Bosnia and Herzegovina - Security Council, 9179th Meeting

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02-Nov-2022 01:41:36
Letter dated 25 October 2022 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2022/806) 

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With the general elections now behind, it is up to the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement much-needed reforms, members of the Security Council spoke today as the 15-nation organ extended the mandate of the European Union-led stabilization force in the Western Balkan nation for another year.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2658 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2658(2022)), the Council authorized the Member States acting through or in cooperation with the European Union to establish a multinational stabilization force, or EUFOR-Althea, for another 12 months. EUFOR-Althea is mandated to help implement the military aspects of the 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Peace Agreement.

In the ensuing debate, many Council members and representatives of concerned States welcomed the extension of EUFOR-Althea’s mandate, while also raising alarm over the increased use of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at dividing the country, especially before or during the general elections held on 2 October.

Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, welcoming that the general elections was mostly peaceful, stressed that a newly formed Government must put a quick end to the political deadlock and the paralysis of State institutions. Calling on parties to repudiate the use of divisive and negative rhetoric in the country, he emphasized that “there is no place for such rhetoric in a modern European democracy”.

The representative of the United States, expressing concern over the alleged electoral fraud, particularly in Republika Srpska’s presidential race, as well as the lack of accountability for perpetrators of fraud, encouraged Bosnian institutions to fully address the shortcomings raised by electoral observers. Once election results are fully certified, he added, leaders on all sides must make every effort to support the speedy formation of a Government.

Albania’s delegate welcomed the European Commission’s recommendation on 12 October to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that the political agreement reached among the country’s leaders on 12 June must be implemented. Those who impede the functionality of the State and incite hatred among ethnicities must be met with a strong response, including sanctions and other legal actions, he said.

The Russian Federation’s representative said that Western countries are imposing Special Envoys and an “illegitimate protégé” — as she described the internationally appointed High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina — on the country, usurping the authority of those who have been lawfully elected. She called for the Office of the High Representative, or the “body of colonial governance”, to be closed, thus enabling the population to heave a sigh of relief.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s delegate noted that, while the Dayton Peace Agreement does not identify anyone as its guarantor, neighbouring countries are falsely claiming that role to intervene in its political system. Asserting that the measures introduced by the Office of the High Representative concerning the elections had violated the Agreement, he concluded that “the intention of the High Representative to enable fairer elections with his decisions was not realized”.

Serbia’s delegate expressed his commitment to the transparent development of its relations with Republika Srpska in line with the Dayton Agreement, which he called an irreplaceable foundation for reconciliation. “Imposed solutions, which violate consensus and disturb the internal checks and balances, are counterproductive and potentially detrimental to the stability of the country and the region as a whole,” he said.

Croatia’s representative expressed regret that the general election was marred by warmongering rhetoric and hate speech. Noting that Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been barred for the fourth time from having a legitimate representative in the presidency, he emphasized that the electoral engineering which lingers in his country goes against the spirit of the Dayton accord.

The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, welcoming the 2 October elections, said that polls conducted in line with European standards is a key priority set out in the European Commission’s opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application to join the bloc. All political actors must now cooperate to swiftly set up functioning institutions at all levels to focus on reforms that will put the country on the road to European Union membership, he said.

Also speaking today were representatives of Mexico, Norway, France, China, Gabon, Brazil, India, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Kenya and Ghana.

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