8089th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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07-Nov-2017 02:05:14
Adopting Resolution 2384 (2017), Security Council Renews Authorization of Multinational Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina at 8089th meeting.

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Urging all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to step up the pace of reforms and to refrain from polarizing actions and rhetoric, the Security Council today renewed its authorization of the European-led multinational stabilization force (EUFOR ALTHEA) for one further year before commencing a debate on the situation in the country.

Prior to the unanimous adoption of resolution 2384 (2017), the Council also heard a briefing by Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, who presented his latest report (document S/2017/922), which described political tensions due to divisive positions on electoral laws in the lead-up to general elections planned for October 2018.

Mr. Inzko said that in many ways the country had made remarkable progress since 1995 when the tragic conflict there came to an end. Those achievements included the establishment of institutions, a unified military and an efficient tax collection system. Today the country was at a crucial moment in its aspirations to European Union candidate status. However, divisive nationalism and persistent challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement and the institutional arrangements provided for under that agreement were threatening to take the country backwards.

He warned that election problems could threaten the subsequent formation of a Federal Government. “The parties must do whatever is necessary to ensure that elections can take place next year and that the results are implemented without undue delays,” he said.

He also voiced regret regarding actions and statements made by representatives of the Republika Srpska, which questioned the future of the country, challenged the authority of courts and posited separate positions on foreign policy. Pointing to other examples that showed a general long-term trend of diminishing regard for the rule of law, he underlined the continued need for EUFOR ALTHEA so that gains made could be retained.

Following that presentation, Council members expressed concern over the lack of compromise and use of polarizing rhetoric ahead of the 2018 elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most expressed support for the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and called for accelerated implementation of all provisions of the peace agreement as well as the reforms needed to complete the High Representative’s mandate and progress towards European integration.

Some speakers noted regret concerning actions by leaders of the Republika Srpska and most called on all leaders to end divisiveness and work together for the good of the country. Many also expressed full support for the High Representative’s role until those conditions were met.

The Russian Federation’s representative, however, maintained that the High Representative’s report was highly biased, blaming Bosnian Serbs for all problems. The author had lost his grip on reality and was not representing the entire international community, he stated. There was a lack of mutually respectful dialogue between all three groups. He proposed that closing the Office of the High Representative be considered.

Nonetheless, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed the extension of EUFOR ALTHEA, affirming that the situation remained peaceful in the country. He highlighted progress made in implementation of the reform agenda, European integration, strengthening relations in the subregion and the international community, countering violent extremism, cooperating on migration and pursuing unbiased justice in implementing the national strategy for processing war crimes.

Serbia’s representative stressed that the past experience in the Western Balkans showed the importance of States’ sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity for peace, stability and mutual trust. Acknowledging that reconciliation was sometimes hard to come by, he said it was evinced by the persistence of different undertones in the region. Describing mutual interests between his country and Bosnia and Herzegovina and large investment in that country by his, he envisioned their relationship becoming a model for neighbourliness.

Similarly, the representative of Croatia described his country’s investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress and its support for its European integration. He pointed to the need for less inflammatory rhetoric and more cooperative work on accelerating reforms. It was utterly wrong, however, to compare divisive statements from Republika Srpska with the Croats’ efforts to obtain genuine equality with the two other constituent peoples. The Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina had demonstrated the highest level of support for their country and its Euro-Atlantic ambitions, he stated.

Also speaking were representatives of France, Sweden, Egypt, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Ethiopia, Senegal, Bolivia, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, United States and Italy, as well as the European Union delegation.

The meeting opened at 10:19 a.m. and closed at 12:22 p.m.
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