I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union on the Resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is being discussed today. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and the EFTA countries belonging to the European Economic Area Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
I would like first of all to thank Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, the High Representative of the international community for his outstanding work so far in implementing the Dayton Agreements. Our thanks also go to all those who have provided help and support in this task, in particular the UNMIBH, the International Police Task Force, the SFOR, the OSCE and the NGOs. Their daily efforts play a major role in the process of rebuilding a multi-ethnic and peaceful Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On the whole the European Union is satisfied with the progress made in implementing the Dayton Agreements, and the positive results achieved in Bosnia and Herzegovina are reflected in the draft Resolution. Much progress has been made since the Resolution was adopted at the General Assembly’s 55th session, but, above all, past efforts have been consolidated. However, we wish to stress once again that responsible political management, combined with total and immediate determination to implement institutional, legal and economic reforms in full, are essential prerequisites for full implementation of the Dayton Agreements and rapid integration into European Union structures.
We warmly welcomed the adoption of the Electoral Law by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina last August. This basic building block of any democratic state or society was sorely lacking; its adoption marked the beginning of a new stage in the redefinition of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent and multi-ethnic State. It is a step towards Bosnia and Herzegovina’s admission to the Council of Europe, and it is a step in the direction of the European institutions within the spirit of the Road Map laid out at the Zagreb Summit in November 2000.
We strongly urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue with implementation of that Road Map, particularly with regard to the economic situation, which calls for further improvement. The process of stimulating the country’s economic growth and the level of welfare of its citizens must be taken forward. As the Resolution stresses, corruption and lack of transparency must be strenuously combated in order to ensure the country’s economic development. A similar combat must be waged against the evils of smuggling, trafficking in human beings and organized crime, which have urgently to be eradicated.
Generally speaking, progress has been made in helping refugees to return to all parts of the country. We would encourage the High Representative to continue his campaign to raise the awareness of international, national and local institutions in order to step up their cooperation in this regard. We welcome the initiatives, both national and regional, which have been taken to help refugees to return to the region. And we strongly condemn all acts of intimidation, violence and murder, especially those intended to deter refugees and displaced persons from returning voluntarily.
The European Union sets great store by collaboration with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. We renew our call to all the parties concerned, without exception, to do their utmost to support the Tribunal’s endeavors and to surrender indictees immediately.
We continue to support the work of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in particular the measures he has taken, or will have to take, to tackle obstructionism. No obstacles can be allowed to stand in the way of implementation of the Dayton Agreements, and it is of paramount importance that the High Representative should be able to continue to oversee that process.
We had the opportunity to discuss the subject of rationalizing the UNMIBH at a recent session of the Security Council. On current performance, the UNMIBH should complete its core tasks by the end of its mandate in December 2002. The next stage will involve monitoring and assistance activities. The European Union appreciates and supports the High Representative’s global approach to restructuring the current civilian presence on the ground. The transition must be planned intelligently and the avenues open to us for streamlining the presence of the international community on the ground must be explored, while bearing two goals in mind: efficiency and coordination.
The encouraging developments in the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in line with the situation in the region, to which stability and peace are returning. At the regional level, the European Union fosters cooperation projects, supports economic integration and encourages anchoring the region more firmly to Europe in the Stability Pact process. The Zagreb Summit, which resulted in the EU Road Map, made for progress in this rapprochement and made it possible to consider the region as a whole. The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the peace and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the entire region. The EU is the main troop contributor, the chief donor and the principal provider of technical aid. The results so far are very heartening and confirm the Union in its intended continued commitment.
Thank you, Mr. President.