15 November 2011 - Security Council
Bosnia-Herzegovina - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent representative of France to the United Nations
I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for his presence and for the report that he has just presented to the Council (S/2011/682, annex). I also take this opportunity to welcome the contribution of the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council’s work.
Lastly, I associate myself with the statement to be made by the head of the delegation of the European Union a little later.
We are preparing to renew for a year the mandate of the activity of the European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) and Operation Althea in a political context weighted with uncertainty for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The security situation has been calm and stable for several years. That is attributable to the Bosnians themselves and their institutions. The arrest of Ratko Mladić, on 26 May, and of Goran Hadzić, on 20 July, and their immediate transfer to The Hague to be tried, constitute a positive development that ends a phase. All those sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia have now been arrested. I note that those arrests did not lead to any significant reaction on the ground. However, for more than a year now, since the elections of October 2010, the country has been unable to form a new central Government.
The outgoing Council of Ministers manages day-to-day matters and the budget operates on a temporary basis. That lack of Government is starting to have a significant negative impact on the economy and delays reforms towards the European path.
We therefore call on all Bosnian leaders to rapidly find the necessary compromises to establish a central Government and return to the reform process, beginning by calibrating the Constitution with the European Convention on Human Rights. Not to do so would mean Bosnia and Herzegovina turning its back on any European prospect, while all States of the region, one after the other, are taking this opportunity to prepare themselves, each at its own pace, to rejoin the European family one day.
That requires, first and foremost, the resumption of political dialogue and, on the other hand, an end to resorting to nationalist rhetoric, which today is still too common. It goes as far as denying the legitimacy of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Member of the United Nations and the Security Council, or attacking the legality of the decisions of the High Representative. The latter means that the staff of the Office of the High Representative must enjoy sufficient immunity guarantees.
Apart from words, there are deeds. In that regard, France remains very concerned and warns Bosnian leaders against any initiative that contravenes the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement and that would threaten the stability and integrity of the country. More generally, France again calls on the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to return to dialogue, overcome their divisions and work towards consolidating a functioning State that upholds democratic principles. They must shoulder the primary responsibility. They were elected by Bosnian voters to that end.
In that context, I would also like to reaffirm my country’s commitment to the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative, keeper of the peace accords on behalf of the international community, and his action and dialogue with Bosnian political representatives has our full support.
In that regard, I wish to particularly note the increased commitment of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last spring, the European Union agreed an intensified approach for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its presence on the ground has thus been strengthened. A new European Union Special Representative and delegate, Mr. Sørensen, assumed his duties a few months ago to help support the country in its consolidation process and reforms. Mr. Sørensen has our full support. Furthermore, as the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the European Union decided on 10 October, EUFOR and Operation Althea will be restructured so as to again focus on training and advising the Bosnian armed forces, while maintaining the means to handle, if necessary, executive tasks in support of the work of the Bosnian authorities.
In order to improve the effectiveness of our action, we owe it to Bosnia and Herzegovina to consistently work to adapt our presence to the situation on the ground, be it the civilian or military presence of the European Union or the restructuring of the Office of the High Representative. France will fully participate in those efforts.