Local leaders should be responsible for reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: UN envoy
The international community should continue to hand over responsibility for reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina to its leaders despite the magnitude of the challenges involved as the country emerges from the devastation of inter-ethnic bloodshed, the United Nations envoy to the country told the Security Council today.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reality today is in many ways uncomfortable,” Christian Schwarz-Schilling, High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement in the Balkan country told the 15-member body, noting the impatience of the world community for progress and the reluctance of local politicians to step forward, as well as the frustration of citizens who needed jobs.
Even so, he said the international community must hold its course and continue handing over responsibility to those leaders, not so quickly as to overwhelm them, but not so slowly that they failed to develop a sense of duty towards the citizens who had elected them.
And in many respects, the situation of the country was fortunate – the direction in which it is travelling was clear and the European Union was offering it the prospect of membership, despite the problematic assertions of leaders in Republika Srpska and lack of reform progress on the Constitution, the economy, education and other areas, said Mr. Schwarz-Schilling.
In regard to transitional issues, he said he was overseeing the closure of the Office of the High Representative, as determined in June by the Peace Implementation Council Steering board, but many difficulties remained, and he recognized the wisdom of that Council’s decision to review the situation.
Mr. Schwarz-Schilling also noted that progress in constitutional reform had stalled, after an initiative had barely failed in Parliament in March and he urged all parties to compromise. In addition, he said the fact that war crimes suspects like Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadžic remained at large continued to impede the consolidation of peace.
He also noted that the final status of the UN-run province of Kosovo affected the entire region and was potentially destabilizing.
Adnan Terzic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the representatives from 16 other countries also spoke during the Council’s open meeting.