representative is responsible for the civil implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, signed in 1995, and covers areas such as human rights, the return of refugees, the rule of law and anti-fraud issues.

Additional information:
  • Biography of Lord Ashdown (on the website of the Liberal Democrats, UK)
  • Official website of the Office of the High Representative and EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina