The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Letter dated 26 February 2002 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/209).
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Yingfan
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Expression of thanks to the retiring President
As this is the first meeting of the Security Council for the month of March, I should like to take the opportunity to pay tribute, on behalf of the Council, to His Excellency Mr. Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, for his service as President of the Security Council for the month of February 2002. I am sure that I speak for all members of the Council in expressing deep appreciation to Ambassador Aguilar Zinser for the great diplomatic skill with which he conducted the Council’s business last month.
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Letter dated 26 February 2002 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/209)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Spain, Ukraine and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 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. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Petritsch to take a seat at the Council table.
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. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Klein to take a seat at the Council table.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 1 March 2002 from the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations, which reads as follows.
“I have the honour, in my capacity as representative of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to request that Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security, be allowed to participate in the Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, 5 March 2002, on Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council.”
That letter has been published as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/2002/218. If I hear no objection, I shall take it that the Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 to Mr. Javier Solana.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I invite Mr. Javier Solana to take the seat reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
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 document S/2002/209, which contains the text of a letter dated 26 February 2002 from the Secretary-General, transmitting the report of the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Members of the Council also have before them document S/2002/221, which contains the text of a draft resolution prepared in the course of the Council’s prior consultations.
I welcome the presence at this morning’s meeting of the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, and I give him the floor.
Let me say how happy I am, Mr. Minister, to see you in the Chair and once again to welcome you to New York and to United Nations Headquarters.
This meeting signals an important moment of transition and consolidation in Bosnia. I would like to begin by paying tribute to the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, whose effective leadership helped secure the gains made by the international community over the last few years. I know he and my Special Representative, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, worked well together, and I want to thank him for that cooperation as well. I would also like to salute the tireless efforts of my friend Javier Solana towards maintaining the momentum for peace and reconciliation throughout the Balkans. His presence here today signals the priority that the European Union attaches to the future of Bosnia.
The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) is well on track to completing its core mandate by the end of 2002. I believe that the Council can be very satisfied with the work of UNMIBH as an advocate of reconciliation and as an agent of the rule of law — and, of course, with what it has achieved already. It has improved and integrated the police, while serving as a voice for coexistence, tolerance and cooperation at all levels of society. Through all those efforts, UNMIBH’s civilian and police officers have done much to give the people of Bosnia faith in a better, peaceful and united future.
Specifically, UNMIBH has transformed and reduced the police force from a 40,000-strong war-time militia to a 16,000-strong professional police force. In addition, each police officer has been trained in human rights; selected groups have been trained in drug control, organized crime and crowd control; two multi-ethnic police academies have been established, in Sarajevo and in Banja Luka; and, at present, the State Border Service covers 75 per cent of the country’s borders and has reduced illegal immigration through Bosnia and Herzegovina by two thirds.
Of course, UNMIBH has not been alone in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but is part of a broader international effort — including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union — which will continue. By the end of 2002, UNMIBH will have completed the peacekeeping phase of police restructuring. However, there will still be challenges to face for the Bosnians themselves and for the international community committed to helping them. Among these, in the area of the police, are low salaries and poor housing conditions, lack of funds and continued political interference in the work of law enforcement agencies.
There will undoubtedly continue to be a need for international monitoring and assistance in order to sustain the progress that has been made. I therefore welcome a recent decision by the European Union to establish a post-UNMIBH follow-on police mission to commence on 1 January 2003. The next phase of capacity-building in law enforcement, including improving judicial and penal systems, will therefore be carried out in the context of the European Union. The United Nations stands ready to cooperate closely with the European Union, the Office of the High Representative and others concerned to ensure timely planning and a smooth transition.
Ultimately, it is the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina who must take control of their own destiny and build a peaceful, prosperous future as a successful multi-ethnic State. It is my hope that they will find support and inspiration in the many countries around the world which have made their diversity their greatest asset, with opportunities for all in a climate of tolerance and mutual respect.
I thank the Secretary-General for the kind words he addressed to me.
Before giving the floor to those wishing to make statements, I invite participants to hear briefings from Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I give the floor to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When I took up my mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina in August 1999, Yugoslavia and Croatia were ruled by the same leaders who had brought about the disastrous conflicts of the 1990s. Their proxies still wielded power in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Consequently, refugees saw little hope of returning to their homes. Reform was effectively blocked by wartime politicians, who did nothing to overcome the internal economic divisions and the virtual absence of an adequate legislative framework. State-level institutions had been established, but they were underfunded, understaffed and lacked real power. My predecessors, Carl Bildt and Carlos Westendorp, worked hard to correct this but were severely hampered by an uncompromising political climate inside the country and a lack of cooperation from Zagreb and Belgrade.
Faced with this situation, my strategy was clear. Since arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I have vigorously promoted the creation of an investment-driven, rather than an aid-dependent, market economy; the mass return of refugees to their homes, by rolling back the results of ethnic cleansing; and the consolidation of institutions — legal, political, economic, social, educational and civic — that will sustain a viable democracy long after the international community has ended its extraordinary assistance and involvement in the country’s affairs.
After 11 September, the potentially disastrous consequences of weak and failed States have been burned into our consciousness. The experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown conclusively that countries cannot recover from war or protracted civil strife simply through material aid or military assistance. They need institutions that work and a culture in which laws are properly debated and universally applied and respected. Today, with regard to Afghanistan, even sceptics accept that institution-building must be at the core of successful intervention.
Consolidating the rule of law has underpinned our strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, since institution-building, refugee return and economic development can be promoted only in a secure environment of law and order. In this respect, the work of the International Police Task Force (IPTF), mandated under the Dayton/Paris Peace Accords to provide the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an efficient and impartial police service, has been key to the peace implementation efforts. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jacques Paul Klein; the IPTF Commissioner, Vincent Coeurderoy; and the staff at IPTF and the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for the strenuous efforts they have made in order to carry out this work.
On 18 February, the European Union’s General Affairs Council announced that the European Union is ready to establish a police mission, which will take over from IPTF from 1 January 2003, as the Secretary-General has already indicated. The European Union Police Mission (EUPM), supported by the European Union’s institution-building programmes, will contribute to peace implementation and to the European Union’s overall policy in the region, notably the Stabilization and Association Process. It represents a unique opportunity for the European Union to develop its political engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and to support structural reform crucial to the country’s Europeanization process.
Allow me to express my appreciation to the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, for the decisive and constructive approach adopted by the European Union in undertaking the EUPM. The European Union’s initiative was welcomed and accepted by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February. I have duly informed the Secretary-General of this.
Policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be fully effective as long as there is a belief that certain individuals are beyond the reach of the law. In this respect, the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the cooperation given to ICTY by the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities at the State level and in both entities, is crucial to the country’s overall recovery.
Just a few days ago, Stabilization Force (SFOR) troops launched operations in eastern Bosnia to arrest Radovan Karadzic. Let me take this opportunity to thank the SFOR Commander, General John Sylvester, and his soldiers for these courageous undertakings, necessitated by the absence of credible efforts by the Republika Srpska authorities to apprehend and transfer to The Hague indicted war criminals hiding on their territory.
The entity of the Republika Srpska must be left in no doubt that as long as it fails to live up to its obligations, it will not receive the full backing of the international community. I remain firmly convinced that unless Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and other indictees end up in The Hague, people will not be able to turn the page and look to the future. The Serb Democratic Party (SDS), founded by Karadzic, has announced the expulsion of members indicted for war crimes. Yet the SDS will have to show practical and public support for the ICTY before this kind of statement is greeted with any sort of credence.
If approved by the ICTY under the 1996 Rome Agreement, commonly known as the rules of the road procedure, war crimes cases may be tried in Bosnia and Herzegovina courts. I am acutely aware of the sensitivity and importance of such trials, which not only are aimed at bringing perpetrators to justice but also play a key role in the overall reconciliation process.
In the light of a plan proposed by the ICTY Prosecutor last year regarding possible remission of ICTY cases to Bosnia and Herzegovina, my Office is currently engaged in discussions with ICTY and the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs here in New York with a view to cooperating on a consultancy project that will identify the resources that are needed to try more war crimes cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The consultancy will begin shortly. It is being funded by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden, and will entail close cooperation with other United Nations agencies, international organizations and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities.
While international efforts in the broad sphere of the rule of law have yielded results, progress in some areas has fallen short of expectations, because there has not yet been a thorough reform of the judiciary. The Judicial System Assessment Programme (JSAP), which had been set up by UNMIBH two years earlier, was terminated in November 2000. As a consequence of JSAP’s closure, my Office was tasked to set up the Independent Judicial Commission (IJC). On 14 March last year, I issued the Decision formalizing the establishment of IJC and determining its mandate. However, IJC reported to me a rather alarming picture: judges and prosecutors, many of whom gained office during or immediately after the war on ethnic or political rather than professional grounds, are often unfit to carry out their duties. There is a lack of adequate financing, and courts are often subject to undue external influence.
Following a request from the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), last week I presented a reinvigorated programme of judicial reform measures for 2002-2003 to the Political Directors of the Steering Board. This combines a restructuring of the Bosnia and Herzegovina court system and a depoliticized appointment procedure with the introduction of a High Judicial Council. It also encompasses the reform of key laws, including civil and criminal procedure codes. The Council of Europe was invited to work on the details of the strategy in order to develop a system for Bosnia and Herzegovina that is compatible with modern European standards.
Indeed, the Europeanization of Bosnia and Herzegovina — crystallized in the imminent accession of the country to the Council of Europe and in the EU Road Map itemizing steps that Bosnia and Herzegovina must take in order to move closer to eventual European Union membership — is the overarching context for promoting the rule of law and advancing the main agenda of the international community for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s recovery.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has reached a crucial juncture in its path towards permanent recovery. The main political parties are discussing how to implement the Constitutional Court’s decision on the constituency of peoples throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Indeed, this is a test case of whether Bosnia and Herzegovina will develop into a State committed to human rights and the rule of law, and to the protection of the individual as well as that of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three constituent peoples and the group of the so-called others.
The implementation of this decision puts an enormous burden on the still fragile political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet this is a moment when the country must establish internal equilibrium founded on a constructive interdependence of all groups.
There is still a widely held view that compromise and consensus are a kind of weakness. We are striving to change this deeply ingrained attitude, an attitude not confined to Bosnia and Herzegovina alone. The talks now under way are part of a process through which the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement is evolving into something broader and deeper.
This evolution — transcending the limitations of Dayton — is an incremental process, yet truly democratic in nature. It has again highlighted the evolutionary potential of Dayton. The very fact that the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an institution provided for in the Dayton Constitution, has triggered this process indicates that the Dayton system is indeed capable of reforming itself. Even well-intended statements from abroad risk jeopardizing this process which I view as “ownership in the making”. I believe that the parties must be given every opportunity to produce “home-grown” solutions, arrived at by Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders for the benefit of the citizens of their country.
However, time is of the essence. The current constitutional discussions must produce a successful outcome within days, so that the necessary amendments can be made to the Entity constitutions and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Election Law within the time frame required to hold general elections on schedule in October of this year. These elections will be the first post-war polls organized by the domestic authorities and will introduce a four-year election cycle, which should further enhance the stability of the political system.
As the rule of law has begun to take hold, the number of returning refugees, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, has increased dramatically. Last year, more than 92,000 so-called minority returns were recorded, a 36 per cent increase over the corresponding figure for the year 2000, which had been termed a “breakthrough” at the time by the United States-based non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch. If this rate is maintained — and I believe it can be maintained — mass return will be completed within two years. Here I would like to mention the crucial role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in what I believe is a historic achievement, which just two years ago seemed extremely unlikely.
Since the end of 1997, more than 102,000 property claims have resulted in repossession — that is, 41 per cent of all such claims in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That rate will hit the 50 per cent mark shortly, thus meeting a key condition of the European Union road map.
I believe we can be proud that the corner has at last been turned, but this is not the time to relax our efforts. Adequate funding must be sustained until the return process has been completed.
The Srebrenica massacre left a legacy of war more bitter than any other. I welcome the United Nations recovery programme for Srebrenica, which aims to address the extraordinary social and economic problems there. It will underpin the efforts of the international community in the context of the Srebrenica Action Plan to facilitate returns to this area.
In 2000 and 2001 I issued decisions setting aside land for a cemetery and a memorial at Potocari near Srebrenica. A marker stone was formally installed at the site on the sixth anniversary of the massacre on 11 July 2001. The proposal made by the associations of the victims’ families to add the nearby so-called Battery Factory site as a location for the memorial is being considered at the moment, and a site assessment of the property is being undertaken, funded by the United States Government. However, I continue to urge these associations to proceed without delay to plan for the burial of the remains that have been exhumed and prepared for interment.
Early in my mandate, I introduced the concept of “ownership”, or “odgovornost” as they say in the local languages, to address the dependency syndrome of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to encourage the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities at all levels to meet their responsibilities. Today, international peace implementation officials face a healthy amount of pride on the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders, civic activists and citizens alike. I see this as proof that they have the genuine will to start owning problems and taking responsibility for their country’s future.
With the Alliance for Change, a coalition of reform-oriented parties that displaced the nationalist establishment in government at the beginning of 2001, there are finally politicians leading the country who support and defend Bosnia and Herzegovina’s statehood. With assistance from the international community extended in a spirit of evolving partnership, they have, among other things, passed an election law and prepared Bosnia and Herzegovina for Council of Europe membership.
As the circumstances of peace implementation have considerably changed, the international community has adapted its engagement so as to meet new challenges in the most effective way. In the spring of 2001, I was asked by the Foreign Ministers of the European Union and the Contact Group to oversee the streamlining of international civil implementation structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let me share with you key elements of the final streamlining plan.
The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), of course, remains the overall board of directors, the body to whom I report. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there will be a cabinet-style body of international agency heads, chaired by the High Representative and responsible for cross-cutting policy development, supported by an inter-agency situation group. At the centre, there will be four task forces covering the core strategic areas of economic reform, refugee return, institution-building and the rule of law.
Finally, there will be a restructured field presence based on new joint areas of responsibility and the so-called co-location of all key agencies.
We have reached the final stage of peace implementation where more must be done with fewer resources, and everything must be prepared for a hand-over to the local authorities. This streamlined model will deliver a leaner, less bureaucratic, international community presence with reduced overall costs. It is being put into effect immediately.
In conclusion, Mr. President, let me inform you and the members of this body of my intention to leave my post at the end of May. This is my last presentation to you, but I will send a final report to the Secretary-General at that time.
I am convinced that Bosnia and Herzegovina can and will be a viable State if we continue to implement our overall plan with firmness and consistency. It is essential that we do not lose focus at this crucial stage. Forces bent on destruction and division are not yet completely defeated.
Yet, the contours of a stable and self-sustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the Dayton/Paris Accords and firmly on course to Europe, are at last coming into view. Bosnia and Herzegovina has normalized its relations with its neighbours and now speaks as an equal and respected member of the community of States in South-Eastern Europe. I am proud that I have played a part in bringing this about.
When I leave my post in May, Mr. President, I am confident that my distinguished successor and friend, Paddy Ashdown, with your continued support, will further build on the solid foundation we have put in place. He will have the opportunity to finally return Bosnia and Herzegovina to its rightful place — into the hands of its citizens.
Thirty-two months have passed since, at the request of the Secretary-General, I had the honour of accepting the leadership of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) — a mission that the Secretary-General himself originally set up. While it is true that the United Nations was not invited to Dayton, the fact remains that, at the end of 1995, the United Nations was the only organization able to deploy on the ground a major multinational police mission within a complex post-war environment.
The Secretary-General thus entrusted to me the responsibility of making a success of UNMIBH. Towards that end, he advised me to spell out clear-cut and specific mission goals, to prepare a plan and to implement it, as had been done with regard to the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium. Three months later, on the basis of an objective analysis of the mission status, I came before the Council to announce that the task to be carried out by the mission would take two to three years. With the Council’s support, we set up the UNMIBH Mandate Implementation Plan — better known by the abbreviation “MIP” — which represented a pattern of guidelines based on six major programmes designed to reform, restructure and democratize the police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Today, I am pleased to report that UNMIBH is making strong progress towards completing its core mandate — on schedule and within its budget — by the end of this year. Our MIP Action Plan for 2002 was finalized last month and is designed to be our performance plan and monitoring tool for the completion of our remaining projects by December 2002.
The Council will recall that our core task was to take 40,000 largely untrained police who were organized on a mono-ethnic war-time footing, and to turn them into professional, multi-ethnic police forces made up of less than half that number, each with human rights and professional training, working in accountable police structures and with a basic level of modern police equipment.
Our progress since the Secretary-General’s most recent report in November 2001 has been steady. Allow me to outline just some of the highlights. With respect to police reform, in January we completed the two-year project of registration of all the 16,919 law enforcement officers currently exercising police powers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have begun to weed out those suspected of war crimes or other crimes, and those violating the property laws. Last year, for example, some 2,000 police officers regularized their housing at our insistence, and a further 3,000 are now being vetted.
All provisionally authorized police officers have undertaken compulsory training courses in human rights and many have received or are completing advanced professional training. In close cooperation with the Stabilization Force (SFOR), we have placed particular importance on improving local police capacity in crowd and riot control. In January, UNMIBH and the SFOR multinational support units conducted the first joint training of 100 members of local police support units. In total, some 800 police, in company-size formations, will receive such training this year.
In the core area of police restructuring, a comprehensive systems analysis of 21 police administrations began in January. The Brcko District Police Force that we established last year serves as our model for a democratic, multi-ethnic local police institution. Our goal is to accredit law enforcement agencies that meet this model. The expected completion of this project in September will coincide with the final certification of individual police officers.
Minority police representation has steadily increased. Through the two police academies that we established, over 1,050 minority police officers, including 365 women, have been recruited. Some 192 minority police have returned to their pre-war locations through our voluntary redeployment programme, and 85 former officers have been re-employed following refresher courses. We expect at least another 300 minority cadets this year, and more can be processed once the European Union (EU)-financed rebuilding of the police academies is completed.
Last month, I was delighted to oversee the official administrative and physical integration of the divided Mostar City Police. After six years of international effort, this is the first physically integrated administration at the cantonal and city level. It is a tangible precedent for all other cantonal and municipal institutions to follow.
Furthermore, we have now disbursed or committed all of the $16 million contributed by donors to the United Nations Trust Fund for the Police Assistance Programme for provision of basic equipment and facilities for the local police forces. In addition, the United Nations Trust Fund for the Restoration of Essential Public Services has supported 471 projects, costing over $17 million. This year we will complete the remaining 64 projects, at a cost of $4 million.
On institution-building, the State Border Service has made extraordinary progress. By the end of April, some 88 per cent of the border, and all airports, will be under State Border Service control. The effective operation of the State Border Service, together with the introduction of a partial visa regime and an airport landing card, resulted in a 66 per cent decrease in illegal migration through Sarajevo airport in 2001 — down from 24,000 to 8,000. This year we have witnessed even further reductions and an estimated 20 per cent increase in customs revenues.
Working with the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we expect the new State Information and Protection Agency (SIPA) to be established in the coming months. SIPA will be the first national organization responsible for the collection, analysis and distribution of data to other law enforcement agencies to improve the fight against international and inter-entity crime. We have also established the mechanisms for regional police cooperation through the regular ministerial-level meeting on police and the trilateral Regional Law Enforcement Agreement. Successful operations have been conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Yugoslavia against arms smugglers and traffickers of women. The success of these joint operations has encouraged Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovenia to seek to join the Agreement.
We are continuing to aggressively combat human trafficking. In the past six months, under the STOP programme, special teams of international and local police have monitored 270 raids and interviewed 800 women and girls involved in prostitution. Since March 1999, some 410 trafficking victims have been assisted and repatriated to their home countries.
We are now focusing on prosecuting traffickers and brothel owners. With the assistance of our Criminal Justice Advisory Unit, over 50 criminal charges against traffickers have been brought. Sentences have ranged from 4 to 36 months imprisonment and substantial fines have been imposed. For the traffickers, the days of impunity are over.
I would also like to emphasize that we have investigated every single claim of alleged involvement by International Police Task Force (IPTF) members in trafficking. Despite media sensationalism, not one allegation has been substantiated and no additional information has been forthcoming. UNMIBH pursues a rigorous zero-tolerance policy. It is indeed disappointing that, despite our intensive efforts and the consistent, outstanding work being done by the IPTF officers, these unfounded rumours continue to circulate.
Turning now to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s evolving engagement in the international arena, the second rotation of Bosnia and Herzegovina police officers to East Timor has been completed. The first nine-person contingent of United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs) is serving in Ethiopia and Eritrea; a second cadre of UNMOs has completed training and is about to deploy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and in the past three months, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Composite Transport Unit for United Nations peace operations has been trained and fully equipped and is ready to deploy this spring.
Those are just some of the milestones that make me confident that UNMIBH will achieve its core goals this year and hand over a successful operation to the EU Police Mission. They are not just abstract achievements. The bottom-line proof that police reform is working is that over 92,000 refugees and displaced persons returned to their homes last year, with very few security-related incidents. Two weeks ago, several hundred Bosniacs celebrated their Bajram at the site of the destroyed Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka and in other previously difficult areas in the eastern Republika Srpska without incident.
But much remains to be done in the next 10 months, and some challenges go beyond the resources or authority of UNMIBH. First, there are some major projects that depend on additional funding. We are short by $3.5 million for capital and equipment costs to complete the State Border Service this year. About $1.5 million is required for the United Nations Trust Fund for Police Assistance to complete basic police equipment and facilities. And SIPA will require a mix of local and international funding for start-up costs. These shortfalls were the subject of two recent UNMIBH donor conferences.
Secondly, the political support of the High Representative has been and remains vital for the completion of police restructuring. Our Police Commissioner Project is fundamental to removing political interference from police structures. Most cantons and the Republika Srpska entity are on track, but we are facing determined obstruction in the Federation and in Canton Sarajevo from a political party that claims it wants to be a partner of the international community while it seeks to politicize and suborn the police forces.
We are now in a situation where, if we do not act, we risk jeopardizing success in the other cantons. Therefore, I have sought and received my colleague Ambassador Petritsch’s commitment to helping us take all necessary measures to ensure the full implementation of the Police Commissioner Project.
Thirdly, I remain deeply concerned about the inability or unwillingness of the local judiciary to do its work. There is a grave imbalance in the rule of law, whereby police standards have vastly improved but the judicial system, as Ambassador Petritsch has said, remains dysfunctional. Arresting criminals is useless if they are freed by timorous or corrupt judicial officials a few hours later and then intimidate witnesses or threaten families of police officers.
Band-aid measures are not enough. As I stated last Thursday to the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, immediate radical reform of the judiciary and prosecutors is key to everything the international community is trying to achieve in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Finally, I ask for the Council’s support for Srebrenica. While most of Bosnia and Herzegovina has progressed, Srebrenica remains a tragic symbol of underdevelopment and enduring hardship for displaced Serbs and Bosniac returnees alike. Eighteen months ago, the Secretary-General asked me whether the United Nations could play a special role in that desolate and tragic area. Step by step, through the multi-agency Srebrenica Action Plan, the United Nations Trust Fund and the opening of a model police station, we have reduced the level of insecurity. Returns have begun.
But, in essence, we have attended to the symptoms of post-conflict paralysis without treating the underlying causes. Towards this goal, we are working closely with experts of the United Nations Development Programme to establish a multi-year sustainable economic and social recovery plan for the wider area to facilitate two-way returns, recognizing the special circumstances and needs of families without men. A donors conference will take place in New York this spring. Srebrenica is one area that cannot be allowed to become, yet again, a victim, but this time a victim of compassion fatigue.
Allow me to conclude with some brief observations about other matters that will affect our mandate implementation.
We have actively participated in the streamlining exercise initiated and led by Ambassador Petritsch. A conclusion has been reached which the High Representative will now implement. Nonetheless, bringing all of the elements of the rule of law together in one task force is a positive initiative. As we have learned yet again, the elements of the rule of law are inseparable and can be achieved only through a holistic approach. In our remaining months, we look forward to participating in a revitalized effort in this entire arena.
But our biggest contribution to streamlining and local ownership will be to successfully complete our mandate and the smooth transition to a much smaller and more specialized mission. With this in mind and in accordance with the Secretary-General’s instructions, UNMIBH has been equally open and helpful to both the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe technical missions that have produced reports on the expected international policing requirements beyond 2002. We are gratified that both these missions shared our assessment that around 480 highly skilled police monitors, plus civilian support, would be required to preserve UNMIBH’s achievements while also coping with the inevitable crises of a country that remains politically fragile, with substantial unreconciled groups.
On the basis of our knowledge of UNMIBH and our experience elsewhere, we consider that there is sufficient time to fully plan and deploy the new European Union mission in a seamless transfer, providing that key pre-planning personnel begin work in March or April and that financial resources are made available to them to begin procurement of essential equipment and facilities.
Our downsizing and mission liquidation planning is well advanced. We intend to retain around 1,600 IPTF monitors until immediately after the October elections and then to downsize to around 600 IPTF in preparation for the transition to the European Union mission. However, even with a seamless transfer, the presence of SFOR will remain essential until there is full political stabilization and substantial progress in reconciliation. Of great importance to both these goals is the arrest of Karadzic and Mladic. In this respect, I fully support the recent robust actions of SFOR to find these two war criminals. I wish them better success at the earliest possible opportunity and full cooperation from the local authorities.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the members of the Council for their tireless support for UNMIBH and for having made their staff available to the Mission. It is their work that has made the Mission what it is today.
The successful completion of our mandate ends the peacekeeping phase of one of the largest police reform and restructuring operations that has ever been undertaken. We are on the verge, key in hand, of closing an operation that has established new conceptual and technical parameters for the development of a culture of competence and integrity for police forces within a structure and organization that is based on the principles of transparency and professionalism.
The termination of UNMIBH will also mark the end of a decade of United Nations involvement in peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this connection, I am committed to completing the work of UNMIBH and of shutting it down with head held high. We must not forget, however, that, in the long run, our legacy will be in the hands of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the leaders they will elect in the forthcoming elections. I very much hope for a future in which the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina will make wise choices and succeed in securing their due place in Europe.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Spain, in his capacity as Presidency of the European Union, who will introduce Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.
I invite the Permanent Representative of Spain to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
The importance which the European Union ascribes to the issue under discussion today is underscored by the presence here of the High Representative for the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana. I would request you, Sir, to grant him the opportunity to speak.
I invite Mr. Javier Solana to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I should like to thank you, Sir, and all the members of the Security Council for this opportunity to speak here today.
It is very appropriate that we should devote time and attention to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina today. There are so many issues and events competing for our attention in the Balkans that sometimes we risk neglecting all but the most immediate of crises. I welcome therefore the Presidency’s initiative in organizing today’s debate. Now is a crucial time for all of us — Bosnians and the international community alike — to reflect on our responsibilities and to commit ourselves to meeting them.
The human and political tragedy of the war that began 10 years ago is still a vivid memory for me personally and, I believe, for most Europeans. I have closely followed the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina in different capacities during that period of time.
Today I believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a crossroads. Fundamental choices have to be made, and responsibilities assumed, by its people and by its politicians. On the one hand, Bosnia and Herzegovina could make a positive choice to make a determined effort rapidly to implement reforms and join the path that leads towards the European Union. Alternatively, the country could choose the path that will, I believe, lead to ever-greater isolation, to missed economic opportunities, and to a political wilderness where it will be left behind by more ambitious and more far-sighted neighbours.
Progress has no doubt been made during recent years. Indeed, a number of very important and significant achievements can be recalled: the adoption of important pieces of State-level legislation, an increase in minority returns and the steady strengthening of the country’s institutions. All of these are very important steps forward, and constitute proof that real progress is possible given the political will.
That progress has been due in no small part to the outgoing High Representative, my friend Wolfgang Petritsch. I would like, on behalf of the European Union, to pay tribute to him, his skills and tenacity, and the encouraging progress he has made.
The European Union very much welcomes the fact that, last week in Brussels, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board designated Lord Ashdown as successor to Wolfgang Petritsch. I look forward to the confirmation of his appointment by the Security Council. The new High Representative will inherit a situation where, despite the enormous progress to date, much more remains to be done. The European Union expects the authorities at all levels to cooperate fully with the new High Representative.
Let me add that, as has been mentioned before, there also needs to be decisive progress as regards the war crimes indictees. I am convinced that the painful chapter in Bosnia’s history that began a decade ago will never be properly closed until justice is done, and is seen to be done. That means that all indictees must answer the charges made against them. State and entity Governments must therefore cooperate fully, in deed as well as in word, with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The International Community must also meet its responsibilities. Here, the European Union is playing an increasingly important role: first, in terms of financial assistance; secondly, in terms of providing a longer-term political perspective; and thirdly, in terms of a concrete contribution to peace and stability.
The European Union has provided, and will continue to provide, an important amount of financial assistance. In total, the European Union has provided more than 3 billion euros in financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1991. This year alone the European Union is likely to contribute a further 200 million euros.
The European Union has provided Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region the prospect of eventual integration with the European Union. A new phase has begun, and a new perspective has been opened. While the Dayton/Paris Accords were designed to guide the country away from war, the prospect of an eventual stabilization and association agreement offers a clear route towards a European future. But the pace of progress towards that European perspective is entirely in the hands of Bosnia and Herzegovina itself. One needs only to consider the relative progress of other States in the region to understand what I have just said. If a determined effort is not made soon by Sarajevo and Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina will be left behind.
The European Union is preparing to take on an important new responsibility as part of the international community. Let me take this opportunity to say a few words about the new European Union police mission, which will be ready to take over from the International Police Task Force (IPTF) on 1 January 2003. This is the first crisis-management operation undertaken by the European Union in the civilian crisis management field.
First, it will build on the remarkable achievements of the IPTF under the leadership of Jacques-Paul Klein and Mr. Coeurderoy. The mission will follow, but not replace, the IPTF. It will be a different mission, but it will draw extensively on IPTF’s experience — and not least on Jacques Klein’s help and advice — reflecting what the IPTF will have achieved by the end of the year and what else needs to be done in the coming year. It will also draw from the very good and important cooperation established on the ground with the Stabilization Force (SFOR).
The European Union police mission will seek to establish sustainable policing arrangements under Bosnia and Herzegovina ownership in accordance with best European and international practice, thereby raising current Bosnia and Herzegovina police standards. The European Union police mission, entrusted with the necessary authority to monitor, mentor and inspect, should achieve its goal by the end of 2005. Its strength would be around 480 police officers and 70 civilians, as has already been mentioned by Jacques Klein.
Our aim is a broad approach to the whole range of rule of law needs, including police activities. The European Union police mission, supported by the European Community’s institution-building programmes, would therefore contribute to overall peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to the achievement of the European Union’s overall policy in the region, notably the stabilization and association process.
The Secretary-General has stressed on many occasions that a regional actor should assume the follow-on to the IPTF, to preserve what has been achieved and to continue monitoring and assistance. The rapid development of the European security and defence policy and the work done by European Union member States on capabilities, including on police capabilities, have made it possible for the European Union to assume that follow-on.
I very much welcome the fact that this very first mission of ours serves to emphasize at least two things: first, the openness of the European security and defence policy and, secondly, the willingness and ability of the European Union to work closely with the United Nations. We have decided to invite 20 countries to make offers of contributions to the European Union police mission. Moreover, the transition from the IPTF to the European Union police mission appears to me to be a concrete example of the kind of cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations that is now feasible, desirable and in line with the Brahimi recommendations. Both the European Union and the United Nations are aware of the need to establish practical arrangements to ensure a smooth and seamless transition between the IPTF and the European Union police mission.
The European security and defence policy strengthens the Union’s contribution to international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. It also increases the range of instruments available to the international community in response to crises. Given the many commitments that the United Nations is facing, the follow-on to the IPTF by the European Union will help the United Nations to allocate resources elsewhere. It will thus result not only in a demonstration of cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations in this area but also — and this is our shared hope — bring added value to the efforts of the United Nations in general.
A little more than 10 years ago it seemed inconceivable to many of us that a conflict as bitter and as brutal as that in Bosnia and Herzegovina would ever break out again in Europe. Many painful lessons have been learnt in the intervening period. Ten years after the war began, the European Union has proved its commitment to the future stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the wider region. We are absolutely determined to play our part in the establishment of peace, security and stability. We have offered the prospect of, and concrete assistance in, the progressive integration into European structures. But alone our commitment, our determination, our vision is not enough. We need from the Bosnian people and politicians a similar degree of commitment, determination and vision. It is time for us all to fulfil our responsibilities, and thus to allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to focus on the decade that lies ahead.
Mr. Minister, it is a special honour to have you presiding over the Council this week to underline the importance of this discussion and of other aspects of our work. I also thank the Secretary-General for his presence here today and for his introductory statement, which set exactly the right tone for our discussion.
We have had three very interesting and important briefings from High Representative Petritsch, from Special Representative Klein and from the High Representative of the European Union. The United Kingdom fully subscribes to the approach of the European Union set out in Mr. Solana’s presentation.
I should like to commend very warmly the dedicated and professional work of Special Representative Klein and High Representative Petritsch on peace implementation in Bosnia. Those efforts are really beginning now to bear fruit, marked not least by the forthcoming membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Council of Europe and also in the dramatic increase in refugee return.
As this is Ambassador Petritsch’s last address to us in the Council, I should like to thank him very warmly for the work that he has done in Bosnia and Herzegovina at an extremely important time in the history of that new country. It is the United Kingdom’s privilege to be providing his successor as High Representative, Lord Ashdown, and he has a hard act to follow.
Nevertheless, we all know that a great deal still has to be done. The year 2002 is a crucial one, with elections coming up in October. If our speakers this morning are answering questions later, I wonder if they could give us a slightly more detailed assessment of the security situation in the run-up to the October elections and the key challenges that still remain.
For instance, in spite of the success which Mr. Klein has recorded in Mostar, does the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) continue to pose a security challenge? It is important, against that background, that the International Police Task Force (IPTF) downsizing does not begin prematurely, and we hope that numbers and capabilities can be maintained until after the elections.
We were also glad to hear from Mr. Solana that there will be careful transition arrangements between the IPTF and the European Union police mission, and we hope that this will include the continuation in service of those European Union police officers who are serving with the IPTF at the end of the year.
Efforts to establish more firmly the rule of law in Bosnia have to be the top priority in the immediate term. This has a very direct impact on Bosnia’s development and its credibility within the international community. Progress must encompass judicial and penal as well as police reform, for the reasons clearly set out by the Special Representative.
Economic reform also remains a serious concern. Recent progress in areas such as privatization, the creation of a single economic space and trade between the entities has been disappointing. This is stifling Bosnia’s ability to attract international business interest, and it also affects unemployment — which is still far too high — and the immigration of younger people.
The fight against corruption and criminality has to be another priority. We welcome the steps that have been taken so far, but the authorities need to step up their efforts to show both the international community and the Bosnian people that they are serious in these respects.
As the High Representative has said, there are no individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are beyond the reach of the law. The United Kingdom warmly welcomes recent attempts to capture Mr. Karadzic. We attach great importance to the apprehension of all International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indictees, and we are disappointed at the misguided criticism of these operations from the Republika Srpska. We regard the operations of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) as completely legitimate, because cooperation with The Hague Tribunal is key to Bosnia’s integration into the international community. The arrest and transfer to The Hague of Karadzic and Mladic would signal a new page in Bosnia’s development.
The implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Accord remains the overall goal. Dayton provides the constitutional and structural evolution. The High Representative’s work on a structure to ensure civilian implementation is a good example of this. We continue to hope that the entities will be able to reach agreement on constitutional change, but, if not, the High Representative should be allowed to use his full powers to make the changes necessary to help realize the objective of a Bosnia and Herzegovina that is internally cohesive and fully democratic.
I thank the representative of the United Kingdom for the kind words he addressed to me.
Allow me at the outset to thank you, Mr. Minister, for having graciously agreed to preside over the work of the Council this week. We are indeed privileged to have you here, and this demonstrates the importance that Norway attaches to its presidency of the Security Council for the month of March.
I should like also to thank the Secretary-General for his extremely important statement and also to thank the High Representative, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, as well as the Special Representative, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, for their comprehensive briefings on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bulgaria fully endorses the analysis and the conclusions offered by the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security of the European Union, Mr. Javier Solana. I shall therefore confine myself to some brief national comments.
My country commends the work done by Mr. Petritsch as the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina and agrees with the views set out and recommendations made in his report of 22 February of this year. In addition to warmly thanking Ambassador Petritsch for his outstanding work, my delegation also wishes to express its satisfaction at the decision taken by the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February to appoint Paddy Ashdown High Representative, as Mr. Petritsch’s successor. My country is convinced that Lord Ashdown, who is known as a friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has all the credentials required actively to work with the international community as well as the local authorities.
Bulgaria has been supporting the Dayton/Paris Accord and the actions taken by the international community under that Accord, which is a decisive factor for bringing about peace in the former Yugoslavia and for bringing about a united, multi-ethnic and democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina.
My country agrees with the ideas and conclusions contained in the report on the need to pursue the efforts of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton/Paris Accord.
At the same time, it is our view that this involvement should gradually decline, with local authorities progressively taking over all these responsibilities. That would enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a completely autonomous State that can take its proper place within the structures of international integration. Here, we hail the members of the Election Commission for their work to prepare for the general elections scheduled for 5 October, which will be first organized by the domestic authorities. It is important that the Bosnian authorities be fully involved in the lead-up to the elections, which will be a sign of the ability of Bosnia and Herzegovina further to align itself with the structures of European integration.
We appeal to the authorities to implement the four decisions handed down in 2000 by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially that relating to the electorate, which will make possible equitable representation of the entire constituency in the establishment of the State and will facilitate integration into European bodies. Implementation of that decision will enable the general elections to go forward properly and will signal the ability of Bosnia and Herzegovina to become an active member of the Council of Europe. I recall that Bulgaria fully supports such membership.
My country supports the international community in its strategy of gradually transferring United Nations responsibilities to the European Union. We welcome the decision of the European Union to name the next High Representative as a special representative of the European Union. Here, Bulgaria endorses the European Union strategy for a seamless transition from the International Police Task Force to a European Union police mission. My country believes that the Bosnia and Herzegovina peace process has reached the point where its European dimension should be emphasized, because of the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina naturally belongs to Europe and because of Bosnia’s European inclination.
At the same time, we believe that the issue of the possible participation of countries not members of the European Union in the follow-on police mission to replace the International Police Task Force should be decided in the future, taking account of the contribution that such participants had already made, along with their interest and their capacity to continue their participation.
The High Representative’s plan for reorganizing the United Nations international presence, which envisions the rationalization and improved coordination of the work of international civilian organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, deserves the Security Council’s support. The functions, structures, composition and financing of that presence should accord with the political situation on the ground.
Bulgaria welcomes the commitment of the Bosnian authorities to the fight against terrorism, including through their participation in the recently established coordination team. The measures taken by the competent authorities of the Federation with respect to persons suspected of terrorist activities are one example of that commitment.
We welcome the increased number of refugees who returned in 2001; this issue is directly linked to revitalizing the country’s economy. Among the positive trends of recent months, we should also mention progress towards normalizing relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia.
At the same time, Bulgaria is convinced of the need for more active and more dynamic cooperation on the part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The appearance of Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic before the Tribunal could only improve the overall climate in the country.
Bulgaria praises the High Representative for his efforts to promote dialogue among the three main religious groups, which have included the rebuilding of religious monuments that had been destroyed. We call on the parties in Bosnia to make greater efforts to that end. Demining must be speeded up; there is an obvious need for a comprehensive demining strategy, to be implemented under the control of the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities.
In conclusion, I hail the activities of non-governmental organizations operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially those working in the field of human rights.
I too wish to welcome you, Mr. Minister, to today’s meeting; we are very appreciative of your having devoted the time to be with us this week.
We have heard some truly interesting comments and briefings from our guests this morning. Today’s discussion reflects the challenge that the international community faces in balancing its role in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the responsibility and commitment required by the leaders and the citizens of Bosnia. The streamlining plan approved last week at Brussels by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council is timely and indeed necessary for the next phase of the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. We welcome the success in producing what Ambassador Petritsch described as a leaner and less bureaucratic structure. We also welcome the decision of the Council to accept the offer of the European Union to continue the efforts of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) in strengthening the rule of law.
We congratulate Mr. Klein on his success with the International Police Task Force. We applaud his efforts to attain the goal of completing UNMIBH’s core mandate by the end of this year; thanks in large part to his efforts, the way ahead on police and justice is clear, if not exactly easy, on the path provided and with the envisaged cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.
But neither the streamlining exercise nor international assistance alter the central role that Bosnia’s leaders and its people must play in implementing the Dayton Peace Accords and in building a prosperous and secure nation. We know the priorities; they are the strengthening of State institutions, refugee returns and economic reform. We still see too little progress on the part of Bosnia’s Government towards making the hard choices and towards reaching compromise on the most critical issues. Simply put, more has to be done on the Constitutional Court decision, the upcoming elections and the current budget, as well as on defence and judicial reform.
A key point has to be kept in mind for the future, and that is that economic growth will not be sustainable until investors are assured that the Government can address these and other problems on its own. We urge the Government to take the necessary steps to implement the Constitutional Court’s decision and to agree on a budget that provides sufficient funds for the upcoming elections, for the State Border Service and for reform of the armed forces, among other things.
In our view, the upcoming elections are not premature, but they will require considerable effort and commitment on the part of Bosnia’s leaders and its people.
My Government remains committed to Dayton’s implementation. We actively support the Peace Implementation Council on the civilian side, as well as SFOR’s considerable role, including its efforts to apprehend indicted war criminals still at large, as we saw last week in the two SFOR operations. The United States is committed to seeing those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, genocide and war crimes, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, brought to The Hague. We seek and expect the cooperation of regional Governments in the arrest of indicted war criminals and their transfer to The Hague, and we urge Republika Srpska to fulfil its obligations under the Dayton Accords to turn over indicted war criminals.
I want to conclude by congratulating Ambassador Petritsch, who is with us for the last time, on his effort and commitment to peace over two and a half years. Last week, the Peace Implementation Council said in its statement that as a result of his efforts, Bosnia and Herzegovina is substantially more stable, more democratic and closer to Europe. That is testimony to his efforts and an excellent record to leave to his successor. As others have noted, there is still a lot to do. We welcome the designation of Lord Ashdown and look forward to working closely with him to carry on the implementation of the Dayton Accords.
My delegation is pleased to see you, Sir, presiding over this important meeting of the Security Council. This is clear proof of the great importance that Norway attaches to the question of the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I would like to express our appreciation to Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, for his lucid statement, which provided a framework for our debate today. We also thank him for the report that he presented to us.
In addition, our thanks go to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also express our appreciation to Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his detailed briefing on the achievements of the United Nations in that country. I cannot but welcome the decision of the European Union to appoint Lord Ashdown as successor to Mr. Petritsch. We wish him every success in his task of achieving peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would also like to express our deep appreciation to Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative of the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, for his efforts to achieve peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
My delegation welcomes the meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 6 December 2001. At that meeting the Board adopted a draft plan, presented by the High Representative, on streamlining the work of the international civilian organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It coordinates policies in the fields of the rule of law, the building of economic institutions, the return of refugees, and reconstruction.
We thank the High Representative for his efforts aimed at the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The year 2001 witnessed more than 92,000 returns of minorities to the country. This fact will have a clear effect on the social, economic and political stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We look forward to the general elections to be held in October this year. We join the High Representative’s call to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to accelerate the preparations for these elections. Their success will have a major effect on the political, economic and social life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, enabling the political administration to assume its responsibilities after the end of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), on 31 December 2002.
In this regard, there is an urgent need for the reform and strengthening of the defence forces and the army in order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be able to discharge its security and defence duties after the full transfer of power to the Government at the end of this year. There is also a need to streamline the international civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as a need to study the High Representative’s plan for the partnership between the international community and the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities in various fields.
A cause for concern is the pace of economic recovery in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which continues to be extremely slow. This could cast shadows on the overall development process in the country. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s endeavour to join the European Union could represent a political and economic objective that can be achieved through the implementation of the plan provided by the European Union. I agree completely with Mr. Petritsch’s statement a few moments ago that the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina have the responsibility to develop their Government and administration by themselves, in a manner consistent with the reality prevailing there. In my opinion, this is the inevitable result of the process.
We welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina’s normalization of its relations with neighbouring countries, in particular its exchange of ambassadors with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is our hope that an appropriate solution to the question of the border between the two countries will be found. The 1999 Treaty on the State Border must be fully applied along the whole border. This would undoubtedly facilitate the rapprochement between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the European Union in the Stabilization and Association Process.
I thank the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic for his kind words addressed to me.
It is an honour to have you, Sir, presiding over our meeting today, and I would like to express our gratitude.
The Secretary-General set the tone for our meeting with his clear and realistic statement. France is particularly pleased at the joint participation in our meeting of the High Representative, Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein; and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Mr. Javier Solana. This event has great symbolic importance and underlines the exemplary cooperation developing on the ground between the United Nations and the European Union.
A major restructuring of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina will happen soon. The last meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Conference, which was held on 28 February, took a very clear position in this regard. Mr. Petritsch, Mr. Klein and Mr. Solana are involved directly in the restructuring and will continue to play a decisive part together in the coming months.
As Mr. Petritsch recalled, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina still requires the constant attention of the international community. The momentum of reform must be maintained, and work to implement the Dayton Agreements must be broadened. Continuing this process, begun a year ago by the Government of Mr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, will require courage, determination and perseverance. Once completed, it will open up the door for Bosnia and Herzegovina to join Europe. The imminent admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe will be an initial stage.
On the matter of priority tasks, ensuring development in the country is an essential goal. To that end, it is essential to improve investor confidence in the safety of the economic environment. In that light, promoting the rule of law, combating corruption and impunity and strengthening the independence and credibility of the judicial system are tasks that must be at the heart of public action. This requires, inter alia, full respect for jurisdictional decisions, beginning with decisions taken by the Constitutional Court. All members of the executive power that are involved in this matter at the State level, in the Federation and in the Republika Srpska, have the responsibility to ensure compliance.
It is equally advisable to arrest the indicted persons and refer them to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, beginning with Karadzic and Mladic. France actively supports the action of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) on the ground in this connection. We would urge all responsible officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina to unreservedly lend their cooperation to this action.
The international community must be prepared to support the Bosnian authorities in the best possible way to carry out the needed reforms. The restructuring agreed last week by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) will certainly be helpful. Actually implementing the PIC’s conclusions must begin without delay. We would like to thank Mr. Petritsch and his deputy, Mr. Hays, for the work they have accomplished over more than a year to encourage this to happen. The international civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be more compact, more coherent, and thereby more effective.
On the subject of restructuring, I would like to comment on the future of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). At our meeting on 5 December with Mr. Klein, I stressed that, as far as France is concerned, UNMIBH is an exemplary peacekeeping operation, with an exit strategy, ready to hand over at the end of 2002 to a regional organization that is to follow on with some of its functions. In this particular case, the organization involved at the meeting was the European Union, and the offer it made through the Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting in Brussels on 18 February was unanimously accepted by the PIC Steering Board. I was delighted that the European Union was thus in the forefront of institutions actually carrying out the Secretary-General’s ideas on how to develop coordination and complementarity between the United Nations and regional organizations. As Mr. Solana said, in coming months the United Nations and the European Union will be cooperating closely to ensure a seamless transition from UNMIBH to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM).
Within the context of restructuring the international civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union will strengthen its role overall in the area of the rule of law, particularly in helping to strengthen the judicial system. This should result in better assimilation of European norms and requirements in the country.
Mr. Petritsch, Mr. Klein and Mr. Solana have told us what the international community has been able to achieve in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since Mr. Petritsch comes to the end of his term in a few months, I would like to extend to him our deep gratitude for the success he has been able to achieve. Mr. Paddy Ashdown, who will succeed him as High Representative, will, of course, be able to count on solid support from France as he continues in the work of implementation the Dayton Accords. I would like to extend our best wishes to Mr. Jacques Paul Klein for his excellent and timely implementation of the UNMIBH mandate to date.
I would like to thank the representative of France for his kind words addressed to me.
My delegation welcomes your presence here today with us. We would like to thank you for organizing this meeting, just at the time that your country is taking over the presidency of our Council. I assure you of our full cooperation. Allow me to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to Mr. Adolfo Aguilar Zinser for the able manner in which he guided the work of the Council in February.
Mr. President, I would also like, through you, to welcome Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General; and Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union. Their statements have certainly given us further information about the processes under way in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would like to reiterate my delegation’s support for the efforts being made by all those involved in the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Following consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) on 5 December 2001, the Council assessed the slow but steady progress being made on the ground. It regretted difficulties facing the Mission and expressed its resolve to continue supporting it. Now would seem the right time to reflect altogether on follow-on action for UNMIBH. Here we have to think about the spirit of Mr. Klein’s words when he said that Bosnia is a test for us and that to abandon a multi-ethnic Bosnia would sound the death knell for all States in the Balkans.
It is undeniable that progress has been made by UNMIBH after six years of major commitment on the ground. Now comes the question of an exit strategy. Here, the role of regional organizations, particularly the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union, can offer significant support. It would be desirable not just to work on an exit strategy, but rather to develop a genuine strategy to ensure that the country can fully join the international community and European institutions and structures.
The information given to us by Mr. Solana, Mr. Klein and Mr. Petritsch show that the European Union is indeed resolved to take over from UNMIBH. My delegation welcomes the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of the European Union on 18 February 2002 and those of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council of 28 February 2002. We welcome the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board’s acceptance of the European Union offer to provide a police mission, beginning 1 January 2003, to take over and continue the work done by UNMIBH. We welcome the appointment by the Steering Board of Lord Paddy Ashdown as High Representative to replace Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, who has done an outstanding job.
My delegation would like to pay tribute to the electoral commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the work done in preparing for the first general elections, to be held on 5 October 2002. We appeal to the leaders of the political parties to ensure that citizens are able to do their civic duty and exercise all their rights. The commitment of the political leaders, the participation of the people and the support of the international community are all essential in this regard.
The task force initiative referred to by the High Representative merits our consideration.
My delegation has taken note of the information contained in the twenty-first report of the High Representative on the activities carried out from 26 August 2001 to 19 February 2002, within the context of implementing the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those activities are extremely important.
In conclusion, I would like to stress the need to prepare a coherent strategy based on the restoration and consolidation of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My delegation encourages coordination among the activities of UNMIBH, the European Union and the High Representative with a view to ensuring a seamless transition from the International Police Task Force to the European Union Police Mission. We believe that those efforts can be supplemented by the harmonization of the activities of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as of other actors.
First of all, I would like to join others in welcoming you, Sir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, to this very important meeting of the Security Council today. We are also grateful to Mr. Petritsch, Mr. Klein and Mr. Solana for their assessments of the current situation in Bosnia.
The Russian Federation believes that ensuring stability in Bosnia overall, and in each of its entities, is the main condition for further successful progress in the peace process, on the basis of the Peace Agreement, whose potential is far from exhausted.
We support the efforts of the High Representative with a view to restructuring the international presence and, in particular, the plan of action that he has prepared. We believe that all activities in Bosnia, including the proposed reorganization of the international forces there, should be aimed at strengthening Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, stable and independent State.
We have often emphasized that a solid foundation for Bosnian statehood can be laid only through the careful search by the Bosnian parties themselves for mutually acceptable solutions. To that end, the representatives of both entities must demonstrate greater willingness to cooperate, make compromises and find the strength within themselves to rise above narrow ethnic interests so as to achieve common Bosnian goals. Only thus will it be possible to ensure State structures and organs of authority that function normally at all levels, as well as an effective legislature and a single economic space. Progress in that direction will allow for conditions that will ensure stability and democracy for the political forces in the country, as well as economic, social and cultural development and integration into the European structures.
In that context, the question of constitutional reform is a priority. A decision in that respect must be taken by the sides themselves. Any other approach would necessarily lead to negative consequences for stability within the country, particularly on the eve of the Bosnian-wide elections, and would strengthen the position of nationalist parties in both entities. In this regard, it is necessary to be extremely cautious; the imposition on the Bosnians of any solution to this very significant problem by decree of the High Representative could, indeed, be counter-productive.
Another important aspect of strengthening the positive trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the overall regional situation. We believe that a solid, positive dynamic in the development of Yugoslav-Bosnian and Croatian-Bosnian relations is extremely important for the further stabilization of the Balkans. In this respect, new opportunities are opening up as a result of the recent signing between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of a bilateral agreement on free trade, the exchange of ambassadors between those two countries and the resumption of the work of the inter-State diplomatic commission on border issues of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
Those steps, geared towards establishing mechanisms for resolving specific problems that have built up in the relationship between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, are laying the foundations for solid, good-neighbourly relations. The achievement of that goal is also being assisted by the efforts of the High Representative to step up the process of the return, to the places where they used to live, of refugees and internally displaced persons from national minorities. Unless that problem is resolved, we can hardly talk about achieving real political stability in the country.
We share the concern about reports of the presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina of terrorist bases for organizations of the Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda type. We believe it important to take all necessary measures in order to eliminate from Bosnia and Herzegovina any environment conducive to extremists and extreme nationalists.
With regard to the work of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, such activities must be carried out strictly in accordance with the mandate that the Security Council gave SFOR; there must be no violations of that mandate, including the methods of cooperation with the Tribunal.
There is another matter relating to security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We must stress once again that attempts to establish a single army would run counter not only to the Peace Agreement but to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which states that defence matters are within the purview of the entities. Any effort to rush that process through would be counter-productive, and could disrupt the rather fragile balance of political stability that has begun to build up in the last few years between the Serbs one the one hand and the Bosniacs and Croats on the other.
We support the outcome of the Brussels meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, held on 28 February, including that part relating to the transfer to the European Union, on 1 January next year, of the functions of the management of the international police operation. It is important that we achieve a seamless agreed transition of the operation to the new format and ensure that the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) is duly and properly replaced by the European Union Police Mission, with, of course, the appropriate authorization by the Security Council. In this regard, we must remember that the work of the new Police Mission will not begin from scratch, as many of the tasks facing the IPTF have already been discharged, or will have been completed by the end of 2002. The issue, moreover, concerns the transfer of authority to the new mission and not a review of the United Nations operation’s existing mandate, which is based on the Dayton Agreements.
The Russian Federation intends to continue providing multifaceted support for the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single multi-ethnic State consisting of two fully equal entities — the Republika Srpska and the Federation — and will make a constructive contribution to resolving any problems remaining in the Bosnian settlement.
I thank the representative of the Russian Federation for his kind words addressed to me.
At the outset, we would like to express how honoured we are to see you, Sir, in the chair for today’s public meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Your chairing of the meeting clearly shows the importance that Norway attaches to the issue.
We are also honoured by the personal participation of the Secretary-General and thank him for his important statement.
We would like to welcome Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein and Mr. Javier Solana to the Council and thank them for their useful briefings. What they have told us today gives room for optimism as the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina moves forward on various fronts. We are certainly pleased that there has been further progress in bringing greater stability to the country and integrating it with Europe. Preparations for the first general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina under local responsibility, scheduled for 5 October this year, have made progress. Police restructuring and reform have made much headway. Last year saw an increase of 36 per cent in minority returns over those in 2000, and Bosnia and Herzegovina moved one step closer to joining the Council of Europe when the Council’s Political Affairs Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of the State’s membership.
At the same time, however, we are concerned about the slow progress in a number of crucial areas. The Republika Srpska authorities have not advanced much the process of reconciliation among the three constituent peoples. Although the Republika Srpska passed a law on cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic remain at large because of the Republic’s refusal to help arrest them. Judicial reform is still wanting and, in the economic area, the pace of reform continues to be sluggish.
Hence, while there is light shining through, dark clouds still hover over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The situation in the territory is far from being fully stabilized, which is clearly evident from there not being one single army. In the public meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina six months ago, we noted Ambassador Kolby’s remark that progress in the country was incremental and not fundamental. This, unfortunately, still holds true. As we also stated then, the underlying causes of the slow process of change for the better must be addressed. We hope that, with the efforts being made by all those involved, faster progress will be made at the fundamental level.
We are therefore encouraged that concerted efforts have been made to streamline the international civilian implementation efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We note that the Task Force Model endorsed by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council at its meeting on 28 February 2002 would raise the efficiency and effectiveness of the international presence and strengthen the role of the High Representative. The four Task Forces on the rule of law, institution building, economic policy, and return and reconciliation, under a cabinet of lead agencies chaired by the High Representative, provide the necessary focuses for tackling the underlying causes of the slow progress in the various aspects of Bosnia and Herzegovina. With the state authorities aptly integrated into these structures, we look forward to closer coordination and greater improvements in the country’s situation. Ultimately, it is the parties involved in the problem that must take ownership. We encourage the parties to maintain their sights on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s joining the European Union (EU) and to use it as a motivating force to pursue an all-inclusive, multi-ethnic society in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We welcome the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board’s acceptance of the EU offer of an EU Police Mission to take over from the International Police Task Force (IPTF) when the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) expires at the end of this year. An early decision would certainly facilitate a smooth transition from the IPTF to the EU Police Mission. We urge UNMIBH, the EU and the High Representative to make maximum use of the time available to ensure this. A seamless transition would bring to a fine conclusion the clear and well-planned exit strategy that has been established for UNMIBH. We again congratulate Mr. Klein and UNMIBH on their farsightedness in laying out a proper exit strategy that ensures that the rule of law will continue to be enhanced even when the United Nations leaves the scene. It is clear that, while there is no longer active conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation there has not reached the level of security and stability that would allow external security presences to leave the territory. As much as the EU Police Mission is required, the Stabilization Force (SFOR) also has to remain in the country when UNMIBH winds down.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is fortunate to have the support of the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. However, these organizations, too, cannot maintain their presence indefinitely. We note the EU’s direction that the EU Police Mission should achieve its goals by the end of 2005. We also understand that there are pressures on SFOR to downsize. The onus is therefore on the leaders and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to attain the fundamental progress needed to establish a fully viable State integrated with Europe.
Before I conclude, allow me to convey our appreciation and commendation to Mr. Petritsch for his commitment and efforts in advancing the peace process and improving the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In difficult circumstances, Mr. Petritsch has achieved substantial results during his term as High Representative. We would also like to join our colleagues in congratulating Lord Ashdown on being designated to take over as High Representative when Mr. Petritsch steps down from the post. As with Mr. Petritsch, we will give him our full support as he takes on this demanding and challenging assignment.
May I, on behalf of my delegation, join others in warmly welcoming you here today, Sir, at the beginning of Norway’s presidency of the Security Council. I would like to assure the Norwegian presidency of Ireland’s full support over the coming month. I would like also to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Aguilar Zinser of Mexico for his excellent presidency during the month of February.
Ireland would also like to thank the Secretary-General, High Representative Petritsch and Special Representative Klein for their comprehensive statements this morning. Ireland fully endorses the statement which High Representative Solana delivered on behalf of the European Union. I will therefore make only some brief comments in my national capacity.
My delegation would first like to warmly commend High Representative Petritsch for his outstanding contribution to the implementation of the peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. We wish him an equally successful final few months as High Representative. We thank him also for the most recent report of his activities regarding the implementation of the peace Agreement.
Ireland welcomes the appointment of Lord Ashdown as Mr. Petritsch’s successor as High Representative and we look forward to his further designation as European Union (EU) special representative in Bosnia. Lord Ashdown can count on Ireland’s full support as he prepares to take up his mandate.
High Representative Solana has outlined in detail the European Union’s decision to ensure the follow-on to the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) as of 1 January 2003, as agreed at the meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs Council on 18 February. Ireland welcomes the acceptance of the European Union’s decision by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, on 28 February. Ireland also welcomes the strong statement of support that the Security Council intends to give to the European Union’s decision on ensuring the follow-on Police Mission in the draft resolution that is due for adoption later today.
The proposed European Union Police Mission, or EUPM, will be the first mission mounted by the European Union under the rubric of European security and defence policy. Therefore, for those of us in the European Union and beyond, this is an important development, substantively and symbolically, and one that my delegation greatly welcomes.
The EUPM is designed to be an element in the European Union’s broader strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to cover the whole range of rule of law questions as well as institution-building programmes. The EUPM will contribute to the overall goals of peace implementation as outlined by High Representative Petritsch.
We look forward to the cooperation of all the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the transition phase approaches, and we once again urge those authorities to work with High Representative Petritsch and with the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Accords and the development, as we have heard emphasized this morning, of viable State institutions.
It is also right today to warmly thank Special Representative Klein and all those in UNMIBH, including in particular the International Police Task Force (IPTF), for their achievements to date in restructuring and reforming the law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ireland welcomes the appointment by High Representative Petritsch of the members of the Electoral Commission as part of preparations for the first general elections, to be held in October 2002. It is essential that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina be able to exercise their democratic rights without hindrance, and we fully support the work of the Electoral Commission.
We also welcome the current discussions between political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to come to an agreement regarding the Constituent Peoples Decision. It is clear that agreement on the implementation of this and other decisions of the Constitutional Court must come from the political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, so as to underline the readiness of the country to be admitted to the Council of Europe. It is important that they address this task urgently.
Failure to reach rapid agreement on that issue will have serious consequences for the holding of elections in October, as well as for Bosnia’s integration into European structures. We hope that satisfactory resolution of this issue, as well as enhanced cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s neighbours, can set the country on a road that leads towards integration with the European Union. This itself is in the hands of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ireland fully supports recent decisions on the streamlining of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the task-force model that has been introduced by High Representative Petritsch, and especially the extensive consultation process that has been undertaken with all peace implementation agencies as well as with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We look forward to the early implementation of the process, and welcome the strengthened effectiveness of the international presence that will be achieved under that model.
In conclusion, we have many challenges ahead that will require vigour and determination by the people of Bosnia: the forthcoming elections, strengthening civil society, addressing the issue of reconciliation, developing a strategy for domestic war crimes prosecutions, the full implementation of the decisions of the human rights chamber, and respect for social, economic and gender rights. We have come a long way on many of these issues, for which my delegation would like to warmly thank Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein. We greatly appreciate what they have done in the recent period.
Allow me, first of all, to heartily congratulate Mexico for a successful presidency during the month of February. Let me also congratulate Norway on its assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month. I also extend to you, Mr. President, our congratulations on presiding over this meeting. My delegations extends its full support and cooperation to you and your delegation.
We are pleased to have in our midst at today’s meeting Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union. I also wish to join other speakers in thanking Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein for their comprehensive briefings on developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have taken note of the important progress achieved since the last briefing given to the Council.
The relentless efforts put forth by Mr. Petritsch and his team in the implementation of the Dayton Agreement have brought about promising results in the overall development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We warmly welcome and congratulate Mr. Petritsch for the excellent manner in which he conducted his duties as the High Representative for two and a half years. As he decides to retire from his noble post, we wish him plenty of success in his future endeavours.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to Lord Ashdown, who has been appointed by the European Union as the successor to Mr. Petritsch. We also congratulate Mr. Klein for planning a clear-cut exit strategy from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As the European Union prepares to take Bosnia and Herzegovina into its fold, my delegation considers it appropriate at this stage that the European Union takes over United Nations police training and monitoring duties at the expiry of the latter’s mandate, in December 2002. However, all necessary precautions should be taken to preserve the achievements of the United Nations International Police Task Force mission (IPTF), as well the existing levels of institutional and personnel proficiency.
In that regard, we encourage all parties concerned — the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the European Union and the High Representative — to collaborate closely to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities from the IPTF to the European Union Police Mission. Here, I wish to echo the good words that we have just heard from the Secretary-General about the laudable works performed by UNMIBH.
My delegation believes in the continued involvement of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help build a politically and economically sustainable State that will fully integrate into Europe, and in enabling it to meet its international and regional obligations. The report before us highlights the complexities that exist in the re-shaping of the international community presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In that respect, we note with satisfaction the streamlining exercise envisaged by the High Representative to avoid duplication in the work of numerous international agencies. That exercise will certainly help bring about more interaction in a coordinated and complementary manner, for maximum benefit for Bosnia and Herzegovina. We welcome the importance of the role of the High Representative in guiding and coordinating the activities of civilian organizations and agencies involved in assisting the parties to implement the Peace Agreement.
The elections in October 2002 are approaching. It is in the best interest of local leaders to hold a dialogue aimed at finding a compromise solution. Political leaders should think of ways to move their country further away from the war and towards closer integration with the European Union. Bosnia and Herzegovina still has a long way to go to fulfil the conditions on the European Union road map. It is therefore imperative that efforts are stepped up at the local level to complete the outstanding points on the list so that the benefits of being a member of the European Union may be enjoyed. Given the developments on the ground, it is high time that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina take their destiny into their own hands.
Before I begin my statement, I should like to welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, Mr. Jan Petersen, and to express once again to him my country’s support for the Norwegian presidency of the Security Council. Mexico is confident that Norway’s enlightened and committed foreign policy will successfully guide the work of this body. I also thank you, Mr. Minister, for your words of tribute to Mexico’s presidency of the Security Council during the month of February.
Mexico would like also to join those delegations that have praised the work done by Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch as High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also welcome Lord Ashdown, who shortly will assume the office of High Representative. In our view, the work of the High Representative is vital in coordinating the efforts of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina with those of the international community. Mexico therefore thanks Mr. Petritsch for his efforts and dedication.
For a number of years now, Mexico has been following with particular attention the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has reviewed with interest the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Council with regard to a follow-up to the International Police Task Force and to the coordination of international efforts.
We look forward with interest to the holding of general elections on 5 October this year. We encourage the political leaders of the country to reach agreement by the middle of this month on the enactment of the Constituent Peoples’ Decision. We take note of the acceptance by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council of the European Union’s offer to provide a police mission, starting 1 January 2003, which would replace the International Police Task Force.
In supporting the draft resolution before us, Mexico appeals to the principal political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to come up with solutions that would be inclusive of minorities, democratic and respectful of human rights, in order to lay the groundwork for a future of harmonious coexistence.
Mr. President, Cameroon is extremely pleased to see Norway presiding over the Council this month, and we appreciate in particular your having convened this meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Today the Council is considering the report of the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. This consideration is of particular importance, for it is clear that this is a pivotal moment for Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 5 October 2002, the elections will be held, and, on 31 December 2002, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) will end.
In this connection, we welcome the presence at, and the participation in, this meeting of Mr. Solana, High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security of the European Union. We also appreciated the statements made at the beginning of this meeting, which enabled us to assess how far we have come and what has been done, as the Secretary-General said, to maintain the momentum for peace and reconciliation, and to establish a State based on the rule of law that respects human beings, their dignity and their rights.
Above all, those statements showed what action has to be taken in future. We were particularly enlightened by the statement made by the Secretary-General, whose vision and well-thought-out proposals will be helpful to our future work.
Having said this, my delegation would like to pay tribute to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch and to Mr. Klein for the commitment they have demonstrated, for their creative imagination, for their very balanced approach and for their spirit of cooperation. We would like to commend the methodical work they have done, which has been very helpful.
That work has been especially noteworthy in the following areas: training of the police, education, promotion of human rights, the establishment of State institutions based on the rule of law, and, lastly, facilitating Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into Europe. They helped to set up a multi-ethnic police force that respects human rights, trained those policemen and provided their equipment. We also commend the decision of the European Union to take over, as of 1 January 2003, from the International Police Task Force.
The second important area they have been working in is education. The report before us today shows clearly the importance of the contribution that was made in the preparation of textbooks and curricula that help to consolidate understanding and harmony. Cameroon believes that those efforts are important to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization states, since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed — hence, the importance of education.
The third important area, we believe, is that of the promotion of human rights. The progress made in the implementation of the Human Rights Chamber’s decisions, as described in the report, is important and encouraging. It is most promising.
The fourth area is the establishment of State institutions based on the rule of law. We welcome the measures taken to hold elections on 5 October 2002. We would like to hear a response to the question asked by the representative of the United Kingdom about the pre-election atmosphere, particularly with respect to security.
We welcome the decision by the Council of the European Union to recommend membership of the Union for Bosnia and Herzegovina, because in our view this would be a factor to lay the groundwork for the country’s future.
Finally, I wish every success to Lord Ashdown, who is replacing Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch as High Representative. We renew our thanks to Mr. Petritsch for the work he has done.
Let me begin by welcoming you, Mr. Jan Petersen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway. We are honoured that you are in the Chair at this meeting. Let me also reaffirm Colombia’s support for your delegation during its presidency; we know your leadership is a guarantee of success.
We also welcome Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr. Jacques Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and we thank them for their informative briefings today. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union; we are very grateful for his major announcements, which reflect the European Union’s decisive cooperation with the United Nations and its coordinating and complementary efforts as a regional body.
As other delegations have noted, this meeting marks the beginning of a new stage in the work of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We welcome the European Union decision of 18 February to create the European Union Police Mission, which beginning in January 2003 will replace the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) in bolstering the professional development of the Bosnia and Herzegovina police force and in establishing institution-building activities and programmes.
As the Secretary-General has noted in his most recent report on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (S/2001/1132), regional actors should become more active in the successor mission to UNMIBH with a view to preserving what the Mission has achieved and to continuing its work in a regional framework.
Peace and sustainable development in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to hinge on joint efforts by international entities such as UNMIBH, SFOR and the Office of the High Representative, among others, and by the Government and the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is therefore important that, before the official transition between missions next January, there be coordination among the various bodies in order to facilitate the transfer of functions. In our view, there must be close cooperation with the Government and civil society in Bosnia in order to link them to the transition process and ensure that it is a concerted process that will ensure the success of future programmes.
Mr. Petritsch’s work as High Representative has been key in creating administrative structures and coordination programmes that have enabled Bosnia and Herzegovina to attain the political, economic and social development that today allow it to be a viable candidate for membership of the European Union; Mr. Petritsch has made mention of Europeanization as part of that process. We thank him for his work and wish him every success in his future endeavours.
We note the appointment of Lord Ashdown as the new High Representative; we wish him every success in his work. We welcome the European Union decision to name the new High Representative as its special representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which in our view will facilitate coordination and exchanges of information between the new Police Mission and the Office of the High Representative. It also reflects the commitment of the European Union to centralizing the international community’s endeavours in Bosnia and Herzegovina under its leadership.
In the light of that new regional context, the United Nations is redefining its role in the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. Clearly, there must be continued commitment to implementing the agreement, but in this new framework the responsibility of the United Nations, and especially that of the Security Council, will change. There must be agreement on the new cooperation structure as soon as possible to facilitate the transition.
Among the issues brought out in the introductory briefings today, what stood out was the need to insist on bringing to trial those responsible for crimes committed during the conflict. We share that priority, and thus we stress the need for SFOR to help capture those individuals and to send them to The Hague to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We will therefore continue to call for greater cooperation by local authorities in seeing that due justice is done. It is therefore essential to spare no effort to strengthen the judicial system, both to effect institutional enhancement and to bring about true reconciliation.
My delegation welcomes you, Mr. Minister, and expresses its pleasure at seeing you in the Chair at today’s meeting. We thank the Secretary-General for his statement, and our thanks go also to Mr. Petritsch and Mr. Klein for their comprehensive briefings. We welcome Mr. Solana, and we thank him for his statement.
In recent years, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has made progress in police reform and training, and in the judicial field. This has laid a good foundation for the reconstruction and development of Bosnia. We hope that all the international agencies active in Bosnia and Herzegovina will work to enhance their coordination and cooperation so that, together, they can create the conditions necessary for the orderly departure of UNMIBH when it has fulfilled its core mandate.
With the help of the international community, Bosnia and Herzegovina has made remarkable progress in the political, economic, social and development spheres. The general elections, which will mark the people’s true ownership of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are to take place in October. Yet there are still differences on key issues among the various ethnic communities and the main political parties. We believe that the urgent tasks for reconstruction and for the restoration of peace and stability in the region are to eliminate differences among ethnic communities, ease social tension and promote national reconciliation. Here, the international presence faces difficult tasks and has a long way to go. We hope that through reasonable streamlining, the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its work and speed up the process of national reconciliation there.
The peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a critical stage. We welcome the European Union’s decision to send a Police Mission following the end of UNMIBH’s mandate. China will continue to support UNMIBH in its work, and we favour the adoption of a Security Council resolution in this respect.
In conclusion, we would like to express our appreciation to High Representative Petritsch, who for more than two years has accomplished much in coordinating the work of the agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the reconstruction of that country. We welcome the European Union’s designation of a new High Representative and hope that he will also play a constructive role in the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in promoting peace and stability in the region.
I thank the representative of China for his kind words.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of Norway.
But first, on behalf of the Security Council, I would like to thank High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch for having represented the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina in an exemplary manner. Norway commends the High Representative’s balanced approach: on the one hand, taking charge of the implementation of the Peace Agreements; on the other, encouraging the Bosnian authorities to show constructive leadership.
It is evident that local, entity and State officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina must increasingly take upon themselves the primary responsibility for progress in the reform process. At the same time, the international community must remain engaged. I agree with the High Representative that more focus should be given to strengthening institutional capacities and Bosnian “ownership” of the implementation of the Dayton Accords.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is on course for membership in the Council of Europe in the coming months. The elections scheduled for October will be the first for which the Bosnian authorities have the sole responsibility. These are important expressions of confidence by the international community. However, despite significant results thus far, extensive reforms are still needed to put Bosnia and Herzegovina firmly on the path to European integration. It rests with Bosnian leaders to demonstrate the political will to move forward. A case in point is the Constituent Peoples Decision. We strongly support the High Representative’s call to the Bosnian leaders urgently to find a compromise solution.
We welcome the decisions of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council on 28 February, including the decision on streamlining the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is vital that the international community act in a unified manner.
Norway commends Special Representative Klein and the personnel of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina for their strong contribution to the promotion of police reform and a self-sustaining peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are proud of the International Police Task Force, which will leave behind it a legacy of professionalism and dedication. We warmly welcome the readiness of the European Union, as stated by Mr. Solana, to provide a European Union Police Mission to follow up the good work of the United Nations in this field. Norway strongly supports the development of a European crisis management capability. I am pleased to note that the European Union will also invite non-member States to participate in its Police Mission.
We support the efforts to strengthen the rule of law, including the judiciary, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much work remains to be done. Political extremists and common criminals continue to hamper the return process throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Individuals indicted by the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have yet to be brought to justice. Norway is pleased by the recent actions taken by the NATO-led Stabilization Force in this regard. We expect local, entity and State authorities and courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina to act to fulfil their obligations to cooperate fully with the Tribunal.
I support the High Representative’s emphasis on a regional approach to integration. Neighbouring countries can make vital contributions to political stability and economic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ethnic tensions, organized crime, illegal trafficking and political extremism must be dealt with in a regional framework. In recent months, we have seen progress in the normalization of political relations among the countries of the region. These relations must be based on mutual recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State. There are also signs of cooperation among business communities and societies. This is promising.
In conclusion, I welcome the designation of Lord Ashdown as the future High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as also expressed in the Council resolution to be adopted in this meeting. I am convinced that he will enjoy the Council’s full support in carrying on Mr. Petritsch’s excellent work.
I now resume my function as President of the Council.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in today’s discussion on the occasion of the twenty-first report by the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes the report and considers that today’s session of the Security Council has a particular importance, not only for the peace-building process in my country, but also for stability in general in the region of South-Eastern Europe. We expect that the planned follow-on mission to the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) will mark a new, European phase in the peace implementation process and will open European Union perspectives for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I thank the Secretary-General for his presence and introductory statement and the High Representative, Wolfgang Petritsch, for his address. I also thank the Special Representative, Jacques Paul Klein, and the High Representative, Javier Solana, for the comprehensive updates and comments in their briefings.
Bosnia and Herzegovina became a full member of the United Nations on 22 May 10 years ago. In May this year, when the final positive decision concerning its membership is expected, Bosnia and Herzegovina will be ready to become a full member of the Council of Europe. This time gap clearly indicates that for almost a decade, my country was a major global and regional problem. It is now obvious that the ideology of exclusive ethnic territories was at the core of the conflict.
During the last year, substantial progress was recorded in the peace implementation process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This progress was achieved both as a result of more focused and coherent activities of the international community and because, for the first time since 1992, a democratic, multi-ethnic Government, committed to work in partnership with the international community in building a functioning, democratic, multi-ethnic, European-oriented Bosnian State, was finally established. The role of UNMIBH has been substantial in achieving progress in the rule-of-law sector, and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina considers UNMIBH to have been successfully implemented. We thank Mr. Klein for his leadership and commitment.
We especially emphasize the assistance and very constructive role of UNMIBH in supporting the activities concerning the fight against terrorism initiated after the terrorist attacks on 11 September. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown by its deeds a commitment to contribute to antiterrorism activities. In this regard, we have really proved to be a part of the solution to this global problem.
We clearly recognize UNMIBH’s activities as an integral part of the international community’s assistance to the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina within a recently developed partnership concept. We also acknowledge the efforts and contributions of the other United Nations agencies, especially concerning refugee returns. However, we consider the progress achieved in the last year to be only the first step in the process of building a sustainable country. In this process, the current priorities of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina are those of institution-building, improvement in the rule of law sector and implementation of economic reforms.
Considering the long-term orientation of UNMIBH towards the self-sustainability of local institutions, we emphasize the need for further assistance from the international community, since the progress achieved so far is still fragile. In this context, we expect that the transition from the present UNMIBH mission to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) will be both smooth and efficient. We would like to thank the European Union for accepting the challenge of working together with the local institutions in this important sector of the peace process implementation. The commitment and determination of Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions in this matter was confirmed in a letter to the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and to the European Union, signed by the President of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Government and the Presidents of both entities, in which the EUPM is very welcome.
The European Union experience in the Europeanization process concerning the necessary structural reforms to be made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with European standards, is of utmost importance. We expect that EUPM assistance will be focused on the further education of police and judiciary officials, as well as on the monitoring of the process of restructuring institutions and reform in the rule of law sector. In this regard, we welcome the proposed strategy for judicial reform in 2002-2003 and emphasize the need for more decisive and firmer measures to be taken by the international community for its implementation.
I would like to use this opportunity to stress the most important current issues in the process of political stabilization in my country.
First, it is expected that by the end of this month the implementation process of the Constitutional Court decision regarding equal rights of all constituent peoples on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be finalized. The implementation of the Court’s decision will prove that the ideology of exclusive ethnic territories has been defeated. The outcome of this process will have a decisive impact on the results of the forthcoming general elections, too.
Secondly, the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), especially the trial against Slobodan Milosevic, substantially influence the current political situation in my country. We expect the trial against Milosevic to prove his individual responsibility for the wars in the last decade and thus contribute to inter-ethnic reconciliation in the region.
However, we emphasize that a viable reconciliation process is not possible while indicted war criminals remain at large and while political leaders in the region refuse to cooperate fully with the Tribunal. Real reconciliation can be based only upon truth and justice. Six years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the failure to apprehend indicted war criminals — above all Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, who are the symbols of suffering, pain and humiliation of the civilian population — prevents the beginning of a sincere inter-ethnic reconciliation and sustainable peace-building process. We want to emphasize that the leading role of the international community regarding arrest of the already indicted war criminals is of crucial importance and at the same time a test of its credibility in the region. Its readiness to give utmost priority to making their arrests happen will be proof of its commitment to support the work of the ICTY and to the establishment of a system of international justice.
I would like to welcome the decision of the Peace Implementation Council and the proposed resolution of the Security Council regarding the appointment of Lord Paddy Ashdown as the new High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also want to thank Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch for his commitment and leadership demonstrated during his mandate. I know that sometimes the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina looks very complicated and confusing for representatives of the international community. But, for the Bosnians, some activities of the representatives of the international community also look misleading and confusing.
Therefore, we expect that the mandate of the new High Representative will be based on a clear vision, strategy and concept of how to support the process of building a sustainable multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also expect a more coherent policy and more coordinated work of the international institutions, and we welcome the proposed model to streamline their operations.
The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also committed to working towards increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the local institutions. We expect to work together with representatives of the international community to find new models of institutional structures, especially at the level of State institutions, in order to achieve objectives that have been set.
Because the termination of UNMIBH’s mandate by the end of this year is now certain, we think that the United Nations should prepare a comprehensive evaluation of its involvement in the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement implementation. This evaluation could serve as a basis for further evolution of the peace process and guidance for an upgrade and update process of the current Bosnia and Herzegovina Dayton constitutional structure, in accordance with European human rights standards.
I now give the floor to the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, whom I invite to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Before addressing the subject under discussion today, I would like to congratulate Norway on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. It is a particular honour to participate in today’s deliberations under your guidance, Your Excellency.
We are grateful for the Secretary-General’s very important statement. I would like to thank Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch for his comprehensive report on the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as for his briefing today, and to avail myself of this opportunity to convey the appreciation of my Government for his achievements as High Representative. Also, I extend our appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jacques Klein, for his efforts and accomplishments in leading the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), as well as for his detailed analysis today.
We are all aware of the importance of this meeting. It signifies the announcement of a new and significant phase of international commitment in Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the European Union will play a pivotal role. We have just heard Mr. Javier Solana’s inspired assessment of this task. Indeed, this is yet another example of the European Union’s involvement, which is so crucial to the entire region.
On this special occasion, allow me to reiterate that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as a signatory of the Dayton/Paris Agreement, remains a staunch supporter of its full implementation. Yugoslavia has respected, and will continue to respect, the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and has demonstrated its readiness to develop cooperation with it. The relations between our countries are characterized by a dynamic political dialogue, exemplified by many contacts between the highest representatives of the two States.
As a follow-up to an earlier decision to establish an inter-State council, a meeting of the Council was held on 18 December 2001 to institutionalize all-round cooperation between the two countries. During the recent visit of Prime Minister Lagumdzija to Belgrade on 19 February, the Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council decided on a joint approach to projects financed by the international community, particularly within the framework of regional cooperation and the Stability Pact. Close contacts between the parliaments of the two countries have been established as well. In November 2001, a delegation of the Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia paid the first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. A return visit followed in February this year.
In the area of political deliberations, bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are gradually being expanded into the field of economic and other forms of cooperation of the most immediate practical interest for the citizens of the two countries. A free trade agreement was signed in Belgrade on 1 February 2002, a significant step along the road of regional cooperation among Balkan States. An agreement on the encouragement of mutual investments and a customs cooperation agreement were also signed, as were a number of other accords that will enhance ties between the two economies and help secure a free flow of goods and capital. Dual citizenship issues are in the process of being regulated, as are the delineation of the borderline between Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. To that effect, an Inter-State Commission for the State Border has been established, and its work is progressing well.
Special parallel relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Republika Srpska should also be understood in the overall context of relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are firmly based on the Dayton/Paris Agreement, their framework was prepared in cooperation with the High Representative, and they are fully transparent.
One of the outstanding issues that requires sustained attention is the return of refugees. In this connection, I would like to point out that, as a result of my Government’s initiative, the heads of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) missions to Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia have agreed on the principles for refugee returns. The document they signed in this connection was confirmed by the OSCE Standing Committee, as well as by a joint statement by the delegations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Yugoslavia in Vienna, which was strongly welcomed by the OSCE. We hope that this important development will be reflected on the ground.
Yugoslavia has made its relations with neighbouring countries one of its foreign policy priorities. Through this lasting, strategic determination, we are contributing to the strengthening of regional stability, which is a prerequisite for, and the best means of, speeding up the process of integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures — a goal that all of us in the region share. The further development and improvement of our relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina constitutes an extremely important element of such an approach. My Government also looks forward to working closely with Lord Ashdown, the newly designated High Representative, towards the fulfilment of this aim, and we wish him success in discharging the important responsibilities that he will soon assume.
I thank the representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Croatia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
At the outset, I would like to welcome Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ambassador Jacques Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). I would also like to welcome Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council and High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, whose presence here is a clear sign of the European Union’s commitment to ensuring the stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On number of occasions during his mandate, Mr. Petritsch found himself in virtually impossible situations — Bosnia and Herzegovina has a reputation for being the ultimate challenge for international officials. But his will and determination to perform his task prevailed over all difficulties.
I would like to assure his successor, Lord Ashdown, that Croatia is committed to continue to contribute to the stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that he will be able to rely on our help while performing his role.
I have known Jacques Klein, and successfully cooperated with him, in various capacities for many years. His contribution to the success of the two completely different United Nations missions in South-East Europe — the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium in Croatia, and UNMIBH in Bosnia and Herzegovina — represents an unprecedented accomplishment.
The United Nations has decided that, at this particular moment, its presence is needed more elsewhere than it is in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proposal has been made that it should be replaced by a regional organization. The European Union acted quickly, deciding to take over. In our view, that decision was the most appropriate. Taking into account Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European aspirations, it is appropriate that the European Union should continue the daunting task of carrying out police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We wish the European Union every success in its endeavours. As Bosnia and Herzegovina’s neighbour and friend, and as aspirants to future European Union membership, we stand ready to provide assistance, if needed.
On the other hand, it will be possible for the United Nations to continue its presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina by monitoring human rights through the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr. Cutileiro, whose future mandate will be discussed during the forthcoming session of the Commission in Geneva.
With regard to the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka — which, in its administrative aspect, is linked to UNMIBH — my Government believes that its mandate should, in its own right, expire by 15 July this year.
This year will be filled with important events for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I have already briefly mentioned some of them. However, one of those events will have special importance for the future of the country: the admission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe on 2 May. That is going to accelerate democratic processes, the rule of law and the protection of human rights — developments that we in Croatia have experienced since the moment we joined the organization in 1996. Throughout the whole process of accession, Croatia was one of the staunchest advocates of the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the Council of Europe. We are delighted to see this process coming to an end, and we wholeheartedly congratulate our neighbour on this well-deserved success.
If Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to fully embrace European standards with regard to the protection of human rights, it will have to adapt its institutional structure. Further efforts need to be made towards implementing the Constitutional Court’s decision on the equal rights of all three constituent peoples throughout the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We simply cannot expect the authorities in Sarajevo to implement all the requirements stemming from membership in the Council of Europe, while at the same time still struggling for the bare survival of an ethnically divided State.
My Government would like to see the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina working together to bring about an evolution of the present constitutional arrangement so that it can respond to the new political environment and the new challenges arising from it. We hope that the forthcoming elections in October will represent another step in the development of a sustainable, European-oriented Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is our hope that these will provide a smooth transition from the “Dayton” Bosnia and Herzegovina, aimed at stopping the conflict and pragmatic life-saving, towards a “European” Bosnia and Herzegovina — a sustainable State, corresponding to European standards of good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
On the same note, we see acceptance in the Council of Europe only as a first step towards the further and deeper inclusion of Bosnia and Herzegovina into European integration. Hopefully in the near future, Bosnia and Herzegovina will start negotiating a stabilization and association agreement with the European Union — the type of agreement that Croatia recently signed. My Government stands ready to share our experiences of that process.
We firmly believe that the recently opened trial against Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, marks the beginning of a new era for our region. It is closing a chapter for hundreds of thousands of those in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo who lost their loved ones and had to continue to live with the bitter memories. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic will also serve to benefit a better understanding of the course of events in the former Yugoslavia and, consequently, to benefit reconciliation among the people of South-East Europe.
Unfortunately, last week’s attempts by the Stabilization Force (SFOR) to apprehend Radovan Karadzic, another notorious war criminal, were not successful. He is still at large and, together with Ratko Mladic, should remain at the priority list of The Hague Tribunal. The presence of Radovan Karadzic in Bosnia and Herzegovina constitutes a permanent threat to the stability of the country and creates a danger that has to be dealt with. The lack of success — or the lack of political will — to arrest Karadzic also negatively reflects on the credibility of SFOR and undermines international efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina overall. I reiterate what I have said on previous occasions: there can be no sustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina with Karadzic and Mladic at large.
Croatia will continue to broaden the scope of bilateral cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, with which we share a wide range of common interests. This cooperation, like every process, has its ups and downs, good periods and periods of missed opportunities. It is crucial that the general trend of bilateral relations remain positive. Just yesterday, the Croatian Deputy Foreign Minister visited Sarajevo and had a very constructive dialogue with the Bosnian leadership, while the Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be visiting Zagreb later this week.
Let me conclude. Bosnia and Herzegovina is crucial to Croatia as our neighbour, as the homeland for Bosnian Croats, as our economic partner and as our friend. Therefore, Croatia is willing to fully support international efforts to facilitate a sovereign, stable and sustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fully respecting that its constitutional arrangement is a matter for the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of all its citizens, we sincerely hope that its new constitutional arrangement will truly reflect the equal rights of the three constituent peoples on all of its territory as a prerequisite for the successful return of refugees, for the protection of human rights, stability and sustainability, and for further successful inclusion into European integration processes.
I thank the representative of Croatia for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Ukraine. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I am glad to welcome you, Sir, to this Chamber, where the Norwegian peace philosophy — depicted in the famous mural before our eyes — has for decades inspired the Security Council’s members. I would also like to join other speakers in congratulating your delegation upon its successful beginning of the Security Council presidency.
It is my special privilege to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Secretary General/High Representative Javier Solana, High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch and Special Representative and Coordinator Jacques Paul Klein for their important statements today.
My delegation is also pleased to greet here the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that had to go through the ordeal of war to become, I believe, a symbol of peace, inter-ethnic reconciliation and religious tolerance.
Ukraine welcomes the decision of the European Union (EU) to take on the United Nations-led international mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, starting its first crisis-management operation under the new Security And Defence Policy. The intention of the European Union to make a leading contribution to the streamlining of the overall civilian and police presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a fundamental step, which should accelerate further positive changes in that country. The EU activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not only a test case for the European ability to preserve what has been achieved in that country and to promote Europe-oriented development; it is also a clear political and economic challenge to the European Union’s new crisis management strategies and methods.
In this context, Ukraine welcomes the agreement of the European Union to invite non-EU member States to participate in the future Police Mission. Having already expressed our interest in being involved in the EU-led military crisis-management operations and in the European Security and Defence Policy-related processes, including military and civilian aspects, my Government reiterates its readiness to contribute to the EU Police Mission. Having participated in all the international peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina — from the United Nations Protection Force, the Implementation Force and the Stabilization Force to the International Police Task Force — Ukraine remains committed to achieving the goals of peace and stability in that country.
I would like to inform the Council that, early next week, the special representative of the Ukraine in the Balkans, Deputy Secretary of State Ihor Kharchenko, will pay an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss practical forms of bilateral cooperation as well as other issues related to Ukraine’s participation in international efforts in the region.
It is with regret that we learned of the decision of Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch to step down from his post at the end of May 2002. As was stated in his lucid briefing, visible results have been achieved in implementing priority tasks endorsed by the Peace Implementation Conference in May 2000.
My delegation notes with particular satisfaction positive changes in economic reform. Tangible progress has been made in the consolidation of state institutions. The implementation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Constitutional Court’s “Constituent Peoples’ Decision” is in a crucial phase. Comprehensive reform of the judicial system has been instituted. In the past two years alone, there have been more than 130,000 returns of citizens to areas where their ethnic group was a minority. Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina seems to be ready to hold general elections in October that will be the first since the end of the war to be organized by the local authorities.
In all these achievements, Ukraine recognizes the valuable contribution made by Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch. Appreciating his useful efforts during the past two and a half years, we wish Mr. Petritsch every success in his further endeavours. We also welcome the decision of the Peace Implementation Council to designate Lord Ashdown as the new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and pledge our full cooperation with him.
On behalf of the Government of Ukraine, I would like to pay tribute to the men and women of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), led by Mr. Jacques Paul Klein.
My delegation is encouraged by the important good news from the field highlighted today by Mr. Klein and welcomes the valuable results obtained in the spheres of police reform, police restructuring, institution-building and inter-police force cooperation. We hope that all these positive developments will be preserved in the future and we strongly believe that the practical goals determined by UNMIBH will be successfully implemented by the EU follow-on mission.
Let me conclude by reiterating my country’s utmost support for the intense efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a democratic and prosperous society with respect for the rights of each and every citizen. We look forward to further steps aimed at strengthening the principles of the rule of law and at fostering processes of institution-building and economic transformation.
My delegation also pays special attention to the protection of the rights of persons that belong to national minorities, in particular the Ukrainian community. This issue is still a matter of concern to us and we count on the further assistance of the High Representative/EU Special Representative in further improving the situation in this sphere. We also believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political leaders will demonstrate the necessary resolve to guide that country into a European community led by the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance and the Council of Europe.
I thank the representative of Ukraine for his kind words addressed to me.
I now give the floor to Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch to respond to the comments made and the questions raised.
As the time is already quite far advanced, I would like to just quickly respond to the issues of overall security prior to the elections and to the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ).
With regard to the security situation, I believe Jacques Paul Klein will be able to give the Council more details as to the police and law-enforcement side of the overall situation there. I would like to take this opportunity to stress the fact that, in order to provide for a safe and secure environment, the continued presence of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) is of the utmost importance, both for the upcoming elections as well as for the immediate period thereafter.
I also believe that, ultimately, it is up to the local authorities to provide the necessary safety and security for their citizens. The reform of the judiciary and that of the civil service, which is still ahead of us, are two very important aspects in fostering civilian security. The reform-oriented, multi-ethnic Government is very much aware of the fact that, in the immediate post-war era, security and, of course, personal safety are of great importance.
One of the continued security risks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so to speak, is political and other types of extremism. But again, in this area the change has been quite considerable. That change can also be demonstrated even when it comes to the radical tendencies that prevailed in the course of last year in the HDZ. That is the second question I am trying to answer.
When I talk about extremism in the HDZ I am basically and exclusively referring to the radical top leadership, not to the great number of decent members of that party who are seriously, and rightly, concerned about the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Again, I am confining myself to the radical top leadership that has tried to split away from the Constitutional Framework in the course of last year, when it was out-voted by the incoming reform-oriented Government, the Alliance for Change; when it called for a total boycott of Federation institutions; when it established extra-constitutional, illegal institutions; when it called for desertion and 7,000 ethnic Croats left the entity armed forces within days; when they called for a tax boycott — that, in fact, was the gravest crisis since Dayton — and when they also started to boycott the legislative bodies in the Federation and at the State level.
Things have changed very considerably since then. I have had to intervene forcefully. I had to dismiss the party President, who was also a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time. I had to put the Hercegovacka Banka, which served as a money-laundering institution for the radicals, under provisional administration. At the same time, I also continued the dialogue with the moderate forces in the Croat community and inside the HDZ.
The crisis has been basically over since November. The HDZ has returned to legislative bodies. It is very clear that there is now a split inside the party. The sidelined extremists realize that their time is over. It is also very clear now that this party will have to come up with new leadership. Changes are therefore imminent, thanks to the continued support that the Government in Zagreb is lending to reform and moderation inside the Croat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this regard, things are on the upswing. I believe we will see a better future for the Croat constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina once these decisions have been taken by the HDZ.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for your very kind words. I also wish to thank speakers for their kind words about my work and the achievements in more than two and a half years in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I think what is more important, of course, is the Council’s continued support; because I am convinced that Bosnia and Herzegovina can indeed become a full-fledged member of the European community of sovereign States, as well as of the international community, of course. That will be the ultimate proof that our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been in vain.
Ambassador Simonovi pointed out that this job is the ultimate challenge, and I fully agree with him. But we will ultimately be successful. That is also my conviction. I believe that, now that my mandate is drawing to a close, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is far more promising than it was. That is thanks to the concerted efforts on the part of the international community, in conjunction with the partnership that has been built over the past couple of months. I again urge the Security Council to fully continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina. I personally urge the Council to give its full support to my successor.
I thank Mr. Petritsch for the clarifications he has provided.
I now give the floor to Mr. Jacques Paul Klein to respond to the comments made and questions raised.
I will also be brief.
Police professionalism is improving, but we need to pay the police a living wage. A food basket for a family of four in Bosnia and Herzegovina costs 450 convertible marks. Many policemen are paid less than that. We know, obviously, that in all of our countries, when you pay the police and civil servants a reasonable wage, you minimize corruption. Our major goal this year is the rationalization of police salaries. We will be working closely with the leadership of the Federation and the Republika Srpska to discuss, and address, that issue.
With regard to Herzegovina, I think much depends on the constitutional decisions that will be made in the coming weeks. As I said three weeks ago in Mostar, the Croats needs to engage constructively with the State institutions to use the power they have. Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot work as a European State without Croats and Serbs, but they have too often been misguided and misled by leaders who put their own financial interests above the interests of their people. We have an old Alsatian proverb that says “If you ride a dead horse, you’re not going to get very far.” It is time they got off the dead horse. We still have all too many leaders who led them into war and not into peace. They have addressed a past that they cannot change; there is a future they cannot yet see. Some people still vote too “ethnically”; they still do not vote economically or politically, as we wish they would.
In closing, let me say that progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina may be slow. It is, at times, hesitant. But there is real progress. Obstructionists remain, but there is an old Bosnian proverb that says “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.”
Finally, let me also thank and congratulate my colleague Wolfgang Petritsch for the work he has done in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also thank the President and the members of the Council for their generous comments directed at my people. I will take those back to Sarajevo with me, and let them know that you think kindly of them.
I thank Mr. Klein for the clarifications he has provided.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution (S/2002/221) to the vote now.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, France, Guinea, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Syria, United Kingdom, United States
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1396 (2002).
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.