|Date||22 March 2000|
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The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (S/2000/215)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Yingfan
|Mr. Teixeira da Silva
|Mr. Ag Oumar
|Mr. van Walsum
|Mr. Ben Mustapha
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (S/2000/215)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Turkey, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Annabi to take a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, document S/2000/215.
At this meeting, the Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. I give him the floor.
The report of the Secretary-General dated 14 March which is before the Council is the third quarterly progress report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) in its present mandate period, which will expire next June. The report describes how and in what areas UNMIBH has progressed in the implementation of its mandate and also describes those areas in which it is encountering resistance and obstruction to the implementation of its mandate.
As described in the report, UNMIBH continues to focus on five main priority areas within its overall mandate of monitoring and restructuring the law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These five areas are the following: first, minority recruitment in an effort to change the mono-ethnic character of the police and make it increasingly representative of the community it is serving; secondly, the establishment of the State Border Service, so as to strengthen the common institutions of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina in relation to the two entities (the Federation and the Republika Srpska); thirdly, the implementation of the Brcko arbitration award, which will set an important example and serve as a model for multi-ethnic cooperation; fourthly, the provision of assistance in judicial reform and the review of judicial appointments; and fifthly, the setting up of a multi-ethnic Bosnian police contingent for service in a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
Perhaps the most important development in the last three months, which are covered by this report, was the official inauguration of the multi-ethnic Brcko district. As indicated in the report, UNMIBH has fulfilled its part in the international community’s efforts in Brcko by downsizing the former separate police forces and integrating them into one multi-ethnic police force composed of 45 per cent Serbs, 37 per cent Bosnians, 16 per cent Croats and 2 per cent others. On 13 March, after the Secretary-General’s report was finalized, the International Police Task Force (IPTF) Commissioner handed out UNMIBH identity badges to all authorized police officers in Brcko. It should be noted, however, that important practical aspects of the administration of the Brcko District still need to be resolved, including the issue of police legislation. At the present time, the district police works on the basis of separate legal systems governing the areas north and south of the inter-entity boundary line.
Changing the mono-ethnic character of the law enforcement agencies is a process that is progressing slowly, mainly through the introduction of minority police officers trained in the two police academies established in an UNMIBH-led effort two years ago, in 1998. It is, however, clear that the training and recruitment of relatively small numbers of entry-level cadets is not sufficient to significantly change the ethnic composition of the local police forces. UNMIBH is therefore encouraging former police officers among the refugee community to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina, recruiting displaced former police officers and arranging for the exchange of serving police officers between the Republika Srpska and the Federation. These efforts are difficult to pursue, since they encounter all the obstacles that frequently meet returns by refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia and elsewhere.
In the two cantons of the Federation — Canton 6 (Central Bosnia) and Canton 7 (Herzegovina-Neretva) — where there are relatively equal numbers of Bosniac and Croat police officers, their integration into a truly joint police force, rather than two parallel forces, has been hampered by obstruction and resistance. This is particularly evident in Mostar. As detailed in the Secretary-General’s report, the authorities in the Croat-controlled western part of Mostar consistently refuse even to allow Bosniac police officers to work from the same building as their Croat colleagues. During the past week, some small progress was achieved when, accompanied by officers of the International Police Task Force (IPTF), Bosniac policemen were allowed to enter the building for the inspection of office space and for training purposes. Even this minimal progress, however, required an enormous amount of pressure not only from UNMIBH, but also from the High Representative and the Stabilization Force (SFOR).
As the Secretary-General indicates in his report, UNMIBH will need the support of the Security Council and member States with influence on the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb authorities to overcome resistance to minority recruitment and integration of the police.
Turning to the State Border Service, there have been some positive developments in that regard after the issuance of the Secretary-General’s report. The Joint Presidency has approved an organizational structure which is transparent and provides accountability of the Border Service through the Council of Ministers to the Presidency. This fulfils the minimum requirements set out by UNMIBH and the project is thus back on track, although with considerable delay, caused mainly by obstruction in Parliament.
Regarding the ongoing UNMIBH activities in monitoring and training the local police and in investigating human rights abuses, there is little to add to the Secretary-General’s report. UNMIBH continues its practice of focused monitoring through the co-location of IPTF officers in the local police stations and is shifting its training activities increasingly towards specialized training and the training of trainers. The basic training activities of UNMIBH have practically been completed.
Finally, I am pleased to report that the first contingent of Bosnia and Herzegovina police officers to serve in a United Nations peacekeeping operation are expected to be deployed to East Timor to serve with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) next month.
Overall, the last three months can be summarized by saying that, while progress has been achieved and while UNMIBH has continued to make progress, that progress has been slow. It is often based more on the efforts made by UNMIBH to fulfil its mandate and on action by the international community than on action taken by the local authorities. In fact, significant resistance by entrenched radical nationalist and backward-looking elements continues to be encountered at every stage.
This shows that, more than four years after its conclusion, the implementation of the Dayton Agreement still remains a challenge and requires the continued strong commitment and engagement of the international community.
I thank Mr. Annabi for his updating report.
The United Kingdom very much welcomes the Secretary-General’s report. We support its judgements and we warmly commend the work which the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) is doing on the ground there.
We feel that significant progress is being made at last in the areas of judicial reform and integration of the local police forces. An independent judiciary and effective police enforcement are essential to our wider objective of Bosnian ownership of reform. I am glad, too, that Mr. Annabi has reported to us progress, again, in establishing a State Border Service. The advances made in supporting a free and fair society in Bosnia and Herzegovina are important for the stability of the Balkan region has a whole. In this context, we are looking forward to seeing the report from Special Representative Carl Bildt on this subject when he comes to New York next month.
I want to make two brief specific points. My first is on the Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP), which the report refers to in describing the termination by the end of this year of that Programme. This is a valuable Programme, in the United Kingdom’s view, the findings of which will be fundamental to the badly needed reform of the judicial system in Bosnia. The reports which JSAP is now issuing need to be implemented. We understand that the United Nations is not envisaging any extension of JSAP’s activity in this area after its mandate expires and I would encourage the Secretariat to consider how implementation of this programme is going to be best pursued. If this means handing the implementation on to another organization, then we will need to consider what preparations are necessary to ensure continuity. I should welcome Mr. Annabi’s comments on that.
My second point is on an exit strategy for UNMIBH. The Secretary-General’s report does not give us a sense of the overall plan for the Mission’s future activity. While JSAP is a specific example of a programme that is completing its objectives and winding up its activities, there is no similar trajectory for the bulk of UNMIBH’s activity and we would be very pleased to see a more focused assessment of achievements to date and a game plan for future action. That does not detract from our admiration of what UNMIBH is doing, but I think it is sensible to look forward in that sense.
I, too, want to thank Assistant Secretary-General Annabi for his briefing today and welcome those who have been invited to speak here. All of us have been heavily involved in the international effort in Bosnia.
We welcome Special Representative Klein’s determined efforts to carry out the Council mandate in resolution 1247 (1999). Those efforts appear to be achieving results. There clearly has been progress, as the Secretary-General has noted in his report, in several critical areas, such as police restructuring, review of the judicial system and the establishment of the Brcko unified police force.
Like Ambassador Greenstock, I think that the work of the Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP) merits special mention. This programme has made an invaluable contribution in the area of judicial monitoring. Once the final reports are completed later this year, we understand that the Programme will end, as was agreed initially, but we also agree on the need to see that this progress is continued and that its recommendations are implemented. To ensure that JSAP’s reports are acted upon, my Government has been working with officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other organizations and with the donor community to create a new judicial reform programme that we hope will have sufficient resources and the mandate it needs from the Peace Implementation Conference.
