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Miroslav Lajcak

High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

(Office of the High Representative, BBC, AP, DPA)
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Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak took over as high representative and EU special representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on July 1st, 2007.

Lajcak was born on March 20th, 1963, in Poprad, Slovakia. He is a law graduate from the Commenius University in Bratislava, and has studied international relations at the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow. He is also a graduate of the George C Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Lajcak began his career in 1988, when he joined Czechoslovakia's Foreign Ministry -- about five years before the country's peaceful split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1st, 1993. His first foreign assignment took him to Moscow in 1991. He worked in Czechoslovakia's embassy, and after January 1993, in the Slovak embassy in the Russian capital.

From 1993 to 1994, Lajcak served as chef de cabinet of then Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik. Moravcik later became the country's prime minister. In 1994, Lajcak took up his assignment as Slovakia's ambassador to Japan, serving in that post until 1998.

From 1998 to 2001, he was Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan's chef de cabinet -- he also served as special assistant to Kukan in his capacity as the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the Balkans.

In 2001, Lajcak was sent to Belgrade as Slovakia's ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro), Albania and Macedonia. Lajcak played a key role in overseeing the independence referendum in Montenegro on May 21st, 2006, while serving as EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's personal representative. He was deeply involved in the several-month process of preparations for the plebiscite, acting as mediator in an internal dispute between the ruling and opposition parties.

The Slovak diplomat was picked for the job of the international community's top envoy in BiH -- the sixth since the post was established under the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement -- while he was serving as director-general for political affairs in his country's foreign ministry.

He took over from Germany's Christian Schwarz-Schilling, who was originally expected to be the last high representative in BiH. "I intend to build on the foundations that have been built during the past 12 years of peace implementation and to work together with the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to position this country firmly on the path to the EU," the Slovak diplomat said as he assumed his new post.

Lajcak is fluent in English, German, Russian and Bulgarian, as well as in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

He is married is married with two daughters.

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