UN official hails move by key European forum to admit Bosnia and Herzegovina

UN official hails move by key European forum to admit Bosnia and Herzegovina

Reacting to today's decision by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly to recommend approval of Bosnia and Herzegovina's application to join the Council, the head of the United Nations Mission in the Balkan country welcomed the move as an important development for the nation and the region as a whole.

Jacques Paul Klein, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the head of UNMIBH, as the Mission is known, said in a statement that the decision was a "historical step in defining the country's national identity through membership in a common value system based on respect for individual freedoms, the rule of law and participatory government."

"Accession will create greater mutual confidence in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina, its neighbours and wider Europe," said the statement issued in Sarajevo. "It will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to fulfil its promise of being the most multi-ethnic democratic country in the Balkans."

Mr. Klein stressed that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina had made enormous progress, and with the help of the international community, had put their energy into building a better future. "The Parliamentary Assembly's expression of confidence will help take Bosnia and Herzegovina a step closer to its rightful place in the European community of nations," he added.

"The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is privileged to have helped play a part in placing [the country] on the path to integration into Europe," the statement said.