Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving in the right direction [fr]
Security Council - The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Speech by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 7 November 2017
I thank the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina for his briefing. More than 20 years after a deadly conflict, the Dayton Peace Agreement continues to be the cornerstone of institutional stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Today’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2384 (2017) serves to highlight that all the members of the Council share the same cardinal principles with regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina. First, it serves as a reminder of the imperative need to respect the principles and institutions set up by the Dayton Peace Agreemen; secondly, of the need to respect the aspiration of all the components of the country in favour of a European perspective; and, thirdly, of the need to support the presence of the European Union-led peacekeeping force Althea, with an executive mandate.
The unity of the Council around those common elements sends a signal of peace that is essential for the calming of the political climate in a context that remains marked by great polarization among political stakeholders. The unity of the Council recalls the support of the international community for the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which cannot be questioned by any one of its entities, as well as for respecting the choices of Bosnia and Herzegovina, insofar as they comply with international law and the framework established by the Peace Agreement.
In that regard, we call on all Bosnian political actors to respect the central institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to refrain from any initiative that could undermine those institutions, such as the referendum project. The establishment of the rule of law is a prerequisite for a calm political debate.
We call for great vigilance with regard to any initiative likely to introduce new divisions in the country. We once again urge all parties to cooperate with the institutions mentioned in the Peace Agreement, including the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Office of the High Representative. The latter must focus its efforts on facilitating a peaceful dialogue on a daily basis between the different communities and the different entities involved.
France calls on all actors to abandon divisive rhetoric. The time has come to focus on the implementation of the economic and social reforms that constitute the common aspirations of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of their community of origin. That is also true for electoral reform. France calls on all political parties to enter into a serious dialogue. Otherwise, the legal framework for elections risks being flawed.
However, despite that fragility, France remains convinced that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is now on the path towards normalization, thanks in particular to the European perspective. Our objective for the next few years remains, without calling into question the founding principles of the Dayton Peace Agreement, to change the international presence, taking into account, in particular, the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina on its European path. France is pleased that the European perspective is now the main driver of development and consolidation of the country. Frances aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the observer of the European Union.
In that regard, we welcome several positive developments for Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road to European integration. The official submission to the Bosnian authorities of the questionnaire to launch the European Commission’s examination of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s candidacy for the European Union is certainly part of those positive developments. It is part of a context in which the prospect of European integration enjoys massive support among the Bosnian population and it is the subject of real unanimity within institutions, from the Presidency to the cantons, including political entities, which is something that we can only welcome enthusiastically.
In that context, the European Union will continue more than ever to support the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the implementation of reforms that meet the economic and social aspirations of the population. The reform agenda is central to that end.
We are therefore concerned about the slowdown in the reforms, which started at the beginning of the year. In the framework of the questionnaire, we will attach particular importance to demonstrating the full functionality of the coordination mechanism in the European matter.
Finally, the Althea military operation will also continue its work by adapting itself as best as it can to the security situation on the ground in order to enable the Bosnian security forces to operate autonomously. In the coming weeks, it will be the subject of a strategic review led by the European Union, which will guide its efforts for the years to come.
Twenty-one years after the horror of war, 25 years after the beginning of the conflict, Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving in the right direction today, with the support of the European Union and its other partners. The responsibility of the international community, and in particular of the Council, is to encourage it along that path, so that it definitively turn the page on quarrels of the past.