20 years after the horror of the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina in moving in the right direction - 10 November 2015 [fr]
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Speech by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i. - 10 November 2015
I want to begin by thanking the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina for his very comprehensive briefing of the situation. I reiterate our full support for him and commend his work on the subject.
I also associate myself with the statement to be made shortly on behalf of the European Union.
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2247 (2015), demonstrating that the members of the Council share the same fundamental principles regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina: support for the presence of the European Union-led peacekeeping force (EUFOR) Operation Althea, authorized under an executive mandate; respect for the commitment of the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to a European perspective for their country; the importance of respect for the international arrangements originating from the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement; and the need to cooperate with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The unity of the Council around that common pillar sends a signal of peace to the region. It reminds us of the international community’s agreement to support the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of its respect for that country’s choices, provided that it respect international law and the framework set by the Dayton Peace Agreement.
As others have said before me today, 2015 is heavily symbolic for Bosnia and Herzegovina, because it marks the twentieth anniversary of the events of Srebrenica, which have been qualified as genocide by the ICTY and the International Court of Justice, and the anniversary of Dayton-Paris Accords. That dual anniversary reminds us of our common obligation. It highlights not only the great progress that has been made since the mid-1990s, but also how the factors that cause division can reappear at any time. In that context, France expresses its concern over the proposed referendum the authorities of Republika Srpska have referred to in recent months, aimed at challenging the competence of the jurisdiction of the central State. Such an approach runs counter to the spirit of the Peace Agreement.
Our position on this is clear. The Republika Srpska must comply with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is room for improvement in the functioning of the jurisdiction of the central State. The efforts undertaken in partnership with the European Union-led Structured Dialogue on Justice must speak to those issues. However, any viable solution can be achieved only through good-faith dialogue among the various compoents of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina — the central State and the Entities — in compliance with constitutional requirements. Political leaders have a crucial role to play in that regard. We call on them to abandon the outdated rhetoric of division.
France fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in its sovereign choice to move closer to the European Union. We are indeed convinced that the European integration can meet the economic and social aspirations of the population. That perspective is beneficial for the country and for the rest of the Balkans. Closer ties with the European Union are an expression of a decision made by the Bosnians themselves through their collegial Presidency. It is reflected in a commitment to economic, social and political reforms that paved the way for the entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement on 1 June and the endorsement, a few weeks later, of the Reform Agenda for Bosnia and Herzegovina for 2015-2018. The European Union will continue to assist the authorities in the implementation of those reforms. EUFOR Althea will continue its work in order to enable the Bosnian security forces to operate independently and to participate thereby in the consolidation of a pacific and forward-looking society.
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite its fragility, seems to have taken the path towards normalization. The presence of the international community remains no less necessary at the present stage, and is firmly based on the framework of the Dayton-Paris Accords. We therefore call on all parties to cooperate with the institutions mentioned in the Peace Agreement, in particular, the Office of the High Representative and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. However, without undermining the founding principles of the Dayton-Paris Accords, our common goal should be to develop the international presence so that it is fully adapted to current realities. The reflection on the reconfiguration of the Office of the High Representative should therefore continue.
Twenty years after experiencing the horror of the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina is making strides in the right direction. The United Nations, European Union and regional partners must continue to show their presence, alongside that country in the same unanimous way that the Council has shown today.