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Edward Ferguson

British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina

9th August 2018 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hvala i vidimo se

Ambassador Ferguson and Mrs Ferguson at Hajducka vrata
With my wife Caroline at Hajdučka vrata

Sarajevo, ljubavi moja”.  Sarajevo, my love.

That was the song I sang at my leaving party.  But, after four years exploring the length and breadth of this remarkable and beautiful country, it should really have been:

Bosno i Hercegovino, ljubavi moja.”

Working as the UK Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina has been the most demanding job I have ever done – always fascinating, often frustrating.

During my time here, I have worked as hard as I could to help to build a better and more prosperous country, in which all its citizens can feel safe, secure and at home.

We have done a lot.  But clearly a lot remains to be done, and my brilliant successor, Matt Field, will now continue the work.

As I pack my bags, and head towards the airport, I feel a deep sense of gratitude that my family and I had the opportunity to get to know, and to love, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We have tried to make the most of the opportunity.

We have visited your cities, your mosques, your churches, your museums and your galleries.

We have climbed your mountains, rafted your rivers and swum in your lakes.

We have learned your language… or tried to, anyway!

We have made friends who will last a lifetime.

We have marvelled at the extraordinary richness that lies in your nature, your history, your culture and in your diversity.

As a wonderful British politician, Jo Cox, would have said, there is so much more that unites you than divides you.

Too many of your own leaders talk of your differences.  But I haven’t found that at all.  Wherever we have been, whether we have been drinking Sarajevsko, Nektar or Karlovačko, I have found the same warmth, the same generosity, the same sense of humour.

And if you can laugh together, then you can surely live, thrive and succeed together.

We wish you, from our hearts, the success which you so deserve, but which you have for so long been denied by divisive leaders.

Despite all the frustrations of the past four years, I remain optimistic.  I have met so many talented young people who want to look to the future, and not to the past.  Macedonia is showing us that things can change for the better, and quickly.  And change will surely come to BiH as well.  I just hope it will be sooner rather than later.

So thank you for your hospitality and your friendship.

We will always be proud to have a connection to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We will always be proud that our youngest daughter was born in Sarajevo.

I will always be proud to have played a small part in this country’s history, and to have helped to deepen the ties between the UK and BiH.

And wherever I go in the world, wherever my job takes me, I shall always be an ambassador for BiH.

So thanks for everything, and good luck!  We will see you again soon.

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