High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
(FT; AP, Reuters; Office of the High Representative)
Valentin Inzko became High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and EU Special Representative to BiH on March 26th 2009.
Inzko succeeded Miroslav Lajcak in both positions, after Lajcak was tapped to become Slovakian foreign minister. Inzko is the seventh High Representative in BiH since the position was established in 1996 under the Dayton Peace Accords.
Inzko was born in 1949 in Klagenfurt, Austria. He finished a Slovene secondary school in Klagenfurt and studied law, Serbo-Croatian and Russian at Graz University where he obtained a doctoral degree in law in 1972. Inzko also attended and graduated from the Vienna Diplomatic Academy in 1974.
Following his graduation, Inzko served as deputy director in the UN Development Programme (UNDP) field missions in Ulan Bator, Mongolia (1974-1978) and in Colombo, Sri Lanka (1978-1980).
In 1981, Inzko joined the Austrian foreign ministry's Central, East, and Southern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus department for a period of one year. He then served as press and cultural attache at the Austrian embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1986, and was assigned to the Austrian mission at the UN until 1989. That year, Iznko was appointed a deputy director of the Austrian foreign ministry's press and information department where he worked until 1990.
Inzko then served on the cultural council of the Austrian Embassy in Prague until 1996. While in the Czech Republic, he concurrently headed the OSCE mission in Novopazarski Sandzak in Serbia until the end of 1993, and became the founding director of the Austrian Cultural Institute in Prague.
In 1996, Inzko served as Austria's ambassador to BiH until 1999 when he became a head of the Austrian foreign ministry's department on Central, East and South Europe, Central Asia and South Caucasus.
Inzko was appointed Austrian ambassador to Slovenia in January 2005. He was still serving in that post in February 2009, when he was nominated to became Lajcak's successor as top international envoy and EUSR in BiH.
The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Steering Board appointed Inzko a High Representative during a meeting in Sarajevo on March 13th 2009. The UN Security Council unanimously approved Inzko's appointment on March 25th, without specifying an end-date of his mandate.
On March 26th, Inzko assumed his role as High Representative and pledged to help BiH make progress on its European integration path and by reinvigorating the EU-required reforms.
During the tenure of Germany's Christian Schwartz-Schilling (2006-mid-2007), the Office of the High Representative (OHR) was to be closed down. But with the deterioration of BiH's political situation following the October 2006 general elections, the international community postponed its plans to transition the OHR into EUSR.