I want also to recall that last November the Bosnian Joint Presidency appeared before us in a historic meeting and announced a series of commitments known as the New York Declaration. Here again, we can welcome recent reports of progress made in implementing their commitments and can acknowledge their efforts, for instance, in establishing a secretariat for the Joint Presidency, organizing a multi-ethnic Bosnian police contingent for deployment to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), and seeking additional funding for the Council of Ministers.
This is all to the good, but unfortunately it is only half the story. There is still powerful resistance in Bosnia to making the reforms that are called for in the New York Declaration. For instance, while there is a law establishing the State Border Service, it had to be imposed by the Office of the High Representative. While there has been movement on a single passport, progress has been overshadowed by unhelpful public statements and obstacles which are likely to lead to more delays.
There is no doubt that we will need to continue to insist that Bosnia’s leaders accept their responsibilities and make the difficult choices. This is not at all to reject the concept of ownership espoused by the High Representative, Mr. Petritsch; on the contrary, we need to be realistic and determined in its application.
Progress cannot disguise that there are many in Bosnia and elsewhere in the region who do not support a unified multi-ethnic Bosnia. There are extreme nationalists who have not given up their efforts to undermine Dayton and what it stands for; there are criminals who seek to preserve and protect illicit profits. We should not be surprised by the resistance in western Mostar to integration of the Ministry of the Interior and police force there, which the Secretary-General notes in his report. And even as the new democratic Government in Croatia has taken steps to normalize and make transparent its assistance to Bosnian Croats, extreme nationalists in Mostar have only resisted reform even more fiercely. And we continue to see other examples of extremism, including threats to the upcoming municipal elections by radical Serbs in the Republika Srpska.
Such continued obstruction by extremists will require a firm and forceful response by the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the Office of the High Representative and ultimately by the Security Council. The solution, however, is not to turn to inflammatory rhetoric, as some leaders have done recently. Ownership does not mean departing or heading for the exit; it means intensifying our support for those in Bosnia — and there are, I am glad to say, more every day — who have shown the courage, strength and commitment to ensure that the hopes of Dayton will be realized.
We applaud the efforts in Bosnia of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and of those Bosnian officials who are working to fulfil Dayton’s promise. They are committed to establishing the institutions of central government in Bosnia, to returning refugees to urban areas, and to carrying out other critical tasks that will help provide Bosnia with a secure future. We pledge our ongoing support for their difficult but vital work.
We are grateful to Mr. Annabi for his statement. Although the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina gives no grounds for any particularly optimistic forecasts, nor should it produce a pessimistic mood. Forward movement, while slow, continues. The main thing is to make the process of a Bosnian settlement irreversible and sustainable; to seek the consolidation of multi-ethnic statehood for Bosnia and Herzegovina through the building of democratic foundations and the observance of the rights of all the peoples of that country; and to encourage the Bosnians themselves to shoulder primary responsibility for the future of their State.
In our view, it is extremely important that all the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina recognize the need for scrupulous adherence to the Dayton Agreement as the basis for building a stable democratic society. Clear evidence of such recognition was the signing of the New York Declaration last November by the members of the Joint Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the thrust of the Declaration is consistent implementation of the basic Dayton document without arbitrary adjustments.
The implementation of the Dayton approach is the key condition for realizing efforts to find a long-term effective settlement in Bosnia. We are therefore concerned that of late we have increasingly been hearing statements by some Bosnian politicians who represent various communities of that country, offering proposals for “correcting” or “polishing” the Dayton peace plan. We view that approach as counter-productive.
Mr. Annabi’s statement and the report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/215) rightly took note of some fundamental aspects of the process of developing Bosnian statehood: strengthening democratic institutions and law and order; the creation of a functioning independent judicial system; the reorganization of the Bosnian police on a genuinely multi-ethnic basis; the establishment of a unified Border Service; the speedy adoption of an election law; the return of refugees and internally displaced persons; guarantees of the rights of all communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina; market reforms; and fighting corruption and crime.
We think that pending problems need to be resolved as soon as possible, regarding achieving a proper level of cooperation between the two entities — not just in the Bosnian State organs, but also in terms of relations between the entities and leading international structures in Bosnia, particularly the Office of the High Representative, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) as a whole.
Here we cannot fail to note our concern at the situation in Brcko and Mostar. It is important to deal with the resurgence of political extremism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We stress anew that the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia should be depoliticized and that detention of those indicted on the basis of Tribunal warrants should not take place without the consent of the States in whose territory they are located. We are categorically against the use of force to hunt down indictees.
We cannot fail to be concerned at demonstrations of Bosniac extremism, in particular recent statements by Mr. Izetbegovic’ describing representatives of the Serb and Croatian peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina not merely as political opponents but as outright enemies of the Bosniacs. Such statements only confirm our fears; they whip up inter-ethnic hatreds and undermine the basis of the Peace Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unless we control such forces decisively, these attacks on Dayton will lead to further exacerbation of the situation: tension will inevitably spill over the borders and will result in a deteriorating situation in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia.
Any attempt to impose solutions that are not acceptable to the representatives of even one of the three peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina could lead to an outburst of discontent at the centrifugal tendencies that are on the increase in Bosnia and to greater tension throughout the country’s territory. We are convinced that Dayton’s potential is far from exhausted, and that a review of Dayton now would cause more problems than it would resolve. Thus, we do not consider it to be a good idea even to talk about the possibility of revising the Peace Agreement.
For its part, Russia, as one of the leading participants in the Bosnian settlement, will continue to make an active, practical contribution to the peace process on the basis of complete, scrupulous implementation of the Dayton and Paris agreements. Moreover, that should be the clear focus of the activities of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo as well.
It is my understanding that before this meeting was called to order there was discussion of the President making a statement to the press following the adjournment of the meeting. Frankly, my delegation is not clear about the outcome of that discussion. We consider this to be too important a topic; I think that any statement must be agreed upon by all members of the Security Council.
I thank Mr. Annabi for his briefing.
The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) continues to make a significant contribution to stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and will remain a critical component in the international effort to restore peace and stability to the entire Balkan region. The International Police Task Force (IPTF), in particular, has made an important contribution to police reform and to the return of the rule of law.
We are nevertheless concerned that UNMIBH has faced obstruction in a number of crucial areas. As Mr. Annabi noted, there are continued problems with the establishment of the State Border Service, following the imposition of the State Border Service Law by the High Representative. In addition, the obstruction by Croat authorities in Mostar, cited in the Secretary-General’s report, causes us serious concern.
The return of refugees and displaced persons to their pre-war homes is another key priority. We encourage Bosnian authorities to implement fully measures likely to foster returns, such as the property law, and to cease obstructing legal evictions. Progress on this front is critical in measuring the real commitment of Bosnia’s authorities to a lasting peace within the Dayton framework.
The flawed judicial system in Bosnia is a significant obstacle to the development of a modern democratic State. We note that the parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina are considering legislation that will provide for a review of the qualifications, performance and appointments of some 800 prosecutors and judges. We also commend the initiatives undertaken within the framework of the judicial system assessment programme, and we agree with Ambassador Greenstock on its importance.
We are encouraged that progress is being made in changing the composition of police forces, although we note and are disappointed with ongoing shortcomings in the Republika Srpska. In addition, the progress made in screening for the Law Enforcement Personnel Registry and the establishment of the inter-entity Ministerial Consultative Meeting on Police Matters are encouraging developments which bode well for the implementation of the Dayton Agreement as a whole.
Finally, we also support UNMIBH’s cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund in demining programmes, another crucial initiative to ensure that the return of refugees and internally displaced persons takes place in a secure environment. The increase in joint activities between UNMIBH, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other actors in the field is particularly positive, as is UNMIBH’s work to develop an updated human rights training curriculum for the IPTF.
Let me at the outset salute the format of today’s meeting of the Council, which provides for an expanded exchange of views, not only between members of the Council and the Secretariat, but also with Member States that are directly affected or have a special interest in this important issue. This format will certainly enhance the process of consultations between Council members and the larger membership of the Organization, and thus clearly enrich the decision-making process of this Council.
We wish to thank the Secretary-General for his latest report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and Assistant Secretary-General Annabi for introducing it and for his update on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also appreciate the report that has been submitted by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in relation to the implementation of the New York Declaration, which the Presidency adopted last November.
We commend UNMIBH and Special Representative Jacques Klein for their continued efforts in connection with the restructuring and reform of the local police forces and the judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We note that some of the measures that UNMIBH has implemented through the targeted and more inclusive concept of operations have begun to bear fruit, and that the Mission has made additional progress in many core mandate areas.
We are, however, concerned by the continued obstruction and delay in the efforts aimed at full integration of multi-ethnic police in certain cantons, in particular canton 7 — Mostar. We are also concerned to see the speedy establishment of the State Border Service, an issue that was highlighted by Mr. Annabi and is discussed in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Secretary-General’s report. Both Mr. Annabi and the report underscore the importance of the Border Service to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of the establishment and integration of the multi-ethnic police force, which must continue to be seriously pursued in both entities, in particular in the Republika Srpska. In this context, we note in particular the Secretary-General’s observation that the Republika Srpska has missed key benchmarks for minority recruitment. Any impediments to further progress in these areas are certainly not acceptable.
We continue to express our strong objection to political obstructionism and interference in the implementation of the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Obstructionists and extremist political groups should not be allowed to impede progress. In this regard, we are gratified to note that the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been most forthcoming in supporting the implementation of the various measures outlined in the New York Declaration.
Needless to say, the cooperation and constructive role of local leaders is of paramount importance. Without this contribution, the international community’s efforts will not be successful. We therefore urge other political leaders, at every level, to demonstrate commitment and determination similar to those already shown by the Bosnian Presidency in order to carry the process forward towards the establishment of a democratic, multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the ultimate goal of the international community’s active involvement in the country.
On the return of refugees and displaced persons, we note that, despite the concerted efforts by the international community, the progress has been very slow and that the implementation of annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Accords is far behind schedule. The High Representative informed the Council last November that if the current slow tempo of return continued, the return process would take about 22 years in the Federation and 40 years in the Republika Srpska. At the present rate, therefore, the return process will in practical terms never be completed, which of course would be a triumph for the evil of ethnic cleansing. This should be prevented at all costs.
The refugee problem is of course at the heart of the existing insecure situation, which is due to the absence of law and order, as well as to the existence of political and administrative obstructions. This underscores the need for more robust efforts that would help create a safe and secure environment through, inter alia, the establishment and implementation of projects designed to increase economic opportunities. In this regard, making conditional all forms of assistance from international donors and agencies could encourage the necessary compliance and cooperation on the part of those concerned and would facilitate the return process.
Continued emphasis on reconciliation should remain one of the most important priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The consequences of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the country must be reversed, and justice must be done and done quickly. In this regard, the work in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is of particular importance, and the international community must continue to strongly support this work. Clearly the continued freedom enjoyed by the leading war criminals, such as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, sends the wrong signals and contributes to the climate of insecurity that limits further progress in the peace implementation process. The early arrest and prosecution of all indicted war criminals would not only serve to mete out justice, but also contribute to the accomplishment of the long-term goal of national reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Finally, my delegation commends UNMIBH for all its accomplishments thus far, including its successful project of establishing a Bosnia and Herzegovina police contingent for a United Nations peacekeeping operation. It is also encouraging to note that preparations are already under way for the establishment of a Bosnia and Herzegovina military contingent for a similar purpose.
We would like to express our thanks for the Secretary-General’s report on the progress that has been made by the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) since 17 December 1999, as well as for the oral briefing that has been given by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hédi Annabi.
According to the Secretary-General’s report, there is no doubt that progress has been made with regard to police restructuring, the revision of the judicial system and the establishment, in January, of the unified police force in Brcko. In this context, we should note the good work of that unified police force during the ceremony that took place on the occasion of the creation of the Brcko District. The Mission’s efforts to modify the ethnic make-up of local police forces so as to properly reflect the multi-ethnic nature of the communities that they serve, to improve cooperation between the police of the two entities, to depoliticize the local police forces and to promote the establishment of a judicial police deserve our full support.
It is regrettable, however, that, despite the agreement in the New York Declaration, Parliament’s repeated failure to pass the State Border Service Law compelled the High Representative to impose it on 13 January.
We are also concerned about the fact that some officials persist in perpetuating divisions instead of working to foster integrated coexistence. In this context, we can only repudiate the attitude taken by the Croat authorities in Mostar with regard to Bosniac officials, whom they are preventing from working in the same building as their Croat counterparts.
We do not want to miss this opportunity to underscore the importance of the decision taken recently by the High Representative for the establishment of the Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the entry into force of the District Statute and the designation of the appropriate authorities. We hope that the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of both entities will take all the necessary measures to enable the District to develop fully.
We agree with the Secretary-General that the promise of the recently elected Government of Croatia to respect the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and cooperate with its population and with the international community is a positive development.
In conclusion, we reaffirm our support for the initiative to form a contingent of police officers from both entities and the three ethnic groups for service in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), and to thank Mr. Annabi for his briefing.
We have noted that UNMIBH has done some useful work since the end of last year in assisting police restructuring and the review of the judicial system. In particular, progress has been made in establishing a multi-ethnic police force, which is commendable. We hope that UNMIBH will continue its work. If we are successful in establishing a multi-ethnic police force in Bosnia, it will provide lessons from which other United Nations peacekeeping operations can learn.
We have also noted that problems remain in Bosnia. National reconciliation still faces many obstacles and difficulties. There are incidents of blackmail and other crimes, political interference and corruption among the ethnic groups. Resolving these problems will require the continued efforts of the various parties in Bosnia and the international community, and UNMIBH in particular.
The Secretary-General made it clear in his report that UNMIBH needs support from the Security Council, as well as from Member States with influence on the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb authorities, so as to help it carry out its work. This recommendation by the Secretary-General warrants our attention.
I should like first of all to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). We listened with interest to the briefing given my Mr. Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and we thank him for the useful information that he has just given us. We pay tribute to the personnel of UNMIBH for their devotion and for the tireless efforts that they are constantly making for the cause of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the region.
The Secretary-General’s report and Mr. Annabi’s statement have given an account of new progress made by UNMIBH. These developments are especially encouraging as they are taking place in sensitive and vital areas: the restructuring and changing of the mono-ethnic nature of the police force, the creation of a reliable and impartial judicial system and the consolidation of a State based on the rule of law.
All the initiatives undertaken by UNMIBH have been necessary, especially since, in accordance with the approach envisioned and taken by UNMIBH, they were intended to contribute to strengthening national identity and to mobilizing both the people and the authorities around a common plan: the complete elimination of ethnic rifts, which we believe to be the major obstacle to the reconciliation for which we all hope.
It is true that, as the report states, some initiatives intended to create a dynamic for peace and requiring the ongoing commitment of the international community as a whole have come up against obstructive actions. The firm and steadfast support of the Security Council for UNMIBH will help overcome resistance and put pressure on the forces that are opposed to change.
We note that, despite the encouraging progress made, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains precarious. Insecurity and instability, the return of refugees and the difficult economic and social problems are still sources of concern requiring stronger commitment on the part of the international community and closer coordination between all the actors.
It is in this context that the activities of United Nations bodies are taking place in various areas. Such activities, especially those undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are all part of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary vision, which plays an essential role in establishing a unified approach contributing to the attainment of a common goal.
In this context, it is important to stress the educational role to be played by UNESCO in promoting a culture of tolerance and peace so as to produce a new generation in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will have overcome the psychological torment of a conflict that has marked both the Bosnian conscience and that of the international community.
Furthermore, we are convinced that the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be contemplated without an overarching vision that applies to the entire region of the Balkans, which is facing many similar challenges.
I should like first of all to welcome this opportunity today for some States directly concerned by the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to express their views. I should like to thank Mr. Annabi for the information that he provided.
The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and its main component, the International Police Task Force, are carrying out their activities discreetly but effectively. The task entrusted to them by the Security Council is to establish the main elements of a genuine State of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is the purpose of the International Police Task Force in training local police officers and integrating minority representatives into local police forces. This is also the purpose of UNMIBH’s more recent contribution to the programme of reform of the judicial structures, under the auspices of the High Representative. The aim is for every citizen in Bosnia and Herzegovina to have recourse to the police and the courts in order to exercise his rights, without fear of discriminatory treatment of his case as a result of ethnic origin.
This also involves fighting the corruption and the pressures that continue to hamper the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNMIBH continues to run into strong obstructionist forces in implementing its mandate, a task that remains difficult and that requires sustained political and material support.
The existence of other crises in the region should not distract attention from the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. France, which provides the International Police Task Force with over 100 police officers, will continue to support the Mission and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in their activities.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for having chosen a French Gendarmerie officer, General Coeurderoy, to lead the International Police Task Force. General Coeurderoy will be determined to build on the achievements of his predecessors, whose activities we would like once again to praise.
I would like to make four specific comments and to put some questions to the Secretariat. My first comment relates to the creation of the Border Service. As we see it, the creation of such a service is essential to combat smuggling and to build a genuine State. Unfortunately, the High Representative himself had to impose the law creating the service, since the Parliament had not passed the relevant law. It is obviously regrettable that things happened in this way, and this once again raises the fundamental question — often raised in this forum, even by the High Representative himself — of the need for the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves to take hold of the future of their own country.
The Joint Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has just reported to the Security Council on the implementation of the agreements adopted here on 15 November 1999. This development should be encouraged in order to give real follow-up to the decisions adopted. Despite delays, and thanks to the courageous decision of the High Representative, the Border Service will come into being. My question is this: could Mr. Annabi give us a precise idea of the timetable and funding envisaged for the establishment of that vital service?
My second question concerns the need to reform the judicial structures. This question has already been raised by the Ambassador of the United Kingdom. UNMIBH contributes to that reform by carrying out assessments in the context of a broader programme under the auspices of the High Representative. That work should be completed by the end of this year. What will then be the subsequent stages of that reform process? Is it envisaged that UNMIBH will continue to play a role in the later stages, and, if not, what organizations would be involved in implementing the reform?
My third remark concerns the proposal made by UNMIBH, in the framework of the Stability Pact, to create a police training college for all South-Eastern Europe. The training of police officers is obviously one of the important tasks that has been carried out by the United Nations in numerous missions in the Balkans. We should like to have more details as to the modalities and objectives of such a school.
My fourth and last comment is of a more general nature. The French delegation would be interested to receive an appraisal from the Secretariat as to the effects on the work of UNMIBH of regional developments, such as the situation in Kosovo and, as the report notes, the political changes in Croatia.
The value of these meetings undoubtedly lies in getting detailed information from the Secretariat. But above and beyond that, these meetings should also offer us an opportunity to lend our full support to United Nations missions, in particular by supporting their activities on specific points. Two particularly noteworthy matters are addressed in the report before us today. The first has to do with the difficulties encountered in canton 7, Mostar, and the second with the recruitment of police from minority groups in the Republika Srpska. On those two points it seems to us that the Council should call on those responsible to ensure that they act in accordance with their obligations within the shortest possible period of time.
We welcome the format of today’s meeting, and we thank Mr. Annabi for his comprehensive briefing.
My delegation welcomes the progress report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). Ukraine is largely satisfied with the work done by the Mission over the reporting period, in particular in the fields of police restructuring and reform and the reform of the judicial system. With regard to the restructuring of the police, we recognize the particular importance of effective implementation of the data collection project on police trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the establishment of the inter-entity Ministerial Consultative Meeting on Police Matters (MCMP) and the progress made towards setting up court police.
At the same time, my delegation is concerned about the reported instances of obstruction and delays in the integration of Bosniac and Croat police officers in Mostar and other parts of canton 7, as well as the establishment of the State Border Service. No obstruction or resistance to achieving these goals should be tolerated, and more assertive measures on the part of UNMIBH are to be considered. In this context, we support the imposition by the High Representative of the State Border Service Law following another failure by the Parliament to pass the necessary legislation.
The inauguration of the Brcko District Police Service is of great importance. We hope that it will contribute to the implementation of the Dayton Agreement, as far as Brcko is concerned, to the satisfaction of both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would like to be familiarized with the final version of the new draft Brcko District Statute before its entry into force. In this regard, we would like to request the Secretariat to provide us with a text as soon as the draft is completed.
My delegation is encouraged by the report of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the implementation of the New York Declaration. The very fact that this report was submitted to the Security Council is quite remarkable, given the problem of cooperation between the Members of the Presidency in the past. The report cites a number of important steps the Presidency took in implementing the New York Declaration, specifically the establishment of a joint secretariat, the organization of the Council of Ministers and the establishment of the first civilian police joint unit for United Nations operations.
We believe that further progress in the peace process will be achieved after adoption by the Bosnian Parliament of the electoral law and changes to the law on passports, which will pave the way to the introduction of a single national passport.
While we welcome the report of the Presidency, we acknowledge the existence of serious difficulties in its activity as a single body representing all the peoples of the country. An indicator of these problems is the position of one Member of the Presidency regarding the process of deconstituization of Croats in Bosnia, as stated in the letter of 29 February 2000 addressed to the Secretary-General.
We also have taken note with concern of some negative and quite dangerous tendencies to revise the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement advocated by some officials of the country. This relates to the letter of 9 February 2000 to the Council from the co-Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Silajdzic’, containing a “Memorandum on Change”. We believe that it is high time to deploy multiple and joint efforts to complete the implementation of the Dayton Accord rather than attempt to revise it.
It is generally recognized that the progress achieved in bringing peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina has been significant. Peace is putting down deep roots, but its foundation is still shaky. There is still a long way to go to make the peace process in Bosnia irreversible. The international community and the United Nations should spare no effort to this end. We should also think of how to better coordinate these efforts in order to avoid any mistakes rather than always placing the blame on different entities of Bosnia.
For its part, Ukraine, as a member of the Peace Implementation Council and a police contributor to the International Police Task Force (IPTF), stands ready to continue its support for the activities of UNMIBH and to contribute further to the peace process in Bosnia.
My delegation also welcomes the format of today’s meeting, which enhances the transparency of the Council’s work and which allows countries with particular interests in the matter under consideration an opportunity to participate in the discussions.
We thank the Secretary-General for his report and Mr. Annabi for his update on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also commend Mr. Jacques Paul Klein and the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for their work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which we fully support. We recognize the important role it has played in an effort to return normalcy to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We attach great importance to the ongoing efforts to consolidate peace and stability and create a multi-ethnic society and multi-ethnic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Implementation of the New York Declaration is critical to this process.
We note the efforts made at police restructuring and reform, and in particular the screening for law enforcement personnel, as well as the incremental progress being made in changing the composition of the police force to reflect the multi-ethnic character of the communities it serves. The initiatives to improve their technical and democratic policing skills are noteworthy. We attach importance to the continued emphasis on training of the police officers and agree that the key to self-sustaining police reform is professional training.
