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Crisis Group calls for OHR extension

BRUSSELS, March 10 (UPI) -- Bosnia-Herzegovina's stability could be at risk by ending an international presence in the country, an International Crisis Group report said.

The Belgium-based non-governmental organization released a report Monday warning that closing the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina could threaten any progress made in the country following the Bosnian war. The report calls for an extension of the Office of the High Representative as a result of ongoing ethnic tensions and the need for reforms in the country, the Crisis Group reported.

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The report, "Bosnia's Incomplete Transition: Between Dayton and Europe," said that since the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnia-Herzegovina's central government still needs to do more to address security and ethnic tensions before integration in to the European Union. The report also calls for an increase in the EU presence in the country.

"Tensions are high, and national leaders are challenging the Dayton settlement more openly than ever before," Marko Prelec, Crisis Group senior analyst in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, said in a statement.

"The end of Bosnia's time as an international protectorate will be most welcome and should come soon, but now is the wrong time to rush the transition."

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The Peace Implementation Council, which oversees Dayton Peace Agreement is expected to discuss whether to close the Office of the High Representative at the end of March.

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