2 priorities for Bosnia and Herzegovina: unity and reforms [fr]
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Statement by Mr Samer Melki, Deputy Political Coordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 8 May 2018
At the outset, I would like to thank the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Valentin Inzko, for his enlightening briefing and precise commentary on the latest developments.
More than 20 years after a murderous conflict and the Dayton Peace Agreement, signed in Paris, Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a turning point in its history. Indeed, we are awaiting the announcement of parliamentary elections for October. The elected authorities will have the task of paving the way towards European integration in the years to come. I would like to underscore three points that merit our special attention before that crucial election deadline.
First, unity in the country is most essential. The comments by political leaders on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the glorification of war criminals and anything that contributes to a resurgence of violence are irresponsible behaviours. We urge all political actors to refrain from stoking hatred and stirring up the ghosts of the past. Priority must be given to strengthening the country’s central institutions as a prerequisite for building up the rule of law. We therefore call for respect for the decisions of the institutions mentioned in the General Framework Agreement for Peace, in particular the Constitutional Court. Res judicata decisions must be implemented as soon as possible in a spirit of compromise, including on electoral matters.
Secondly, I would like to address reforms. Given that resolution 2384 (2017) was adopted in November 2017, France calls on the political parties to agree on a reform of the electoral law, which is a necessary precursor to the implementation of the election results. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political stability is at stake. In addition to electoral reform, we regret the slowdown of reforms during 2017. The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are calling more than ever for the implementation of social and economic reforms that will contribute to the country’s development and regional integration. Judicial reforms are also expected, at a time when Europe is attaching the utmost importance to fighting corruption and organized crime. The enlargement package published by the European Commission on 17 April focuses precisely on the reforms that are needed in the socioeconomic and rule-of-law areas.
Thirdly, despite a fragile situation and the numerous challenges, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a horizon towards which to move: European integration. France associates itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union. We are pleased to see that Bosnia and Herzegovina is unanimous on European integration. It is not only the institutions — from the Presidency to the cantons and entities — that are calling for an integration process into the European Union, but, above all, the women and men of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are the ones who want to join the Europe of the peoples that we are building, day after day. The European Union will continue to support the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In that respect, the European Union military Operation Althea will continue its work by adapting, as closely as possible,to the developments in the security situation on the ground in order to enable the Bosnian security forces to act autonomously.
I mentioned at the outset that we are at a turning point in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such a moment requires political courage — the courage to face situations that some say are unsolvable and challenges that are perceived as insurmountable. As at every turning point in its history, Bosnia and Herzegovina can count on the support of France.