Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to carry out reforms in a bid to join the European Union (EU) and NATO.
Clinton, who arrived in Sarajevo on Monday, warned that Bosnia is lagging behind other Balkan countries.
"If you do not make progress, you will be left behind," she said at the news conference after meeting with the country's three-member presidency, calling for all parties in the country to find common ground.
Bosnia has yet to meet the conditions to apply for joining the EU. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004 while Croatia, a NATO member, will do so next July. Montenegro has started EU accession talks while Serbia and Macedonia are both official candidates for membership.
Clinton added that if the conditions for activation of the NATO membership action plan are met in November, she would personally request that it be approved for Bosnia in December.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who joined Clinton during the meeting, confirmed that the EU and the United States both support Bosnia's integration into the EU and NATO.
"We want to see a stable and prosperous country which will take its place in European and transatlantic structures. Your perspective in the EU is realistic and has unanimous support," she said.
Chairman of Bosnia's Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic thanked the EU and the United States for their support.
"Your visit today is a strong confirmation of the deep commitment of the U.S. and the EU and the fact that our country is still in the focus of your attention," he said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first leg of Clinton's tour of the Balkan region, which will also take her to Serbia, Croatia and Albania.