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13 November 2012 – Security Council – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I thank Mr. Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for his presentation. I endorse the statement to be made by the observer of the European Union.

I would like to take stock of developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past year.

The security situation on the ground has remained calm and stable, as it has consistently for several years. Furthermore, as stated by the Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) and the Force Commander, the country’s authorities have thus far proven capable of confronting any threat to the security climate.

Positive political developments have taken place over the past six months. Important laws on the census and State aid, required by the European Union, have been enacted; the State budget was adopted, as was an agreement on the distribution of defence and State property between the central State and the entities. Municipal elections organized by the Bosnians took place in peaceful conditions, in particular in Srebrenica.

A new phase of political instability began this summer. Nationalist rhetoric continues to stoke tensions and suspicions and to hamper the authorities’ efforts to conduct necessary reforms. We regret that development, and condemn those verbal excesses. Yet we do not share the fears expressed in the report of the High Representative (see S/2012/813), which to us seem excessive, especially as political tensions have at no point jeopardized the security climate.

We all know that the political challenges remain numerous. More than ever, the response to those challenges lies in giving substance to the European perspective offered to the country.

The European Union has reaffirmed, including during the recent visit of High Representative Cathy Ashton, its support for the prospect of seeing the country join the European Union as a united, sovereign country that enjoys full territorial integrity.

That perspective is also refl ected by the signifi cant and dynamic political, human and fi nancial engagement of the European Union on the ground. The Office of the European Union Special Representative has been substantially strengthened, including in its regional presence and with respect to the rule of law. Mr. Peter Sørensen, the European Union Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation, has our full support.

We would like the current Government to resume the course of reforms and, in particular, to truly strive to bring the Constitution into line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

We will be renewing the mandate of the European Union Force-Operation Althea (EUFOR ALTHEA).

The reconfiguration of the mission has allowed us to scale down the forces deployed and to refocus them on capacity-building and training. EUFOR ALTHEA retains a residual executive mandate to support the capacities of the country’s authorities to maintain the security environment if the situation requires it, which thus far has never been the case.

The reconfiguration of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is under way, as evidenced by the end of the international supervision over the district of Brcko and the completion of the European Union Police Mission, of which some key residual tasks have been assumed by the EU Special Representative.

An analysis of the reconfiguration of the Office of the High Representative, requested by the European Union Foreign Ministers, has also been launched. That has led to initial steps taken in parallel with increased engagement of the European Union. Those efforts must continue because the reconfiguration is aimed at achieving greater effectiveness based on the key role of the European Union. We must continue to refocus the action of the Office of the High Representative, ensuring its complementarity with the action of the European Union and continuing to identify and eliminate any duplication with the European Union Office.

High Representative Inzko, the guarantor of the peace accords on behalf of the international community, has our support. But the current Governmental crisis reminds us that it is high time for the Bosnian political class to assume its responsibilities and restore its unity with a view to the main priority, namely, the European perspective offered to the country. Therefore, the functions of High Representative must evolve substantially.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU