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The Situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

Statement by HE Ms Philippa King, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

 

Mr President

I would like to thank the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr Valentin Inzko, for his report.  We support the important work done by his Office to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement, strengthen the rule of law, monitor compliance with the rulings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, facilitate reforms to ensure the economic prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and monitor the safe return of displaced people.

Australia fully supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We call on those political leaders in the Republika Srpska who have made corrosive political declarations or used inflammatory rhetoric, to work constructively for the good of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to fully respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We also call on all political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to work productively to reach the compromises necessary to achieve the five conditions and two objectives set by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council for the closure of the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Mr President

Dr Inzko’s report provided yet again a frank depiction of the protracted political difficulties in Bosnia-Herzegovina which continue to hinder further political, economic and social development there.

We note the concern conveyed in Dr Inzko’s report that the state-level Parliamentary Assembly has not been able to date to fully adopt a single new law during 2013.  It is regrettable that that the citizens of Mostar continue to be denied the democratic right to elect their local representatives, as the 2010 ruling of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the city’s electoral system has not been implemented.  It was disappointing that the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina were unable to craft a timely solution to the citizens’ identification number issue in the early summer, although we note that progress has been made to resolve this issue in recent days.  As Dr Inzko has said, the protests in mid-2013 over this issue reflected widespread disillusionment with poor governance, and were a pointed indication that the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are demanding results from their leaders.

We do however acknowledge some positive developments.  The holding of the 2013 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a significant step, given it was the first census taken in the country since 1991.  Its results will provide essential information for the purposes of economic and social planning and the delivery of services to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The easing, albeit partial, of the political crisis in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and recent encouraging economic data were also positive developments.

 

Mr President

Dr Inzko has reported that, during the period under review, Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to make concrete progress on EU and NATO integration.  We are particularly concerned that this lack of momentum contrasts starkly when considered against the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s neighbours.  We hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina will embrace the new era of political compromise and constructive engagement emerging in the western Balkans region.

Amending the country’s constitution to implement the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdić-Finci case obviously remains a threshold issue on the path towards European integration. We encourage Bosnia and Herzogovina to make progress in this regard.

 

Mr President

We acknowledge that the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has remained stable over the reporting period, and this is important.

We recognise the valuable work being done by the multinational stabilisation force (EUFOR) and NATO missions, including in improving the country’s management and disposal of surplus arms and ammunition.

EUFOR should not stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina forever, but at this stage it remains an essential component of efforts to ensure stability, confidence and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Mr President

Our hope remains that the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina will take more decisive action to overcome political differences and work towards a more stable, peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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