Security Council briefed on work of UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Security Council briefed on work of UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Regional actors should assume responsibility for a follow-up mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a top United Nations peacekeeping official told the Security Council today as it held an open meeting to review the situation in the country.

Briefing Council members on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's most recent report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said such an operation should be solid enough to maintain the accomplishments of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and bring to fruition ongoing projects. According to the report, UNMIBH is expected to complete its core mandate by December 2002, as envisaged in its implementation plan.

Mr. Annabi noted that not all projects contained in the plan would be fully completed by the end of 2002, since they were designed to establish ongoing mechanisms and structures, such as those for minority recruitment or for inter-entity and regional police cooperation. Those structures would require post-UNMIBH nurturing, he said, which called for continued monitoring and assistance in order to preserve what had been achieved by the UN over the last six years. Further, some of UNMIBH's projects, such as the State Border Service, depended on securing additional financial assistance.

Noting that it would be desirable for a follow-up mission to combine responsibilities for the police, judiciary and penal system, Mr. Annabi cited assessments that such a task could be carried out by a smaller police force of approximately one-quarter of UNMIBH's present staff -- perhaps 450 police officers.

In the ensuing debate, which involved delegates from all 15 members of the Security Council, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirza Kuljugic, said that the accomplishments reflected in the report were part of the overall improvement in his country. After the general elections, he said, a multi-ethnic government had been established that was committed to working with the international community to building a multi-ethnic State. Emphasizing that progress achieved so far was only part of the process of bringing the country closer to Europe, he said the report was a good opportunity to emphasize the most important issues and the long-term economic transition.

UNMIBH, which comprises the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a UN civilian office established by the Council in December 1995, exercises a wide range of functions related to the law enforcement functions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also coordinates other UN activities in the country relating to humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction.