International support still needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Security Council told

International support still needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Security Council told

Jacques Paul Klein
While the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has successfully implemented many aspects of its mandate, the country still requires international support to overcome the remaining challenges, the head of the UN operation said today in an open briefing to the Security Council.

While the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has successfully implemented many aspects of its mandate, the country still requires international support to overcome the remaining challenges, the head of the UN operation said today in an open briefing to the Security Council.

In a review of the Mission’s achievements since last November, Jacques Paul Klein said that UNMIBH has successfully carried out its responsibilities, promoted local confidence in police institutions and created a police force “fit for Europe.”

“Timelines and success indicators have kept us focused and on track and have provided a methodology to achieve our goals and objectives,” Mr. Klein said. “The fact that security is no longer a problem for the return of refugees and displaced persons anywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a sea-change in police performance,” he noted, adding that once some projects are completed, the country would have all the crime-fighting apparatus of a modern State.

Looking ahead to the end of the year, when a European Union Police Mission (EUPM) will take over police training from the UN Mission, Mr. Klein noted that UNMIBH staff has been helping the EU planning team to ensure a seamless transition and that planning appeared to be going well.

The UNMIBH chief emphasized that the success of the EU Mission depended on establishing mutually supportive relations with the European Commission, and he urged both the EU and the European Commission to ensure from the beginning that their projects and funding priorities were mutually reinforcing.

As for the remaining impediments, Mr. Klein warned that the lack of political commitment by the citizens to the State, the continued presence of war criminals and the absence of the rule of law stood in the way of both internal stability and external security.

“Until these issues are resolved, the international community cannot reduce or end its engagement,” he stressed. “The risks of doing so, domestically and regionally, would be grave with a high likelihood that the international community would be forced to re-engage later, at an even greater cost.”