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Security Council voices appreciation for successful end to UN's Bosnia mission

Security Council voices appreciation for successful end to UN's Bosnia mission

UN Security Council in session
The Security Council today expressed its deep appreciation for the cooperative efforts that brought about the successful conclusion of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the mandate of which expires on 31 December.

Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, which currently holds the Council's rotating Presidency, read out a statement at an open meeting in which the 15-nation body welcomed the European Union's decision to send a Police Mission from 1 January, as part of a broader rule of law approach, and an emphasis on the close coordination with UNMIBH to ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities.

The statement also reiterated that the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina had primary responsibility for the further implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. It stressed that the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to assume further burdens of implementation and reconstruction would be determined by the compliance and active participation by all the authorities in the country in implementing the Peace Agreement and reforms needed to rebuild a civil society.

Speaking at the outset of the Council's meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said UNMIBH had successfully completed the most extensive police reform and restructuring project ever undertaken by the UN and that the country had now a police force “fit for Europe.”

He added that, with the end of two missions, UNMIBH and the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), an era of UN involvement in the former Yugoslavia had come to an end. "This era has seen some of peacekeeping's bitterest moments, which have left a lasting impression on the Organization, and on all of us who were personally involved," he said.

The Secretary-General also noted that the two Missions had shown that, with the right mandate, the cooperation of the parties and the strong support of the Council and Member States in general, UN peacekeeping operations "can make an important difference."

In his statement, Jacques Paul Klein, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Bosnia, said the UN Mission was a success. "A mandate has been implemented," he added. "And there are visible signs that reform is at work."

Mr. Klein said a platform now existed on which the people of the country could build a society based on respect for the rule of law and functioning, democratic institutions, although systemic challenges remained in both the political and economic areas. He urged the country's leaders to bring their bloated bureaucracies under greater fiscal discipline and get the State the revenues it needed to prosper. The country, he said, must also cooperate in full with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, the Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirko Sarovic, told the Council that the end of UNMIBH was a new beginning for the country, as it was fully committed to the implementation of the provisions of all UN resolutions. The Presidency and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina had confirmed its commitment to full reform on its way towards the European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes. After the general elections of October, the newly elected three-member Presidency wanted to emphasize its determination to continue reforms and to lead the country towards lasting peace and a self-sustaining society.