H.E. reflected on 50 years of diplomatic service and key lessons learned from the Balkans crises
As part of College of Public Policy (CPP) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) series of distinguished speakers on Conflict and Fragile States, and in partnership with the Austrian Embassy in Doha, Professor Sultan Barakat chaired a conversation with H.E. Ambassador Valentin Inzko on Sunday 26 March 2023.
Ambassador Inzko is a senior Austrian diplomat who served as the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina between 2009 and 2021, during which he was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the Bosnian War in 1995.
Reflecting on the valuable lessons learnt during his five decades in the diplomatic service, Ambassador Inzko emphasized the importance of taking risks and pushing boundaries when dealing with complex intra-state conflicts and not to fear confrontation when necessary. Depending on the nature of the peace agreement reached, the implementation may necessitate international presence, as was the case in Bosnia-Herzegovina. For peace to succeed, the international community, represented by the UN, must be prepared for long-term presence with international and domestic backing and be ready to provide accountability mechanisms during the delicate stabilization process.
The subsequent discussion with the audience concluded that state-building in the aftermath of a bloody conflict requires a long-term approach to conflict resolution supported by in-depth understanding of the nature of the conflict. The need for context-specific peace models, based on local ownership and contribution cannot be overestimated.
In addition to HBKU academic staff, students and some media representatives, the session was attended by Karin Fichtinger-Grohe, the Austrian Ambassador to Qatar; William Asselborn, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Qatar; Munir Ghanim, Ambassador of Palestine to Qatar; as well as senior diplomats from the embassies of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and India.