11 November 2014 – Security Council – Bosnia and Herzegovina - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I wish to begin by thanking the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Valentin Inzko, for his briefing and for his sincere, direct statements, which are those of a true friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I also associate myself with the statement to be made later by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations.
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to be delayed in comparison to that of its neighbours with respect to drawing closer to the European Union. Mr. Inzko’s report (S/2014/777, annex) notes a number concerns and I will not dwell on them. I will focus on three points in my statement.
First of all, after having clearly shown their dissatisfaction last February, Bosnians went to the polls in October in similar proportions to those that are usually expected in other European countries, which bears witness to their appropriation of the democratic exercise. Even if the elections took place in a tense environment, there was no deterioration of the security situation, putting the February demonstrations in their true place. Their excesses were a deplorable yet isolated episode; they were, above all, a profound call of Bosnian society to the elite that governs it.
The main victors of the elections are the nationalist leaders of a long-standing political class that until now has shown that it is unable to make the country’s institutions work, respond to the needs of the population or even create prospects for the future. But we note with satisfaction that the election campaign also dealt with socioeconomic concerns of Bosnians, leaving room for hope that ethnic dividing lines will disappear in time from the political arena. A new political consciousness is gradually emerging, which makes it possible to truly respond to the aspirations of the people. We must work collectively to give them a long-term perspective that favours that emergence.
Secondly, the prospect of European integration is the only viable way forward for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That prospect must function as it has in the rest of the Balkans as a catalyst for the transformation of the country. It is a mistake to say that this perspective is imposed from the outside world against the will of the population. It is the will of the Bosnians themselves, as recalled by their representative here at the United Nations just seven weeks ago (see A/69/PV.12).
This hope bears witness to the attraction that the European Union has never failed to exercise and is, inter alia, the factor for cohesion and movement forward in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We affirm our commitment to seeing Bosnia and Herzegovina join the European Union as a united, sovereign country enjoying its full territorial integrity. All of Europe sends that message to Bosnians.
Denying that prospect to Bosnia and Herzegovina is the expression of a will to keep it in a fragile, precarious situation, at the mercy of the national slippages that lead to the tragedies we have seen elsewhere. Giving ground to this discredited political class is what keeps Bosnia and Herzegovina in a rut.
On the contrary, it is the responsibility of the Security Council to celebrate the positive effect of the European prospect for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s security, as we do through the resolution we have just adopted (resolution 2183 (2014)). Denying it would be neglecting the Council’s responsibilities and demonstrating ignorance with respect to the role that European Union plays in the Balkans.
In that connection, we regret that the Russian Federation abstained in the voting, when it could play a positive role when it comes to the historic and cultural links that join it to the Balkans. We regret that Russia tried to expose an artificial disunity in the Security Council on a subject on which there is in fact unanimity. The European Union acts on all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to the immediate needs of the population, assisting the country’s authorities so that they can take the necessary reform measures to make their country function properly.
In that context, the European Union-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) Operation Althea is intervening to support the authorities in a residual fashion. EUFOR Althea plays decisive role in permitting the Bosnian security forces to work autonomously, and thus to participate in the emergence of a peaceful society looking towards the future. Given that we have just voted in favour of authorizing the deployment of the mission, it is normal that we recall the framework in which EUFOR Operation Althea operates: the mission operates on the ground based on the policy of integrateing Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European context.
The last point I want to make is that the framework inherited from Dayton continues to be the framework of reference for action by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. High Representative Inzko, guarantor of the Peace Accords, has our full support. We recall that all parties have the obligation to cooperate with him and his Office pursuant to the Accords. We also call on all the constituent parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop all nationalist rhetoric and put an end to any actions or intentions that could divide country. Our message is clear: there can be no calling into question of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity.
The process of reconfiguring the Office of the High Representative remains ongoing. It is important that it continue in order to bolster the consistency of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina through an increasingly close cooperation with the head of the European Union delegation in the country