Bosnia and Herzegovina: UN leaves legacy of well-trained police force, Annan says

Bosnia and Herzegovina: UN leaves legacy of well-trained police force, Annan says

After 10 years in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Nations leaves behind the legacy of a well-trained police force as well as an environment for achieving full normalization in the country, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in Sarajevo.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the Bosnian Council of Ministers, the Secretary-General said that the UN would be passing on a police force "that is competent, that is well-trained and is trained to do democratic policing, protecting the individual and their properties, and also a police force that meets European standards."

The UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) is slated to conclude its mandate at the end of this year, after primarily focussing on training the country's multi-ethnic police force. The European Union (EU) will take over the task on 1 January.

Mr. Annan also underscored the UN's success in working with other international partners and the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to stabilize the country. Those efforts were able to "create an environment which we can build on and develop a normal State, a normal State with a viable economy, a normal State that can now look to a future in a common European home," he said.

The Secretary-General hailed the Government’s determination to focus on key priorities, saying that in his talks with senior officials, they agreed on the need to quicken the pace of reform, strengthen the rule of law and improve the economy. “But the Government will need help from the international community,” he stressed.

"[The UN's] withdrawal does not mean the disengagement of the international community," Mr. Annan said. "There will be continuity with the EU, with the other UN agencies," he added, pledging to personally stay engaged in the process.