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      Bosnia: No Consensus on PA Statehood Bid

      As Bosnia prepares to chair the UNSC, its triumvir of presidents say they have no consensus on the PA statehood bid, will likely abstain.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 10/28/2011, 3:25 PM

      Bosnia's trio of presidents said Thursday they could not agree on whether to support PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' statehood bid at the United Nations.

      Bosnia's presidency has been shared by leaders of its Muslim, Croat and Serb communities since its 1992-95 war.

      Sarajevo may potentially hold a key vote in the UN Security Council come January, when it will will rotate into the chairmanship of the 15-member body, which has led Israel and PA officials to court Bosnia for its support.

      In a statement after meeting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Sarajevo, the presidential triumvir said it had so far been unable to reach a joint position on Abbas' initiative, reflecting the country's own ethnic divisions.

      PA foreign minister Riyad al-Malki is expected to arrive in Sarajevo on Friday to ask for Bosnia's vote in the Security Council in January.

      Given the constellation of Security Council members, Bosnia's vote is seen as a key to forcing a promised veto by the United States. However, Thursday's statement meant Sarajevo would likely abstain.

      "The presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina does not have a single view about the issue, while such decisions must be taken through consensus," the presidency statement quoted chairman Zeljko Komsic of Croatia as saying.

      "Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a country which has been through the hell of war, cares very much that all open issues should be resolved with great patience and wisdom, because this is the only path to a sustainable peace," Komsic added.

      The Bosnian Muslim president Bakir Izetbegovic has expressed his strong support for Abbas' bid, while Serb president Nebojsa Radmanovic said he was opposed to unilateral action and supported direct talks between the two sides, according to the statement.

      Observers note that Bosnia is in the enviable position of being able to use presidential divisions as a way of remaining neutral on issues of controversy where its own interests may be negatively impacted.

      The United States has maintains the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, and has provided Bosnia and Herzogovina will hundreds of millions in foreign aid dollars since 1995.  USAID has also played a significant role in recovery and development.

      An abstention by Bosnia's leaders on the PA statehood bid, observers say, would be a politic way of preserving their nation's interests and continued stability.