On Thursday, following a debate on preserving peace in Bosnia organised by Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina Alicia Kearns MP, the House of Commons unanimously decided to support the Dayton Agreement, the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was present in the public gallery, and called for the U.K. Government and its allies to ensure peace and stability in the Western Balkans.
This was a very well-attended backbench business debate, with memorable speeches on both sides, showing the breadth of support across the House – almost all sporting UK-Bosnia friendship badges.
The UK Government has already made significant steps to make its commitment to Bosnia clear, including appointing a new envoy to the Western Balkans, former Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach.
This follows visits to Sarajevo by Lord Ahmad and Baroness Goldie in the past week, raising Bosnia at the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Riga and inviting the High Representative to the United Kingdom, all requests made by the All Party Parliamentary Group.
With speeches touching on how the UK can provide practical support for peacekeeping in the region, including the need to uphold Dayton, sanctions, atrocity prevention and enhanced diplomatic activity.
Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton and Chair of the APPG on Bosnia and Herzegovina said:
"Today’s debate calling on the Government to take practical steps to maintain peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina leaves no doubt that the British Parliament stands behind stability in Bosnia.
"Parliament has now made its voice clear: that the United Kingdom stands behind the people of Bosnia, and will not allow malicious actors to endanger stability in the Western Balkans for their own ends.
"It’s not only a moral imperative but a security necessity to maintain peace in Bosnia."