Bosnia parties agree new central government

Bosnian political leaders at a news conference - Dragan Covic of the Croatian Democratic Union, Sulejman Tihic of the Party of Democratic Action and Bozo Ljubic of the Croatian Democratic Union 1990
Image caption The crisis had threatened to hold up Bosnia's entry into international organisations

Muslim, Croat and Serb political leaders in Bosnia have agreed on the formation of a central government, ending 14 months of political crisis.

Bosnia has not had a government since elections in October 2010.

The agreement will allow Bosnia to press ahead with membership talks with the European Union and Nato, and to get access to frozen international funds.

Bosnia remains a deeply divided country after the war there in the mid-1990s, in which around 100,000 people died.

The Dayton Accords which ended the war created two semi-autonomous entities: the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

'Spirit of compromise'

As part of the deal, the parties also agreed to pass a budget, averting the possibility that state institutions could grind to a halt next year.

The EU was "encouraged to see that the spirit of compromise has prevailed after months of political deadlock", according to its special envoy to Bosnia, Peter Sorensen.

Under the deal, the prime minister will be a Bosnian Croat and the foreign minister a Bosnian Muslim.

"Nobody really got what he wanted, but it's good that this has come to an end," Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik told AP.

The EU had insisted Bosnia pass laws on holding a census and distributing state aid to qualify as a candidate for membership.

With a new central government, the Bosnian authorities say that could now happen as early as next month.

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