Wolfgang Petritsch

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Wolfgang Petritsch
3rd High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
In office
August, 1999 – 27 September 2002
Preceded by Carlos Westendorp
Succeeded by Paddy Ashdown
Personal details
Born (1947-08-26) August 26, 1947 (age 67)
Klagenfurt, Austria
Citizenship Austrian
Nationality Slovene
Religion Roman Catholic

Wolfgang Petritsch (born 26 August 1947) is an Austrian diplomat of Slovene ethnicity. He was born to a Carinthian Slovene family in Klagenfurt and spent his childhood in a partially Slovene-, partially German-speaking environment. He has a PhD from the University of Vienna and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Petritsch’s reflections on international affairs have been published extensively in the world’s leading newspapers and he is the author or co-author of several books, including most recently Bosnia and Herzegovina: From Dayton to Europe and the Long Road to Peace: Kosovo and the International Community, 1989-2004.


Petritsch’s experience in the former Yugoslavia stretches back to 1997 when he was appointed Austrian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. From October 1998 to July 1999 he served as the European Union’s Special Envoy for Kosovo and in February and March 1999 as the European Union’s Chief Negotiator at the Kosovo peace talks in Rambouillet and Paris. Petritsch’s diplomatic career also has seen him serve in Paris and New York.

Prior to his appointment as Austria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Petritsch served between August 1999 and May 2002 as the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this role, Petritsch was the final authority on civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. While living in Bosnia and Herzegovina – one of the most mine-infested countries in the world – Petritsch witnessed firsthand the humanitarian impact of anti-personnel mines.

Current work[edit]

In September 2003, Petritsch, Austria’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, was elected President-Designate of the Mine Ban Convention’s First Review Conference. This event is being referred to as the 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World, given the location of the event and the fact that it will mark the midway point between the Convention’s entry-into-force and the first deadlines for States to have cleared mined areas. In this role, Petritsch is charged with leading the substantive preparations for the Nairobi Summit, including the development of a concrete action plan to complete the job of eliminating anti-personnel mines.

He is currently serving as chair of the Board of the European Cultural Foundation.

Further reading[edit]

  • Solioz, Christophe; Petritsch, Wolfgang (December 2003). "The fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina: an exclusive interview of Christophe Solioz with Wolfgang Petritsch". Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans 5 (3): 355–373. doi:10.1080/14613190310001610788. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carlos Westendorp
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Succeeded by
Paddy Ashdown