We are concerned about the issues raised in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Secretary-General’s report, specifically the difficulties with the integration of Bosniac and Croat police officers in canton 7 and the political and administrative delays in the establishment of the State Border Service. We note that the latter issue is being addressed, as referred to by Mr. Annabi in his briefing.
We agree that police restructuring and reform must be complemented with judicial reform. Political, institutional and technical impediments to the effective functioning of the judiciary must be removed. The entrenchment of law and order is contingent upon an efficient and organized judiciary, and we look forward to being briefed in the future on progress in judicial reform.
It is encouraging to note that the level of coordination between UNMIBH, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been increasing, particularly on issues such as refugees and human rights training. We wish to emphasize that the work of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is critical in the areas of capacity-building and training and that the long-term development and sustainability of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in its human resources and the strengthening of its institutions.
We are aware that there are numerous challenges in the discharge of UNMIBH’s mandate. We remain convinced that the cooperation of all groups is needed, and we urge those in authority and in positions of influence to strengthen their collaboration with UNMIBH.
We also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). We would like also to thank Mr. Annabi for the very useful update he has given us on that situation.
My delegation notes with appreciation that despite some enormous and continuing difficulties, UNMIBH has made significant progress in the area of police restructuring, the review of the judicial system and the establishment of the Brcko unified police force.
We take note of the problems facing UNMIBH in the integration of Bosniac and Croat police officers in canton 7, the establishment of the State Border Service, and the non-compliance with the Mission’s International Police Task Force, which, among other things, creates mistrust and apprehension and indeed retards the efforts of UNMIBH to establish transparent and accountable police forces. This notwithstanding, it is our earnest hope that for the sake of peace and reconciliation these and other related problems will be resolved sooner rather than later to permit the restructuring and reform exercise to continue.
In this connection, my delegation fully agrees with the observation of the Secretary-General, as stated in paragraph 33 of his report, on the need for the Council to support UNMIBH in its efforts to implement these endeavours.
We also note the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, which focus on programmes which support the return of refugees, internally displaced persons, demining exercises and the welfare of children. In this context, we welcome the successful completion of the pilot projects addressing violence against women. All of these are very important projects which my delegation values highly. We hope that funds will be made available for the implementation of these projects.
Finally, we appreciate the efforts to form a Bosnia and Herzegovina police contingent for service in a United Nations peacekeeping operation, and we agree with the observation stated in the Secretary-General’s report in this regard.
I should like to thank Mr. Annabi for introducing the report and for the additional information he has provided.
While we are pleased to note that there have been positive developments such as police restructuring and judicial reform, we are disappointed at the lack of progress in the political field. A draft electoral law was presented to the Parliament twice, and twice lawmakers could not agree on its passing.
My delegation finds it difficult to conceive of any step towards further integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina in international structures as long as the Parliament fails to adopt an electoral law. Such a law is a precondition for democratic processes to evolve.
Over the past four months, the international community has witnessed the uncommon spectacle of a Council of Ministers’ coming close to being declared unconstitutional. The efforts of the Constitutional Court and of the Presidency notwithstanding, the problem remains and a solution has not been found. The Netherlands urges the parties concerned to engage in meaningful cooperation and to show a willingness to compromise in order to create common institutions and to make them work.
We are pleased to note from Mr. Annabi’s briefing that there has been some long-overdue progress in the implementation of the law of the State Border Service. Still, relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) leave room for improvement. They are impairing the willingness of donor countries to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina. Under the current circumstances, it is even uncertain that the donor conference scheduled for the end of June by the World Bank can take place as planned. Therefore, we urge the parties to honour their countries’ international commitments, not least because this would facilitate international efforts to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Netherlands is concerned about the current strength of the Stabilization Force (SFOR). Its numbers have reportedly already sunk below the lowest acceptable level of 20,000 persons deployed. In the view of the Netherlands, the deployment of SFOR contingents should be kept at the mandated strength. In this context, I should like to note that the Netherlands is not in favour of armed contingents of the International Police Task Force (IPTF).
I have already noted that, under the prevailing circumstances, it is difficult to conceive of steps towards the further integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into international structures. My delegation strongly believes that this process should be reversed and that active steps should be taken towards the further integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the concert of nations. Therefore, the Netherlands supports the concept of a road-map, as proposed by European Union (EU) Commissioner Patten during his recent visit to Sarajevo. This road-map towards a feasibility study may be a first step towards an eventual stabilization and association agreement with the EU.
Finally, the Netherlands associates itself fully with the statement to be made by Portugal, on behalf of the EU, as a member of the Peace Implementation Council.
I shall now make a statement in my national capacity.
First of all, we thank Mr. Hédi Annabi for his very useful briefing.
Taking into account the main focus of the report of the Secretary-General, Bangladesh believes that it is important that the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord be accelerated. The Council needs to give strong signals to all key actors to extend their full support for the implementation of the Peace Accord.
We commend the newly elected Government of Croatia, which has pledged to cooperate with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We hope that it will put its pledge into action through its influence on the Bosnian Croat authorities to redouble their efforts for the peace process.
Similarly, we hope that the Bosnian Serb authorities will also be given support by the Serbs to this end. Support of these two crucial actors is critical if the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) is to make considerable headway in its mandate.
The key role in the engagement of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the areas of police restructuring and the consolidation of the judicial system. A yardstick for the success of United Nations involvement will be the amount of progress that can be made in these areas. We welcome the important initiatives launched recently, but note from the Secretary-General’s report that progress is dependent on overcoming the political and other factors causing obstruction and delays. We hope that, with the willingness and cooperation of all parties concerned, considerable headway in the efforts of UNMIBH will be possible in the coming days.
In conclusion, Bangladesh would like to emphasize that the international community, particularly those having influence in the region, has to redouble efforts to see to it that the Dayton Accord is speedily and fully implemented.
I now resume my functions as President of the Council.
I now call on the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to make a statement.
Let me express how pleased we are to see you, Sir, in your current position of leadership. It is most fortuitous for Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also welcome the format and substance of this meeting. We think it serves our purposes well.
We have two statements to make, and then I would like to offer to answer any further questions and comments from those participating in this debate. Now, let me very briefly comment not so much on the substance of the report that has been provided, but on the methodology at work here.
The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has most recently forwarded a progress report on the implementation of the Peace Agreement, in particular the New York Declaration. This should stand on its own, although I am prepared also to answer questions on this point. Regarding the methodology of the report provided to the Security Council, let me first make the following points.
First, it is most constructive that the issues are addressed in such detail, with the problems being specifically outlined. This moves us away from the placement of collective guilt or responsibility, from generalizations and from the entrenching of unhelpful and illegitimate stereotypes. I hope, too, that Mr. Annabi will have the opportunity to acknowledge that, besides the obstructionists, there are also many — maybe even the majority — from all ethnic backgrounds who are supportive of the efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and who are the backbone of the growing success of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In this spirit, I am most proud to ask the Council to take note, only briefly and without the fanfare and congratulations that have been offered in some instances, that the Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations is fully integrated, with all entities and ethnic groups represented. Our work here at the United Nations reflects goodwill and a professional commitment to peace in our country.
Secondly, consistent with Ambassador Greenstock’s comments regarding an exit strategy, I think we need to review the effectiveness of the numerous international factors operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Certainly, without them the implementation of the Dayton/Paris accords would not be possible. Nonetheless, with the maturing presence of a variety of international factors, we would be wise to evaluate — and certainly we would encourage such an evaluation — the effectiveness of such factors in fulfilling their mandate within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina are held accountable by the international community and, most importantly, by the constituency of Bosnia and Herzegovina — that is, its voters. I think it is also appropriate that those international factors be held accountable by a body such as the Security Council.
Coincidentally, we would also agree with Ambassador Greenstock’s view of the Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP). A change in the methodology of the work of the local institutions, particularly the judicial institutions, is as critical as any change in ideology.
Before I surrender the floor, I would also like briefly to address some of the other comments made by other members of the Council, Ambassador Lavrov in particular. The Dayton/Paris accords have constitutionally enshrined Bosnia and Herzegovina’s full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal. The accords, particularly in the annexes, in fact also adopted the mechanisms of the arrests that have been performed. The Dayton/Paris accords continue to enjoy the full support and confidence of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the numerous arrests that have been carried out by the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and other legal forces within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the sovereign authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina — that is, the Presidency — has not sought fit to challenge such arrests.
Secondly, the Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations will make a sincere effort to provide to this Council and this international body as a whole the accepted positions of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Government as a whole, and sometimes the views, even if controversial, of important political leaders within Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do this to inform the Council rather than to advocate. In that sense, the Council will in fact soon receive a proposal by a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Ante Jelavic’. I must emphasize that this is not necessarily something that the Mission would agree with, but it is for the purpose of information and making a helpful contribution to the debate regarding the accords and their implementation.
But here, let me offer a very personal view. The success of the implementation of the Dayton-Paris Accords, and in particular needed initiatives — or infusions if you will — such as the New York Declaration, will be the best counter to those who believe that the only option for progress is to change the Dayton-Paris Accords.
Thirdly, although I am not here to defend the words or actions of any member of the Presidency, I do not believe that it is either accurate or helpful to characterize President Izetbegovic”s words as stating that the members of another ethnic group, as such, are enemies. I believe that Ambassador Lavrov is mistaken in his reading. However, most important, I do not believe that any — I emphasize “any” — member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina sees members of another ethnic group, purely by their ethnicity, as enemies. That would be to perpetuate the dangerous stereotypes of a vicious cycle of ethnic hatreds in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is not the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To paraphrase the words of the representative of Jamaica, all of us in Bosnia and Herzegovina know that our greatest resource is all of our people, and of course our diversity. I thank that representative for those words.
Let me conclude on a promising note. I thank the Council for a most constructive debate and for its continued support. In particular, let me express our appreciation for the efforts of Mr. Jacques Paul Klein and the entire staff of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. We are now partners, with the added benefit of Bosnians of all backgrounds participating in United Nations police and peacekeeping efforts. That is good for the United Nations and for us, and we look forward to enhancing such efforts and opportunities. In that context, the representative of Italy will enlighten us all about some further helpful efforts in that direction.
The next speaker is the representative of Portugal. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
It is a pleasure, Sir, to see you presiding over the work of the Security Council; I wish you continued success.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — and the associated countries Cyprus and Malta, as well as the European Free Trade Association countries members of the European Economic Area, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
Allow me to thank Mr. Annabi for his briefing and his update to the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH).
As the single largest contributor to the international assistance effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union and its member States remain committed to continuing their support for economic and democratic consolidation, reintegration of refugees and reconciliation in that country. This year, 100 million euros have been allocated to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the following priority areas: support for the return process, institution-building, cooperation with the European Investment Bank, customs and fiscal assistance, economic regeneration, media support, education and technical assistance. Over the last few years, this has added up to more than 1 billion euros for reconstruction and technical assistance and a similar amount for humanitarian aid. In total, the European Union has provided more than 2.5 billion euros to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1991.
The European Union also provides support to the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in its work with police academies and in assistance to judicial reform. Of course, European Union member States continue to provide significant numbers of police monitors for UNMIBH and troops for the Stabilization Force (SFOR), as well as seconding personnel to the Office of the High Representative, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM).
The European Union also continues to work actively within the Peace Implementation Council towards the full implementation of the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement and supports fully the efforts of the High Representative in that regard. We must, however, reaffirm the view of the European Union that Bosnians themselves must move this process much further and much faster. In fact, the long-term future of Bosnia and Herzegovina depends on this.
The European Union Council of Ministers recently welcomed the initiative of the European Commission on a road map for Bosnia and Herzegovina to help pave the way towards a feasibility study on the opening of negotiations for a stabilization and association agreement. But the pace of progress in this regard will depend on the readiness of the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the stabilization and association process.
The European Union is, therefore, concerned that the Bosnian leadership has yet to implement the letter and the spirit of the New York Declaration of 15 November 1999. The European Union reiterates its call for the early and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration in all its parts and urges the Bosnian parties urgently to overcome their difficulties. We regret in this regard the delay in the establishment of the State Border Service.
Firm and positive steps must very soon be taken towards the full implementation of the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement and the effective functioning of the relevant institutions if the European Union is to continue to remain engaged in the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina at current levels.
The European Union looks forward to the Bosnian parties registering such essential progress by the next meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, in May, and, in this regard, expects the smooth conduct of free and fair municipal elections in April.
The long-term stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina is being sought in the context of the Stability Pact signed at Cologne in June last year, with a view to achieving lasting peace, prosperity and stability for the region as a whole. In this regard, the European Union fully supports the efforts by the Special Coordinator of the Pact, the European Commission and the World Bank, aimed at achieving a substantive outcome of the regional funding conference to take place on 29 and 30 March and at putting together a credible package of quick-start projects.
The European Union also continues to attach great importance to the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and to bringing to trial those indicted by the Tribunal. The European Union recalls the duty of all States to cooperate with the Tribunal in delivering indicted persons into its custody.
The next speaker is the representative of Germany. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I appreciate that Member States that are not members of the Council but are highly involved in the implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement are being given an opportunity to express their views on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My Government very much welcomes this step towards more transparent and, therefore, credible work by the Council.
I would like to thank all those who have supported us and ask for the understanding of those who have been reluctant so far. We have suggested, as Council members know, that the speaking time of non-members be limited to not more than five minutes. I will try to live up to that self-imposed restriction.
First of all, I would like to associate myself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union by the Portuguese presidency. But please allow me to make a few remarks as the representative of a country that is heavily involved in the peace process. We share the view expressed by the Secretary-General and repeated by Mr. Annabi today that there is slow progress in the implementation of the Dayton/Paris Agreement as well as in that of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). Germany is therefore of the opinion that — despite other crises in the region which are requiring the full attention and commitment of large resources — the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is far from being finished. We therefore call on Member States to maintain their involvement at a high level so as not to lose the momentum created over the past four years.
My country welcomes the report of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the progress in implementing their New York Declaration of 15 November 1999, and I listened carefully and with the greatest interest to what our colleague from Bosnia and Herzegovina told us today. The commitments made in this Declaration are well on their way towards being translated into concrete measures.
Germany, however, cannot but express disappointment that, once again, progress was possible only after the intervention of the High Representative. We hope that in the future the political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to live up to their responsibilities. The early adoption of an electoral law and the provision of sufficient budgetary resources to implement it would be visible proof of the maturity of the political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of their capability to take ownership of their affairs. I would like to associate myself with the remarks of my French colleague, who spoke of the need for the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take hold of their country’s destiny.
In this context, we would like to learn more about the experience so far with the implementation of the State Border Service Law, in particular with the responsible authority for the Border Service. It would also be of interest to know whether Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide adequate funds in its budget for the implementation of the Law. What are the planned next steps?
We share the Secretary-General’s concerns about the continuing obstruction by Bosnian-Herzegovinan Croat politicians in Mostar. Successful integration of the police force and of the administration in general in Mostar would set a precedent and allow for a breakthrough elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Germany is ready to cooperate with UNMIBH and with the High Representative in pursuing this goal. To this end, we would be grateful to learn what steps UNMIBH and the High Representative plan for the near future.
The Secretary-General’s report states that the judicial assessment programme will have concluded its task by the end of this year. Given the fact that the implementation of the reform of the judicial system has just started, and that it is highly likely that there will be attempts to obstruct this process, Germany would like to know how this reform will be furthered and which body will be responsible for the supervision of the judicial reform process. This question has already been asked by other participants in this meeting.
My country welcomes the measures undertaken by UNMIBH to raise the qualification standards for the personnel of the International Police Task Force. In view of the focus on co-location and consultancy tasks, those higher standards will be essential if these tasks are to be successfully carried out.
With regard to the options to be explored in connection with the security needs of the Mission, as mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, Germany would like to draw the attention of the Council to the experience of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia, which could be taken into consideration for UNMIBH as well.
I thank you, Sir, for the Council’s attention and, once again, for the opportunity to take the floor on this occasion.
The next speaker is the representative of Turkey. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
It gives my delegation particular satisfaction to see at the helm of the Security Council the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, a country with which Turkey maintains the closest of friendly bonds. We thank Assistant Secretary-General Annabi for the briefing he has given and welcome in particular the progress so far achieved in restructuring the police force and the steps taken to improve judicial practice and procedure.
The report of the Secretary-General, just summarized, also provides us with a clearer picture of where the players in Bosnia and Herzegovina currently stand. Especially revealing in this respect is the way the efforts of the United Nations mission to restructure the police force as a truly multi-ethnic one are treated in certain parts of the country. Those who persistently attempt to thwart this process must comprehend that they are in fact undermining their own security and future.
Implementation of the Dayton/Paris Accords remains our constant objective. Bosnia and Herzegovina should be preserved as a multi-ethnic, multicultural, independent and sovereign State within internationally recognized borders. High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch enjoys my Government’s full support in his task. Equally, we stand by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Coordinator Jacques Paul Klein, whose forthright approach to the realities of Bosnia and Herzegovina is commendable.
But nothing can be effectively achieved or endure solely on the basis of the perseverance of the international community; the real actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina must take charge of the tasks at hand. Among these tasks, the safe return of refugees and displaced persons remains an urgent priority. The electoral law, drafted by international and local experts, needs to be considered and adopted by the State Parliament without further procrastination, and the effective functioning of the common institutions is a prerequisite for their popular acceptance as credible seats of authority and for the success of the economic and social recovery programme.
The Government which emerged from the recent elections in Croatia has taken a step in the right direction by declaring that the Bosnian Croats should no longer look to Zagreb for help but to Sarajevo. This is a welcome development for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as that declaration is a recognition of the fact that the peoples of that country have a common destiny. If carried into effect, this approach will surely facilitate State-building efforts.
We all admit that building a common future on the agony and ashes resulting from a brutal war is no easy undertaking. Against that backdrop, cooperation by all States with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia becomes essential not only for serving justice, but also for helping usher in a new era in which the sides will no longer feel the urge to demonize each other. Ms. Carla del Ponte, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, was once again assured of Turkey’s cooperation during her recent visit to Ankara.
My country rushed to help Bosnia and Herzegovina in every possible way throughout its years of tragedy. We are now a prominent supporter of its State-building and reconstruction efforts. Our contributions to the wider area, within the context of the Stability Pact, are also substantial. Effective State institutions and a self-sustaining economy will enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to benefit more efficiently from the resources made available to it.
The next speaker is the representative of Italy. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
First of all, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing today’s meeting, through which the Bangladesh presidency is helping make the Security Council more effective and fully consistent with the spirit and letter of Article 31 of the Charter, as well as of article 37 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council.
The international community’s success in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a fundamental test for the region as a whole. As Carl Bildt recalled, the only way to address crisis areas is through a regional approach. The Permanent Representative of Portugal has already effectively described the central role that the European Union plays in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Italy fully endorses his statement. I would like to add that, last July, Sarajevo became the location of the summit that launched the Stability Pact, an ambitious project that involves the countries of the region in an economic and political reconstruction policy aimed at their complete integration into the European context.
The key objective of my statement today is integration — a discussion of integration against the background of still-active forces of disintegration. I would like to emphasize that there are two paramount goals: integration within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into its natural geopolitical context, which is that of Europe.
Thus far, the forces of disintegration have prevailed, fomented by what Nobel laureate John Hume has called the seeds of war. New outside enemies have been invented for the sake of keeping power inside societies, and this trend must now be reversed. Diversity must no longer be seen as a threat. Recent developments in Croatia have moved precisely in the right direction and shown the way.
Allow me to describe some of the priorities of the Italian Government in pursuing these goals. On the domestic integration front, we are strongly involved in two key sectors: justice and military cooperation. As regards justice, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina led Italy, in 1993, to present the draft statute of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The first President of the Tribunal was an Italian citizen, magistrate and judge, Antonio Cassese. In Rome in 1998, Italy also sponsored the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Now, while awaiting completion of the signing and ratification process, we are actively promoting the work of the Court’s Preparatory Commission, aimed at defining aggression and the rules of procedure, and we applaud the commitment in particular of the Bosnian delegation to this end.
The other aspect is that of the armed forces. Pursuant to the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement and the New York Declaration, we can also make a concrete contribution to the integration of the armed forces in that country. The armed forces still in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be transformed from divisive elements into forces for internal and external integration. Inter-entity military cooperation can lead to the creation of joint units that will participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations elsewhere, in other parts of the world. The Secretary-General’s report notes interesting progress in this regard, and Italy, for its part, has just invited a mixed battalion from Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of personnel from the three ethnic groups, to participate, together with a brigade of Italian paratroopers, in peacekeeping manoeuvres in Italian territory for two weeks. This will be the first test of joint exercises involving the different ethnic units of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In this context, it is also fitting to recall two initiatives in favour of the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into its natural European context. On 19 and 20 May this year, the city of Ancona will host a conference for the development and security of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The participants will include the leading officials of the European Union and the Foreign Ministers of Adriatic and Ionian countries, including, obviously, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an Adriatic country. Italian civil society has a long-standing commitment to the grass-roots integration of the region. An early example was the extensive programme of decentralized cooperation implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As further evidence, the Presidents of the regions of the Italian east coast will also be in Ancona.
The conference will focus on safeguarding the environment and water resources, navigation and cooperation, cultural and tourist cooperation and the fight against crime, which comes from across the Adriatic and is a threat to law and order in my country, too. Criminality and corruption squeeze economic growth and block private international investment. A commitment to this sector would thus foster both the domestic growth of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its international integration.
We must underline the fact that Italy considers with great interest the observation in the report of the Secretary-General on UNMIBH’s need for more security in order for it to be more efficient in its police and judiciary functions. In this regard, I must recall the special professional background of the Italian corps of carabinieri engaged in the country, who have a dual professional profile, acting as both policemen and soldiers. They have been placed in the International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, above all, in the multinational specialized unit of the Stabilization Force, in Kosovo and in other regions of the world.
Finally, culture and education also deserve a focus in the efforts of integration. To this end, a cultural initiative is being organized by the Italian Government in collaboration with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and with the universities of Sarajevo and of Rome. It will take the form of a seminar, hosted in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and devoted to the role of universities in humanitarian assistance and the peace process in crisis areas. This will be a great occasion to underline that culture, and universities in particular, are the best way to build bridges of peace.
And speaking of bridges, in conclusion, we cannot forget that the pseudo-culture of disintegration has led to the destruction of the Mostar bridge, which was a unique testimony to the dialogue of culture among civilizations. In this context, the reconstruction of the bridge is emblematic of the rebirth of the city of Mostar, a development that should rightly spur efforts in other areas of the city and of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At this point, I would like to thank in particular the colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Germany, Turkey and Italy for their very kind words addressed to me and my country.
