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I want to thank Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen for bringing House Resolution 171 to the floor. This resolution expresses support for the progress made by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina toward stability and greater international cohesion.
Bosnia has come a long way in the 14 years since the signing of the so-called "Dayton Accords'' that ended the terrible ethnic-based conflict there.
While this short resolution speaks to much that has been accomplished in Bosnia, much work needs to still be done. Some would suggest, for example, that greater constitutional reform within Bosnia is necessary for its future growth and its stability for the progress of democracy and tolerance in that country.
Another important issue confronting the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the burden placed on its economic progress by its extensive bureaucracy that is now in place in that country. That bureaucracy reportedly consumes a great deal of that small country's revenues, confronting its economy with serious obstacles to growth.
This measure, as considered on the floor today, does include a short statement that was added after agreement by the majority and the minority that I believe makes an important point. Among its resolved clauses, H. Res. 171 now specifically calls for continued assistance to Bosnia to help it investigate al Qaeda activities and those of related networks. That is an important point when we consider the reported increase of Islamic militant extremism in the broader Balkan region. Such reports should serve as a warning that Islamic extremists may be looking at the Balkan region as a potential launching platform for future attacks somewhere else.
I am pleased that the Bosnian Government is working to address important issues such as the reports of the use of Bosnian passports by Islamic militants. I am also pleased by reports that some leaders within the Bosnian Muslim community are combating Islamic extremism and have been strong advocates for peace and reconciliation.
The call for continued support for Bosnia and such important efforts enhances the other important statements this resolution makes with regard to our policy toward Bosnia.
Mr. Speaker, many of us would like to ensure that Bosnia becomes a greater anchor for stability in the Balkans region. This resolution is an important message of encouragement and support for all the people of Bosnia as they seek to promote stability, peace, and prosperity. I support its adoption by the House.
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