Security Council meeting 4379-Resu.1

Date21 September 2001
S-PV-4379-Resu.1 2001-09-21 15:10 21 September 2001 [[21 September]] [[2001]] /

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Letter dated 14 September 2001 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2001/868)

The meeting was resumed at 3.10 p.m.
Mr. Mejdoub (Tunisia)

I will follow the example of the three speakers who spoke before me earlier this afternoon and be as brief as possible.

Tunisia wishes to thank Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein for their statements and welcomes the positive developments in the overall situation, which promote inter-ethnic reconciliation and which are laying the foundations for stable, democratic institutions for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are a few recent and salient points that I should like to raise regarding developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina that we feel are of particular importance.

The first point is the adoption of the election law. This is a decisive stage which, because of its nature and its symbolic value, opens the way to ethnic reconciliation and is preparing Bosnia and Herzegovina for a pluralistic and truly democratic political life, with a view to integration in the European process.

We also welcome the establishment of a Consultative Partnership Forum that brings together the Office of the High Representative and the Council of Ministers. This forum will be a place for consultation and coordination, with a view to guiding the decision-making process in the direction of the best interests of all of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Secondly, I turn to economic reform, which plays an important role in ensuring the success of the entire operation undertaken to date by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, economic growth engenders social well-being, which in turn leads to constructive activities. We believe, therefore, that in rebalancing the budget account should be taken of the social aspect of this question. It is also urgent to seek structural solutions to the problem of unemployment. Indeed, the creation of employment can strengthen social coherence and facilitate ethnic reconciliation.

Thirdly, we welcome the positive results achieved in the field of judicial reform. It is vital that the judiciary be independent, impartial and non-discriminatory with respect to the entire Bosnian population. Defendants must be firmly convinced that judges are neutral. It is in this spirit that we welcome the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two entities that are responsible for the appointment of judges and prosecutors.

The fourth point concerns the return of minority communities. This is the true indicator of the success of the entire operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are pleased that, in the first half of 2001, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of returning minority members.

Fifthly, Tunisia attaches particular importance to reform and to the modernization of the educational system, whose ultimate goal is to promote tolerance and inter-ethnic dialogue. We welcome the adoption of a shared strategy for the modernization of education, and we encourage the parties to continue their efforts to fully implement the reform. The same applies to the inter-religious dialogue, whose revitalization the High Representative rightly called for.

In conclusion — and I promised that I would be brief — I should like to say that, in spite of all of the successes that have been achieved in various fields, we believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to require solid support from the international community. That support is vital in order to strengthen the entire structure. We reiterate our position that any premature disengagement would bear clear risks for the entire region. It is essential to devise a careful exit strategy for any disengagement, taking into account the overall situation in the Balkans and the capacity of Bosnia and Herzegovina to handle its own affairs.

Mr. Ryan (Ireland)

We welcome Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch and thank him for his informative briefing on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We commend his excellent work in implementing the Dayton-Paris Agreement, as outlined in his most recent report.

We welcome also Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, and we pay tribute to the work of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the International Police Task Force (IPTF). Its achievements in reforming and restructuring the law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the police, are impressive indeed.

Mr. Klein’s report on progress in the Mission’s overall work programme is heartening. However, we note carefully his concerns in some areas, including inadequate support for the police force.

As Ireland subscribes fully to the statement which will be delivered shortly by the Permanent Representative of Belgium on behalf of the European Union, I will highlight a few points of particular national interest.

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement, considerable progress has been achieved in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr. Petritsch’s corroboration today in this regard is very encouraging. Problems continue in some areas, however, and it is important that all relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina push ahead with serious political, human rights and rule of law reform in order to improve the conditions of all the people of the country.

Economic reform is particularly important to redress the difficulties with economic revitalization, industrial production and unemployment, and with discrepancies between the two entities. Such reform will strengthen the capacity of the country for self-sustainability and help it to fulfil the conditions outlined in the European Union Road Map for moving towards full European integration.

In this regard, the adoption of the electoral law and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with countries of the region were very positive developments.

We recognize that significant progress has been made regarding refugees and internally displaced persons, and we welcome the recent initiatives that have been taken in this regard. However, further work is necessary on this issue and on implementing property rights law, both of which are central to the normalization and stability of the region.

Similarly, although we are heartened by progress in relation to human trafficking and illegal migration, we are concerned about residual problems, which have obvious implications for stability, not just in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, but in the wider region.

Finally, Ireland is convinced that the democratization and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina is essential to overall stability in the Balkans. The successful achievement of a multi-ethnic society there will encourage multi-ethnicity elsewhere.

We believe it is essential to continue with a regional approach, and we urge all those concerned to contribute to the strengthening of inter-State relations.

I agree very much with Mr. Petritsch that Bosnia and Herzegovina must not for any reason be allowed to become a weak link in the regional chain. At the same time, we believe that the international community should continue to be involved in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is essential that we intensify our focus on the nature and shape of that future involvement. We need to look forward — 5, 10, 20 years from now — and decide, in a coordinated manner, what role the various bodies of the international community can, and should, play. In that regard, we welcome the work of Mr. Petritsch with the Bosnian authorities, the Peace Implementation Council and international organizations; as well as the very telling comments about streamlining made today by Mr. Klein, which are very much in line with our own thinking.

I fully agree with Mr. Petritsch that we are not in search of an exit strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are indeed working toward an entry strategy in the context of the wider European dynamic. Ireland believes that the integration process with the European Union is of vital importance in that regard. As a member of the European Union, we will remain fully involved in that process.

Mr. Ward (Jamaica)

We also join others in welcoming High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch and Special Representative Jacques Paul Klein, who are here with us today. We thank them for their useful briefings on the latest developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We take note of the progress that has been made since the last report of the Secretary-General, including the consolidation of State institutions, the passing of the Election Law, economic progress and the return of refugees.

It is clear that, politically, there have been advances in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The different entities are working together in a spirit of compromise for the benefit of their country. We commend the consolidation of State institutions and the strengthening of competencies, which have given the people of this territory greater control over their decision-making process. The passing of the Election Law has been highlighted as one of the recent successes and is evidence that the political structure can be effective. There are problems that result from nationalistic forces, which must still be overcome, and that affect the smooth functioning of the Government and the climate of stability. We hope that, with time, the concept of an integrated Bosnia and Herzegovina will be accepted by all, and that the way will be cleared for even further progress.

We note that further economic growth and economic reform are priority goals for the future. It is important that every effort be made to encourage industrial growth, foreign and domestic investment, and a reduction of the extremely high unemployment rate. We support efforts to expand regional trade, as the economic benefits to be gained from such an expansion could be significant.

With greater progress and stability comes greater emphasis on the European integration process. This is important to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the region as a whole. We note that the pace of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s participation in the European integration process remains disappointing. We encourage the High Representative to continue to lay the groundwork for the attainment of that long-term goal.

The challenge now facing Bosnia and Herzegovina is reconciliation — true reconciliation, where all the people are of the view that the wrongs of the past have been righted. There seems to be an undercurrent of ethnic tension remaining in the territory. Political rivalry among ethnic groups continues despite attempts to promote integration. The pace of progress is being hampered by the continued promotion of national and ethnic differences. Every effort to reduce tensions must be pursued. We welcome the measures currently being undertaken.

We note that the prosecution of those responsible for the atrocities committed in Srebrenica has begun. We hope that justice will prevail and that this process will help with reconciliation efforts and bring ethnic groups closer together. We note the cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by the political leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the exception of the Republika Srpska, and by other Governments in the Balkans. We urge further cooperation as part of the process of reconciliation. It would be useful to hear from Mr. Petritsch about his perception of the political and social impact of the recent ICTY decision finding Radislav Krstic guilty of genocide in the Srebrenica massacre.

The number of returns in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very encouraging. We note the High Representative’s observation that the legal framework for property possession and return in Croatia remains a key to unlocking cross-border returns between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The establishment of an entity dedicated to returns is something we fully support, as well as regional initiatives. A coordinated approach to refugee returns is something that perhaps should be pursued. Could Mr. Petritsch provide a breakdown of the numbers of returning refugees by ethnic grouping?

We are extremely concerned about the grim pictured sketched out by Mr. Klein with respect to civil policing and the rule of law. Undoubtedly, a credible justice system and the rule of law are basic, indispensable elements for laying the foundation for stability in any civilized society. We are disturbed by the seeming lack of cooperation by political leaders. The efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reform the police and to fight criminal activities are to be supported and encouraged.

Jamaica continues to support the work of the High Representative, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Stabilization Force aimed at establishing a firm foundation for effective and sustainable democracy.

Mr. Shen Guofang (China)

At the outset, we would like to thank the High Representative, Mr. Petritsch, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Klein, for their detailed briefing today.

Since the Security Council last considered this issue, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole has continued to be stable. Some positive developments have taken place in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has continued to score achievements in restructuring law enforcement bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly the police. We are pleased with all these accomplishments.

At the same time, we believe that peace and rebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina still face enormous challenges. The international community still has daunting tasks before it. First, as in grave situations in other areas of the Balkans, the promotion of national reconciliation is still the most urgent task in rebuilding Bosnia and Herzegovina and restoring peace and stability in the region. We hope that the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina will make further efforts to ease social conflict and remove ethnic distrust so as to create favourable conditions enabling the various ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina to dedicate themselves to economic reconstruction at an early date.

Secondly, we have noted that there has been progress in the return of refugees, particularly refugees from minority groups. However, there is still much work to be done. In this regard, it is our hope that the measures referred to by Mr. Petritsch will be effective in strengthening security and safety in areas where ethnic minorities live, in finding a reasonable solution to property disputes, and in guaranteeing the provision of basic infrastructure and public services.

Thirdly, China appreciates the important and constructive role played by the various bodies of the international community in the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Like Mr. Klein, we believe that it is only by further strengthening coordination and improving the division of labour that efficiency can be improved. We have taken note of the fact that, in compliance with the recommendations of the High Representative, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board has met and decided to adopt a phased approach to facilitating this process, in strict accordance with the functions and mandates of various bodies.

We expect this process to yield more results at an early date, as a result of the joint efforts of all the parties concerned.

Mr. Gatilov (Russia)

We are closely following the developments in the political and overall situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In our view, what is most important now is to ensure stability in the country and in each of its entities. Today, this is the most important prerequisite for making progress in the peace process. The foundation for stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still the Peace Accords, and their potential is far from exhausted.

The realities of today are such that any erosion of the Dayton structures will inevitably lead to a strengthening of centrifugal tendencies. We believe that the international community must continue to strive to ensure full and non-selective implementation of the Dayton Accords. Despite difficulties in normalizing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina — Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein both spoke about this — the international structures cannot and must not take the place of legally elected organs of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the two entities.

The bringing into force of important laws through a decision of the High Representative is possibly necessary, but it is not the best possible way of encouraging State-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A solid foundation for statehood in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be built only through the patient search by the people of the country themselves for mutually acceptable solutions. To that end, the representatives of both entities must demonstrate greater willingness to cooperate. They must make compromises, and they must find within themselves the strength to rise above narrow ethnic interests for the benefit of achieving Bosnia-wide interests.

We believe that priority at this stage should be given to establishing the normal functioning of State structures and organs of authority at all levels and to continuing work on the legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and establishing a single economic area. Progress here would make possible real movement towards achieving the main goal of the international community in that country: the establishment of conditions so that the political forces of the country can independently secure stability, democracy and economic, social and cultural development, and so that they can become integrated into the European structures.

We believe that it is only by developing and strengthening comprehensive cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and countries in South-East Europe, and, primarily, by establishing good-neighbourly relations with Croatia and Yugoslavia, that one can achieve stability over the long term in the country and in the region as a whole.

Against that backdrop, we attach great importance to the agreement on the establishment of the Inter-State Council for Cooperation, achieved during a visit by the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Belgrade in May of this year. Such steps to establish mechanisms for solving specific problems that have accumulated in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would establish the basis for a system of good-neighbourly ties, which is so essential to the entire Balkan region.

We also believe that a swift ratification of the Agreement on Special Parallel Relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republika Srpska, which is linked to the Dayton Agreement, would give new momentum to broadening and deepening bilateral ties between Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and would help to stabilize the situation in the region.

We are also worried about the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would like to stress once again that we are against attempts to establish a single army because this runs counter to the Peace Accords and to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which issues relating to defence are left to the discretion of the entities. Attempts to ram this process through would be counterproductive and could disrupt the rather fragile balance of political stability, which, in the last few years, has begun to emerge in the relationship between the Serbs on the one hand, and the Bosniacs and Croats on the other.

We were pleased to hear what Mr. Petritsch said about the attempt to step up the rate of return of refugees and displaced persons. However, the rate at which this is happening is still inadequate. Over a million people have not returned home to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Efforts by the international community must be geared towards further help for the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities in establishing guarantees for the security of returnees and in solving matters relating to where they can go, particularly in the Republika Srpska.

In order to properly redress the situation relating to a Bosnian settlement, it is necessary to have real structural changes in the way the international community is operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We believe that the plan proposed by the High Representative for restructuring the international civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina could be used as a starting point for further discussion on this matter within the context of the Peace Implementation Council.

The main goal of such a restructuring must be to enhance effectiveness, to do away with any lack of harmonization or any duplication in the work of the international bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to move away from the practice of micromanaging the Bosnian authorities at all levels and to reduce expenditures and the number of staff.

One of the priorities in this whole process is, we believe, defining the criteria for the implementation of the mandates of the international missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina clearly defining the stages for the transfer of responsibility for the situation in the country from them to the Bosnians themselves.

Russia, for its part, will continue to provide every possible assistance to the establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, multi-ethnic State consisting of two equal and full-fledged entities, the Republika Srpska and the Bosnian Federation. We will continue to make a constructive contribution to resolving issues still pending on the agenda for a Bosnian settlement.

Mr. Kolby (Norway)

I would like to reiterate Norway’s appreciation for the efforts of High Representative Petritsch, of Special Representative Klein and of the women and men working with them to implement the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Norway will continue to support their activities, including in priority areas of economic reform, refugee return and consolidation of State institutions. We welcome the progress made in these areas.

But we must recognize that progress has been incremental, not fundamental. This is not because of a lack of effort on the part of the international community. Norway is but one of many countries that have been steadfast contributors of personnel and resources to the peace process. Almost six years after Dayton, it is high time that the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its entities assume their share of responsibility for developing a peaceful, multi-ethnic and democratic society. It is high time that all Bosnian politicians follow the paths taken by the democratic leaderships in Belgrade and Zagreb, put the past of destructive nationalism behind them and prepare for the only viable future: regional cooperation and European integration.

There are encouraging signs: the election of new non-nationalist leaders who could show the way forward; the adoption of a new Election Law; the substantial increase in minority returns; and the steps taken to improve cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. At the same time, the economic situation is critical. Growth rates are plummeting. Emigration is increasing. This situation is not sustainable. Bosnian leaders must implement the economic reforms drawn up by the international community without delay.

Nationalist forces on all sides are still preventing reforms and returns and inciting violence. Norway condemns attempts by Croat nationalists to establish a Croat entity within Bosnia. We condemn the ethnic violence in places like Mostar and Banja Luka. Sustained national and international efforts are needed to undermine the negative forces and support the reformists.

In order to succeed, we must ensure better coordination among the international organizations active in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The United Nations, the High Representative, the Stabilization Force and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe all have important roles to play and we must ensure that they do not compete, but complement each other. Norway supports a streamlining of the international presence in Bosnia.

Regional stability is indivisible. We must avoid a piecemeal approach. Developments in Bosnia cannot be seen in isolation from events taking place in the wider Balkan region. On the contrary, neighbouring States have a crucial role to play in making possible a viable, multi-ethnic and unified Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The international community and the Security Council must continue to focus on supporting democratic forces and preventing extremists from creating further conflicts in the region at large. In this way, we will promote political stability and economic growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr. Ahsan (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh appreciates the role played by High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch in an exceedingly difficult and complex mission. His briefing this morning traced the difficulties faced and the challenges ahead.

We also thank Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for his comprehensive statement and for sharing with us his perception about the present situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The overall situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains stable. However, some issues need to be addressed. First, with respect to institution-building, the consolidation of institutions is one of the main priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have noted the progress and the difficulties in strengthening the state institutions and in creating an independent judiciary. These are very much part of the core agenda of the country. The judicial and prosecutorial appointment process should be improved to ensure that appointments are conducted according to objective and transparent criteria and based on proper professional qualifications and procedures. Both are indispensable if the rule of law is to be established uniformly across the Federation. We agree in this regard with the comments made by the Special Representative on the efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding police and judicial reform.

We continue to believe that the Republika Srpska has an obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. There are indicted criminals freely moving around the entity. Without the cooperation of its authorities, the indictees cannot be brought to justice.

Secondly, with respect to economic reforms, the increasingly dire economic situation, as exemplified by the recent downward re-evaluation of economic growth, is of some concern to us. The creation of a single economic space seems to have come to a standstill. Many short-sighted political considerations seem to have become dominant, culminating in the blockage of numerous laws, including European Union road-map issues, by one of the entities. Decisive and concrete steps towards the structural economic reforms so desperately needed to attract foreign investment and to create jobs must continue. This will need bold measures of reform to create investor confidence.

Thirdly, as to election laws, we welcome the recent adoption of the Election Law by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament. This will not only satisfy a considerable need for an organizational structure for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also demonstrate that the newly elected authorities are ready for compromise on essential matters.

Finally, the international community should continue to support the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sustainability. The international community has, however, invested a lot of effort and energy over the last six years and we sincerely believe that these efforts must continue. Failure to achieve the targets of institution-building and the rule of law will have repercussions throughout the region — a risk which we should make every effort to avoid.

The options presented by the Special Representative regarding streamlining point to the need for the international community to remain engaged. These options should be examined seriously in order to give necessary direction. We must recognize that the success of multi-ethnicity in Bosnia and Herzegovina is crucial to that country and the region. The continued support of the Security Council is important for peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the greater region.

Mr. Touré (Mali)

Like earlier speakers, I should like to welcome Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I thank them for the very detailed information they have just shared with us on the evolution of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Our meeting today, in the presence of the high United Nations officials responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Dayton/Paris agreements, gives us an opportunity to welcome the encouraging results achieved in that task, despite the many difficulties encountered along the way.

From a political standpoint, my delegation is pleased with the considerable efforts that have been made to resolve the thorny issues of ethnic reconciliation and the establishment of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this context, we welcome the adoption on 23 August of the Election Law after several years of unsuccessful attempts. The adoption of that Law was undoubtedly a decisive step taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina towards democratic governance and admission into the Council of Europe, as well as access to the European processes of integration. In order to achieve these political objectives, which are very important to my delegation, it is crucial that all the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina commit themselves fully and jointly to creating a democratic and multi-ethnic society.

From the economic perspective, my delegation feels that institutional reform must go hand in hand with economic restructuring that will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to rely on its own strength and internal resources. The private sector is the driving force of development and we therefore welcome and support the outstanding efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to revitalize that important sector. Because economic development is the best guarantor of peace, my delegation urges the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to persevere with the macroeconomic reform that has been undertaken and to cooperate with international financial institutions in order to integrate Bosnia and Herzegovina in European and Atlantic structures. In order to achieve these objectives, it is essential to engage in an unflagging struggle against corruption.

The establishment of an effective judiciary system that can distribute fair justice to the citizens is also a source of concern to my delegation. We welcome and encourage the efforts that have been made in the reform of the justice system and the human rights institutions. Everything must be done so that this new justice system can guarantee for all the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina their legitimate cultural and legal rights.

It is a fact that the continued presence of war criminals in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a serious curb on the establishment of peace and inter-ethnic reconciliation. We welcome the arrests that have already been made and encourage all States and Entities to do everything they can to track down and hand over to the international tribunal all those that are to blame. It is time for the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their cooperation with the International Criminal Court.

From a humanitarian standpoint, we note with interest the return of many minority citizens to their homes. This important wave of return is to be encouraged. Every effort must be made in order to come to their assistance and to punish severely those who are guilty of acts of violence against these minorities.

Lastly, my delegation reaffirms its support for the considerable efforts made by the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) in the framework of the implementation of the general framework agreement for peace in that country. As we see it, the stabilizing role played by UNMIBH is vital for the consolidation of peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr. Valdivieso (Colombia)

I want to reiterate the welcome that has been expressed to Mr. Petritsch, the High Representative, and to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Klein. We want to thank them for the information that they have brought to us. Through their statements and the report, we can see that there is a combination of positive and negative events that demonstrate how complex it is to implement the Dayton Accord.

This also shows the kind of commitment that the international community still must have. The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in the resolve of its leaders to persevere on the path that has been designed by the international community in order to strengthen the reforms on the policies that are necessary for the internal stability of the country.

This means that the country will have a more active role in the community of nations and that it will be possible for it to progress towards regional integration. The international community must continue to give its assistance in this process, but there must be a steady change in the role that has been played by it thus far. From being an actor within the process of reform and stabilization, it must become an observer. Of course, the most difficult thing is to determine the appropriate time to effect that change.

We want to highlight a few of the elements that were mentioned by Mr. Petritsch and by Mr. Klein that underscore the achievements and the challenges ahead. First of all, in the political field, we note the adoption of the Election Law by the Parliamentary Assembly. That law makes it possible for Bosnia and Herzegovina to begin to reform through democratic processes the political attitudes of the past.

We are, however, concerned about the refusal of the authorities of the Republika Srpska to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal. We hope that the draft law of cooperation, which is to be considered by the National Assembly, will be adopted in the near future to ensure that the cooperation that has thus far existed on the part of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be extended to the Republika Srpska.

We also want to underscore the increase in the number of minority persons that have been returning in recent months. We hope that the required policies will be adopted at the state level and between the Entities so as to ensure an increase in those numbers. We also welcome the regional programmes adopted by the Government of Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, because these measures will facilitate the adoption of lasting solutions to the problems of refugees.

Lastly, we wish to mention the need to improve the demining programme. We know from the report that one of the problems is the lack of funds. For that purpose it is necessary for the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase their own internal contribution. It is alarming that in five years only 12 per cent of high-risk areas have been examined and only 7 per cent of the land has been cleared of mines. It will therefore be up to the competent authorities to take action in order to have a more active programme in operation, ensuring the cooperation of the international community.

Mr. Gokool (Mauritius)

I join others in thanking Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch for briefing us today and also for his report, which has given us a fairly good idea of the progress that has so far been made in the implementation of the peace accords. My delegation also thanks Mr. Jacques Paul Klein for his valuable update on the situation prevailing in the country and his proposals for the future status of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Whatever decision is taken, it should eventually take into account the situation on the ground and reduce duplication of work. We note that the overall situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains generally under control. However, we are concerned that ethnic tension still persists in some parts of the country. We appreciate the work being carried out by the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) personnel to fulfil the mandate as efficiently as possible and enforce the rule of law and order in the country. We are convinced that by the end of next year, when the mandate of the Mission ends, the local police force will be well trained and equipped to carry out their duty professionally.

The rivalry that exists among different ethnic groups should not undermine the work of the police force. We believe that an efficient police force in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be possible only when there is cohesion among its members. With a view to achieving this goal, all communities should be fairly represented in the police.

A safe and secure environment will not prevail unless the offenders are brought to justice under an impartial judicial system in which the population has faith. We welcome the efforts by the office of the High Representative to reform the judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina in this regard. We hope that the Independent Judicial Commission will improve the quality and efficiency of the judicial system. We also call on the political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina not to interfere with the process and to respect the Memorandum of Understanding that regulates the appointment of judges and prosecutors.

At the same time, we call on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and hand over all the indictees for trial by The Hague Tribunal. We appreciate that the Republika Srpska authorities have taken measures to cooperate with the ICTY in this regard.

Another issue that seems to plague the country is the problem of accommodation and property repossession following the increased return of refugees and displaced persons to Bosnia and Herzegovina. There seems to be no organized approach to the reconstruction of the housing units and people who are returning to their homes after a long period are facing difficulties in repossessing their property. Welcoming amendments made by the High Representative to the property laws in both Entities, we hope that the repossession of pre-war property will be facilitated as soon as possible.

In order for other Bosnians to return to their home, the issue of property needs to be addressed as soon as possible, together with other related problems, such as the provision of education, social services and employment. We are fully aware that the Bosnian economy is in bad shape for the time being, and that it needs the support of the donors to revitalize the country and put it back on its feet. In this regard, we therefore call on the international community not to lessen its resolve to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in its economic reconstruction and development efforts. We also call on all parties to cooperate with each other in the vital area of national reconstruction.

My delegation notes with satisfaction that the Office of the High Representative is helping to improve conditions for new investment in the country. We hope that the authorities in Bosnia fulfil their commitment to implement the reforms suggested by the Foreign Investment Advisory Service.

With the new proposals of the High Representative on the ways and means to consolidate the implementation process of the Peace Agreement, we have no doubt that the rule of law, good governance, democracy and human rights will be guaranteed and protected in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Finally, Mauritius commends the work of all the people of the UNMIBH, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Stabilization Force, the Office of the High Representative and others who are striving in difficult situations to achieve peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr. Mahbubani (Singapore)

First of all, let me join my colleagues in thanking both Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein for their presentations. I am truly sorry that I missed Mr. Klein’s presentation. I had the good fortune of listening to him speak at a seminar in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago where he was really sparkling, and I am sure that he was equally sparkling here.

Before we get into substance, I would like to raise a small point of procedure. I was wondering whether we could try, just as we are trying to do in the informal consultations, to have an understanding that, when we are to have briefings on various subjects, it would be helpful if the briefer could circulate a fact sheet, giving us the main factual points, and then perhaps the briefing could concentrate on the qualitative aspects, instead of the quantitative aspects of the briefing.

Members may recall that I suggested this view last week in the informal consultations. Since our time is unfortunately the most precious commodity we have, we can then concentrate on the big-picture issues and not necessarily on the small details. But perhaps, since the Council is going to convene the informal working group on procedures, we can deal with that too.

The question that came to my mind as I was listening to Mr. Petritsch was: In what direction exactly are we going? Here I noted the remark made by Ambassador Kolby. He obviously understood the briefing better than I did. He said that the progress is incremental and not fundamental. I think the questions we perhaps should ask ourselves are: Why is the progress incremental and not fundamental, and are we going to have a situation where every six months or every three months, when we come back to this issue, we will continue to see incremental progress only. If that is the case, what are the underlying causes for the slow incremental process of change?

As I was thinking of the question, I happened to be reading the transcript of what Mr. Petritsch said when he addressed the Council in March this year. I want to read just one paragraph of what he said:

“When it comes to the issue of ownership, it was very helpful when the representative of China pointed out that there is a certain tendency towards dependency. Early on, I called this the `dependency syndrome’, which we must be aware of: the local authorities depend too much on the international community. That was the reason why I put forward the concept of ownership, which is basically building awareness. This is a process; it will not happen overnight. Indeed, it is not happening overnight. But the new Government has, I believe, moved decisively closer to embracing my idea of ownership.” (S/PV.4303, page 26)

This is a verbatim transcript of what he said.

If that is the case, if the ownership is indeed being taken over by the participants in the peace process, can we then expect to see a faster pace of change, faster progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that Ambassador Kolby will not have to say that our progress is incremental, not fundamental?

Also, the advantage of speaking late is that most of the key points have been covered by our colleagues here. We endorse them. I just have three additional questions. I apologize, since I was not here all the time, if some of my colleagues have already posed them.

The first question concerns the state of slow progress of economic reforms. I understand that the World Bank has assessed that the growth rate of the Bosnian economy will decline if the country fails to implement economic reforms and attract foreign investment, and indeed, to quote our favourite in-house think tank, the International Crisis Group — ICG, it has warned that Bosnia and Herzegovina must press on with its transition to a market economy and urgently create a business-friendly environment to attract more foreign investors. The ICG also criticized the international community for being unbalanced in its role in Bosnia and Herzegovina by focusing on institution-building and not doing enough in the necessary microeconomic reforms. Here I wonder if Mr. Petritsch has any comments on this question.

The second question relates to the issue of refugee return. Refugee return is, of course, in some ways related to the overall process. It is, in some ways, a litmus test of how everything is going. I gather that, based on the number of refugee returns so far, this year’s total returns will be more than last year’s. This is a positive development. But there also continue to be problems. I am not sure whether other colleagues have raised this question, but if Mr. Petritsch could comment that might also be helpful.

The third and final question, which is in a sense the big question concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, is about the overall trend with regard to multi-ethnic harmony, and that ultimately, of course, is the determinant of how Bosnia and Herzegovina will evolve. It has been reported that many Bosnian Muslims welcomed the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague. They saw that as a positive development. But we gather that they will not be fully satisfied until the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzi, and his military commander, Ratko Mladi, are also handed over to The Hague. I am not sure what is happening on that front.