I shall now give the floor to Mr. Annabi to respond to some of the comments and questions raised. Of course, I shall also offer the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina the floor to respond to any questions to which he may wish to respond.
There have been several questions linked to the expected completion of the judicial system assessment programme by the end of this year. As is indicated in the report of the Secretary-General, it is indeed our expectation that this programme can be completed by the end of this year; in other words, what will be completed will be the judicial assessment programme. Judicial reform, of course, will have to continue. That is more of a long-term process, which is under the overall responsibility of the High Representative. Should the High Representative turn to the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), as he did in the case of the judicial assessment programme, and request its assistance in the field of judicial reform, such a request would of course have to be considered and discussed with all concerned, including the members of the Council. We would come back to the Council in due course if that should happen.
We see the judicial assessment activities of UNMIBH as being separate from its general mandate, which is the implementation of annex 11 of the Dayton Agreement. The general mandate of UNMIBH is not, in our view, restricted to police, but also covers — as indicated in annex 11 — monitoring, observing and inspecting judicial organizations, structures and proceedings. This mandate existed before UNMIBH became involved in judicial assessment, before judicial assessment was added to the tasks of UNMIBH. It will of course continue to exist once the judicial assessment programme is completed.
There have also been several questions on a possible exit strategy for UNMIBH. In this regard, I want to point out that the present report of the Secretary-General is only a progress report. In three months’ time there will be another report, which will be an end-of-mandate report and which will take stock of the situation in a more comprehensive manner and take a more forward-looking approach in which it will be our intention to provide UNMIBH’s plans and recommendations for future action.
There have also been several questions on the State Border Service, and in particular on the calendar for its establishment and on its funding. As I indicated in my briefing, the structure of the State Border Service has now been agreed by the Joint Presidency, and we therefore hope that this can move forward. Under the revised timetable foreseen for the setting up of the Border Service, it is envisaged that a headquarters and four units will be established by mid-July. Those four units would be responsible for controlling border entry at Sarajevo airport, which is now under Federation control; at Buljanie, which is currently under Bosnian Croat control; at Zvornik, which is currently under Bosnian Serb control; and at Izacic, which is now under Bosniac control. It is envisaged that to perform those activities a total of some 300 officers and personnel will be needed. Ninety of them have already been trained, with the generous cooperation of the Government of Austria. Training for another 180 is now being planned.
With regard to funding, UNMIBH has been successful in ensuring that the State Border Service will be treated as a separate line item in the budget prepared by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will ensure that interested donors — and we understand that there are quite a few — will have a clear picture of the costs of the Border Service and of the use of the funds that will be made available to support the establishment and functioning of the Service.
There was also a question about the suggestion by UNMIBH, in the context of the Stability Pact, regarding the establishment of a South-East European Police Staff College. This is only a suggestion by UNMIBH. Such a college could be established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or elsewhere. We feel that the funding would need to be provided through the Stability Pact mechanisms and that the members of the Stability Pact would also have to assign an implementing agency for this regional staff college. We do not, however, see UNMIBH as the sponsor or the implementing agency for the staff college.
Finally, there was a question regarding the linkages between the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region, in particular Kosovo and Croatia. There is no doubt, of course, that — as the Ambassador of France has said — progress in some areas, and perhaps in many areas in UNMIBH and in Bosnia, is linked to improvement in the overall political and economic situation in the wider region, as the Secretary-General has indicated in his report. It is in this context that the Secretary-General has welcomed the pledge by the newly elected Government in Croatia to respect the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to cooperate with its people and with the international community in what it is trying to achieve there.
The Secretary-General, in this context, has asked his Special Envoy for the Balkans, Mr. Carl Bildt, in consultation with the other Special Representatives in the region, to reflect on some of these interlinkages. As has been mentioned by at least one member of the Council, Mr. Bildt will be preparing a report on some of these issues, and we will have more to say about them at that time.
I thank Mr. Annabi for his response, and I give the floor to the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Frankly, I think that the comments made by Mr. Annabi accomplish most of the task of answering the questions. I should like simply to make a few observations.
The process of implementing the Border Service is still under way. I think it would be accurate to say that the difficulties in reaching an agreement and in mustering the political will necessary for some to agree obviously may be reflected in the implementation process, so it will be important to be vigilant. I am afraid that, if I say anything more, I will violate my neutrality.
Secondly, regarding the budget, it may be appropriate to kick-start some of the financial requirements with respect to the Border Service, and I thank countries like Austria and others that have helped us in this way. However, Dayton also envisioned a sharing of the resources stemming from customs revenues, and this ultimately should be more than enough to cover the budgetary demands of the Border Service. The difficulty right now is that the resources of the central Government are so limited. Most of the resources that come to the central Government do so through the entities, so of course the central Government has at times found itself to be the object of the goodwill of the entities.
I think that one point on which we should expand a little bit more, because it is a direct responsibility of the Security Council, is the Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP). How does it continue? The truth is that it is a long-term process. I would like to emphasize here not only the issue of making a change in methodology but also that of addressing the institutional problem. Unfortunately, the Dayton Accord apparently — and I emphasize the word “apparently” — has left us with an institutional vacuum, which is an important factor in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into European institutions. Bosnia and Herzegovina does not yet have a link with the appropriate European courts, and particularly a court of human rights, that would allow cases to proceed from the local level all the way up to the level of the court in Strasbourg. That is because Bosnia and Herzegovina does not currently have a centralized judicial system, except for one narrowly defined court, the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which generally does not handle these types of cases. We would ask JSAP, therefore, to take a look at this problem and see how we can move ahead with this process.
Finally, it is absolutely true that the regional situation has an impact on Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is very important for us to see further progress in the region, particularly in Belgrade, towards a commitment to cooperation and peace. At the same time, I would also be very careful not to view the region as one indistinguishable mess. Clearly it is possible to make progress in one area in Bosnia and Herzegovina when perhaps things do not appear to be going quite so well in some other regions. It is certainly not accurate to depict the region as being somehow characterized by various ethnic hatreds or even various ethnic compositions. One situation varies very significantly from the other. I think when we talk of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ethnicity should be the last consideration in our dialogue. Rather, it is a matter of making sure that the resources, the methodology and, of course, the political will exist. I think the ethnic factor will be, as I said, one of our advantages and one of our resources, rather than one of our obstacles.
I will be brief. I should like to thank Mr. Annabi for his comments on the Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP). We understand, of course, the specific functions outlined in the mandate of resolution 1247 (1999) with regard to judicial reform. However, the United States still believes that “inspect, observe and monitor” will not allow adequate implementation of the JSAP reports and recommendations. Therefore we look forward to hearing from Mr. Annabi or from the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) about plans on how the work in this sector could be divided among those involved — that is, UNMIBH and perhaps organizations like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which might enjoy a somewhat broader mandate in this area.
There are no other speakers on my list.
I believe that we have had a very useful debate on this subject. We very much appreciate the briefing and update given by Mr. Annabi on the report of the Secretary-General. A few points emerged quite prominently from the debate.
Council members welcome the report of the Bosnia Joint Presidency concerning the implementation of the New York Declaration of 16 November 1999 and urge all parties to redouble their efforts to implement the outstanding commitments that remain to be fulfilled.
The members also urge those concerned to ensure without further delay the integration of the Ministry of Interior as well as the integration of the chain of command and communication systems of the police throughout the Federation and in particular in Mostar. The Council members look forward to a report from the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) on compliance with these requirements as soon as possible.
Council members also urge all parties, in particular the Republika Srpska authorities, to increase the number of minority police officers, in accordance with their obligations.
These are the points which I believe came out prominently in the discussion today.
Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.