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The top U.S. diplomat in Bosnia snubbed the contentious leader of the country’s Serbian local government this week, underscoring Washington’s displeasure with the rate of reform in the ethnically divided Balkan nation nearly 20 years after the end of a civil war that left 100,000 dead.

Nicholas M. Hill, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, held talks with officials in Banja Luka, capital of the Serb Republic, but refused to meet with President Milorad Dodik.

“At this moment, we do not see how meeting with [him] can be productive,” Mr. Hill told reporters. “We want to see progress. He could fulfill some of his promises, and he can do that easily.”

Mr. Dodik was narrowly elected three years ago, when he was falling out of favor in the West for questioning Serbian war crimes while in his second term as prime minister from 2006 to 2010.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at or @EmbassyRow.