On the other hand, I gather that it has been reported that the Bosnian Serb Ministry of the Interior has filed criminal charges against nearly 3,000 Muslims and Croats suspected of committing war crimes against Serbs during the 1992-1995 war. But the Ministry of the Interior brought no charges against any Bosnian Serbs. So the question is: What impact are these developments — Milosevic’s extradition and the charges against the Muslims and Croats — having on the society and what impact are they having in terms of multi-ethnic relations, because we all acknowledge that it is the multi-ethnic dimension that will determine the final political evolution.

In conclusion, I must say that I join our colleagues in welcoming the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving closer to integrating itself into Europe. It is joining the Council of Europe, and we actually are very confident that as Bosnia and Herzegovina moves closer to Europe, through a process of osmosis the positive values that the Council sees in the rest of Europe will hopefully seep into Bosnia and Herzegovina and change the nature of the multi-ethnic fabric that we see in the society there.

The President

I will now speak in my national capacity.

I will speak briefly, particularly since Ambassador Jean De Ruyt will be speaking on behalf of the European Union. France, of course, will support everything he has to say.

I wish to thank Wolfgang Petritsch and Jacques Paul Klein for their statements, as well as for the work they have accomplished on the ground.

Since the changeover of political power in favour of a coalition of multi-ethnic modern parties, hope has reappeared in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the last few months, first steps have been taken towards reform, towards coming closer to Europe and towards the Bosnians taking charge of their own future. The adoption in late August, finally, of the Election Law was the most important indication of this.

More generally, we, like others, welcome the resolve expressed by Mr. Lagumdzija and his Government to maintain the momentum of reform. We hope that this momentum will be maintained over the long term, beyond the elections of October 2002.

Today, the priorities to us seem to be improving the functioning of institutions, economic reform, the strengthening of the judicial system and the fight against corruption.

There is still some cause for disappointment. I am thinking, in particular, about the draft legislation on the civil service that the Council of Ministers adopted in early September. As it stands, that draft legislation will not be able to guarantee protection for civil servants against political power. We encourage the Bosnian authorities to do what they can to build a modern State and a civil service governed by democratic principles that are incontestable. We believe this will be a key issue in the coming months.

At the economic level, we believe that the rate of reform must be accelerated. A single economic area must be established as soon as possible. Improving the political and social framework and taking strong action against corruption are prerequisites for attracting foreign investors and stimulating the spirit of enterprise among Bosnians.

I would now like to turn to the question of restructuring the international presence in Bosnia. The international community has asked the High Representative to formulate proposals, and the process is now fully under way, under his guidance and that of our friend Donald Hays. That work, however, is significantly behind schedule. It is thus even more important for the work to continue without delay, in close cooperation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as well as those in charge of other international agencies that have a presence in Sarajevo.

As the discussion in the Steering Board on 13 September showed, it will be necessary to give further thought to and update the international community’s objectives and time frames in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We believe that it is equally important to do a better job of identifying the essential functions of the international community in the future as the Bosnians themselves increasingly begin to take control of developments. The role of the Office of the High Representative will remain central throughout this process.

For its part, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is discharging its mandate in an impeccable manner. I would like to commend in particular the improved performance of the police, their increasing professionalism and the building of a State based on the rule of law.

In the spirit of the recommendations of the Brahimi report, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein has prepared a plan with a genuine exit strategy for the end of 2002. We believe, however, that there must be an international police presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina even after the mission of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) has come to an end. We look forward to receiving specific proposals from the Office of the High Representative by December about the various options for how the IPTF mission might continue. We noted with great interest the ideas and thoughts that were put forward, in particular by Mr. Jacques Paul Klein.

I now resume my functions as President of the Council.

I call on the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr. Zivalj (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

I would like, at the very outset, on behalf of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations and myself, to express my deepest condolences to the Ambassador of the United States of America, to the American people and especially to the families of the victims for recent terrorist acts, unparalleled in American and human history.

We Bosnians, who survived a four-year siege, strangulation, murders and atrocities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, express our sympathy, grief and sadness for the innocent people who were killed in such a cowardly manner.

As we are considering the twentieth report of the High Representative, I would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to the Security Council for all the efforts and endeavours that it has made in helping and assisting in the implementation of the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the same time, I would like to thank the High Representative, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, and Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for the comprehensive, eloquent and detailed briefings they presented today, and to express our sincere appreciation to them, as well as to members of their offices, for all the efforts undertaken, contributions made and work done in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In my statement, I will start with the positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After too long a period of negotiation, the election law has finally been approved. We therefore believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the right track towards becoming a member of the Council of Europe. The State Border Service is gaining ground in establishing control of over 70 per cent of the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is 1,600 kilometres long. Of course, we expect to cover the entire border as soon as possible. This is an extremely important issue for combating all kinds of illicit activity, especially drug smuggling, trafficking in human beings, illegal migration, corruption and so forth.

Furthermore, the State institutions are slowly, gradually strengthening. The level of refugee return is still far from satisfactory, but it is improving slightly in comparison with previous years. The detention of all indicted war criminals and full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is a very important precondition for facilitating the refugee return in minority areas. The presence of indicted war criminals in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a constant and unnecessary source of instability and fear, and represents a threat to the fragile peace and stability in our country.

It is of paramount importance that the Constitutional Court decision that all people are constituent on all the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina be fully implemented; that is not the case at the moment. Serbs are not constituent in the Federation, and Bosniacs and Croats are not constituent in Republika Srpska. The fulfilment of this requirement will give an additional boost to the realization of annex 7, one of the most important parts of the Dayton Peace Accords.

Furthermore, I would like to reiterate that the economy is by far the most important issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As we have pointed out in previous statements, we need the assistance of the international community to overcome the very painful transition from the former old-style centralized economy to a modern, free-market, regionally and globally oriented economy. We know that many issues have significant influence on the economy, and in that regard, we deeply appreciate the efforts of the Office of the High Representative concerning judiciary reform. Despite the very positive involvement of the international community in issues related to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am going to mention here a couple of unpleasant examples: the tender for the third licence for GSM — a telecommunications operator — and the establishment of the public broadcasting service. In spite of the fact that the international community has been in charge of the transformation of television in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a long time, it has so far failed to produce visible results. Accordingly, we are delighted with the proposal for a new kind of relationship between the Office of the High Representative and the Council of Ministers, based on shared responsibility and the establishment of a consultative partnership forum. That should avoid all possible misunderstandings.

As the international community is eager to see capable, well-educated and reliable persons in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we would also like to have, at all levels, representatives of the international community who are fully dedicated to the overall prosperity of our country.

We are fully aware that the only feasible approach to the difficulties we are facing is a regional approach. In that light, cooperation among the Republic of Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina has significantly improved, and we are witnessing numerous visits among those three countries by delegations at the highest level. Only if we see a significant improvement in mutual cooperation among the States of South-East Europe, combined with an unambiguous message from the European Union that we are going to be a part of it after having met certain criteria, can sustainable development, peace and stability in the Balkans be attained. Otherwise, the region will continue to be overburdened with ethnic conflicts, and the gap between the region and the rest of Europe will widen. We consider that the international presence, especially the United States presence, in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still indispensable to reintegrating a safe, stable, democratic and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In spite of all the obstacles ahead and some continuing negative trends, we are deeply convinced that respect for the rule of law has started to gain ground, and that Bosnia and Herzegovina will become a self-sustained democracy and a proud member of the European family.

The President

The next speaker is the representative of Belgium. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. De Ruyt (Belgium)

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and the countries of the European Free Trade Association belonging to the European Economic Area Iceland and Liechtenstein align themselves with this statement.

I should like first of all to thank the High Representative, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, for their detailed statements on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to reaffirm that they have the support of the European Union in their efforts to implement the Dayton and Paris Agreements.

The European Union warmly welcomed the 23 August adoption of an electoral law by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This marks the beginning of a new phase in redefining Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent, multi-ethnic State. Moreover, its adoption constitutes a step towards Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to membership of the Council of Europe as well as towards other European institutions, in the spirit of the road map drawn up at the European Union summit held at Zagreb in November 2000.

The European Union likewise welcomes the progress towards regional economic integration represented by the signing of a memorandum of understanding on trade liberalization by the ministers for international trade of seven countries of the region. We hope that implementation and further development of that agreement will make for a considerable improvement in the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, as Mr. Petritsch indicated, remains very difficult. We are particularly alarmed by the 40 per cent unemployment rate, which is a cause for more than mere disquiet.

I reiterate forcefully that we remain convinced that the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be improved by pursuing the aims set out in the European Union road map; we urge the authorities to take the necessary legislative measures to that end. We regret that only seven of the 18 points set out in the road map have been implemented to date.

We are deeply disappointed by the recent changes to the draft civil service law. In the view of the European Union, it no longer addresses the original objective, which was to set up an efficient, merit-based civil service. We consider that, as the legislation stands at present, all the international community’s hopes for an efficient and depoliticized civil service in Bosnia and Herzegovina have come to naught.

On the refugee question, we welcome the fact that the number of people from minority groups who are returning to the country is up compared with last year, and we urge the High Representative to continue his campaign to raise awareness among international, national and local institutions with a view to stepping up their cooperation in that regard.

The European Union has often stated how much importance it attaches to cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Here, we welcome draft legislation of the Republika Srpska on cooperation with the Court, because it will genuinely facilitate such cooperation and will send a clear message to the public that the Serb authorities will meet their obligations.

Concerning the future of the international community’s presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union appreciates and supports the comprehensive approach taken by the High Representative to recalibrating the current civilian implementation structure in the field. We now expect the High Representative to present a more detailed action plan in collaboration with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Nations and the international community.

On the question of the police, we welcome the remarkable efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reform and restructure the police and to prepare it to face the many challenges described by Mr. Klein.

The recent developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina provide an incentive to press ahead. Accordingly, the European Union strongly urges the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to continue the implementation of the European Union road map. We should like to stress once again that responsible political management and a total and immediate commitment to carrying out institutional, legal and economic reforms in full are essential prerequisites for speedy integration into European Union structures.

The President

I call now on Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch to respond to the comments made and the questions raised.

Mr. Petritsch (High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Let me start by saying how much I appreciate the continued interest of the Security Council and of its individual members in the affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular their interest in my Office and the work that it is trying to do with respect to peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Since the hour is late, I should like to respond quickly to some of the questions that were raised. First, the representative of Ukraine asked about the status of national minorities. I can say that there is a draft law on national minorities now before the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina for discussion. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in particular, along with my Office, is watching very carefully, and is consulting with the House of Representatives and the local authorities with regard to the content of the law. So I am expecting a positive outcome, an outcome that will be commensurate with European standards for minority rights.

Regarding the implementation of the Constitutional Court decisions, the approach taken by the international community was reflected in the June meeting of the political directors of the Steering Board, where it was basically said that what we are expecting is a symmetrical approach in the two entities, both in substance and in principle, to the implementation of those decisions and to the changes in the constitutions of the two entities.

I turn now to Jamaica’s question on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The Tribunal plays a very important, and lately also a very dynamic and proactive, role in Bosnia and Herzegovina — a very positive one — and I would say that it is important to stress that through the work of the Tribunal, guilt and responsibility are being individualized. It is not the Serbs, it is not the Croats, it is not the Bosniacs who are guilty. It is individuals, and that is a very important part of the work of the Tribunal, which will contribute enormously to an eventual reconciliation process, which is so necessary.

With respect to the Russian Federation’s concerns regarding the imposition of laws, I fully agree with the Ambassador. That is indeed a big problem when a too-forceful and too-robust approach is used. As he clearly indicated — and rightly so — it is necessary in order to overcome procrastination and in order to overcome — as it was put by the Ambassador or Norway and echoed in the statement made by the Ambassador of Singapore — this incremental rather than fundamental progress; therefore imposition from time to time is necessary.

However, at the same time, the concept of ownership, which I had put forward two years ago, is a necessary one. This indicates that we are looking forward to a more proactive approach on the part of the local authorities, which I think is now increasingly the case. This is what the international community wants to see, and I expect more legislation to be passed by the local authorities. The adoption of the election law is an excellent case in point.

Let me turn to some of the other issues that were put forward. Of course, the Kostic genocide case was a landmark decision, so to speak, because for the first time the issue of genocide was included in a verdict. That, of course, is indeed a very remarkable situation and gives the whole process a new quality, if I may say so.

Concerning the return of refugees, there is no breakdown according to ethnic communities, because we are intentionally not doing this kind of ethnic analysis after return. There are returns into areas in which the three constituent peoples constitute a minority that is not a minority as such – that is, either the Serb constituent people returning to the Federation, where they constitute a minority; or Croats and Bosniacs returning to Republika Srpska, where they, in turn, are faced with a minority situation.

However, with respect to these same constituent rights to which the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina has referred, it is a fact that since 11 January, through a decision which I took, the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina are constituent throughout the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That decision will, hopefully, be supplanted very soon by the constitutional amendments that are now being discussed and which, I hope, will be implemented in the course of the fall season, when politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be back in full swing.

Finally, I should like to underline what the representative of the United States said: that we need more than ever to instil a sense of urgency in the local authorities. That is why I urge the Council to support me in getting the message through to the local authorities that time is running out. There are other issues, there are other countries — neighbouring countries and countries in the region — and other regions that are coming to the fore and that urgently require attention from the international community.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a much more competitive situation now. Aid used to arrive more or less without any conditions; but that time is over now. Bosnia and Herzegovina now needs to compete with the region and the neighbouring countries for foreign investment. That is the only way forward. That needs to be understood very clearly by the local authorities and needs to be supported unanimously by the international community.

Regarding restructuring, I should like to point out that the reasons why we have broadened our approach also have to do with the fact that many United Nations agencies are already active in the region and, of course, in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. We also need to talk to them about what they can take on as their job, because, after the period of streamlining, many of the issues will remain unresolved and will need continued attention.

Let me give one example: that is the reason why I invited the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to be part of the streamlining exercise, because I believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is now in a phase in which UNDP in particular can help a lot when it comes to transition issues. These transition issues, of course, are very similar in other neighbouring countries, so the regional approach again is something that should come increasingly to the fore.

Yesterday I had an excellent meeting — the second in a couple of months — with the Associate Administrator of UNDP in order to discuss UNDP’s role in more detail. This is just an example; there are other agencies, of course — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and so on, and European agencies as well, which will in future play a larger role.

This is also an indication that Bosnia is normalizing. It is becoming more and more of a normal country, and that is, of course, very welcome.

In regard to the overall restructuring and streamlining process, let me just reiterate what the Steering Board pointed out at last week’s meeting concerning the action plan of the international community. This action plan will be very strict, inasmuch as it will include clear benchmarks and an assessment of matching multiyear funding requirements. It will be concrete, because it will identify core requirements and functions for the international community. It will recalibrate its mandates and additional tasks, and streamline its field presence. It will be inclusive, because it will include proposals on structural reforms aimed at the integration of the various international agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it will come up with a concrete vision for an end state. It will project a refocused and accelerated implementation period for 2002 to 2005; it will pay special attention to justice and home affairs; and it will present options for a follow-up police monitoring mission in due course.

The President

I thank Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch for his comments.

I give the floor to Mr. Jacques Paul Klein.

Mr. Klein (Special Representative of the Secretary-General)

To be very precise and specific on the issue of returns, returns are not inhibited by security issues. Overall positive security trends are there. The key problems with refugee returns are economic — that is, jobs — and cultural — that is, education, which the various ethnic communities demand.

With regard to the United Kingdom’s question on how quickly the State Border Service could be implemented, it could be implemented completely by next September, at the latest. I have a funding dilemma. I have 120 officers ready to deploy right now, but we do not have the funding for them. That is an issue I have no control over. There is a $12 million shortfall. If we get that, and I hope we will, it will be completed by next September.

The question of plans and time lines has been raised several times, by several members. We have found that the Mandate Implementation Plan has given all our people a sense of dedication and focus, and I recommend a similar approach to other national organizations. In other words, rather than having amorphous, open-ended benchmarks, which are often not met, the questions to be asked should be, “What is your mandate; what are your plans to achieve it; and what resources do you need?”

On the issue of war criminals, it is embarrassing and it concerns me as we deal with the issue of international terrorism. Mr. Karadzic has been free now for some five years. That basically demonstrates the impotence of the international community in the face of evil. His continued freedom emboldens hard-line Serbs to resist, it makes moderate Serbs cautious about engaging with us, and it undermines cooperation across the spectrum. He continues to be an albatross around our necks. It is a poison cloud that hovers over much of what we do. In my own province of Alsace we have an old proverb which goes something like this: if you have to swallow a frog there is not a whole lot to be gained by staring at it. We have stared at this frog for five years now, and I think we ought to get on with it.

I have in my Mission 95 nationalities. They are your citizens and your nationals. I assure you that they are doing excellent work and that you can be extremely proud of them. Sometimes the only thing I fear is that when historians write the history of this period 40 years from now, they will say that we in the international community and you, the members of the Council, cared more about the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina than their own leaders did.

The President

I thank Mr. Jacques Paul Klein for his brief comments.

We have come to the end of this long meeting. I would like, on behalf of the Council, to express my very warm thanks to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch and Mr. Jacques Paul Klein. All of us here have been able to appreciate the sometimes slow but steady progress that has been made day by day in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As we heard them speak we were also able to appreciate the role of two men in charge of ensuring, in their respective posts, that Bosnia and Herzegovina makes progress towards a European future, which is what we wish for it.

There are no other speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.

The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.
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