Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ban Ki-moon urges political leaders to show restraint

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ban Ki-moon urges political leaders to show restraint

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to show restraint and support the work of the High Representative who is charged with overseeing implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement which ended years of brutal conflict in the country.

“The Secretary-General is concerned about recent political developments that could hinder the functioning of central institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus undermining the implementation of the Dayton Agreement and affecting stability in the region,” a spokesperson for Mr. Ban said in a statement.

The Dayton Peace Agreement established Bosnia and Herzegovina as a State comprising two entities, each with a high degree of autonomy: the Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation (FBiH).

“The Secretary-General encourages political leaders and officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina to exercise maximum restraint, continue to engage in the inter-ethnic dialogue and constructively cooperate with the High Representative,” the spokesperson said.

The High Representative, Miroslav Lajcák, told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting in Vienna today that tensions are rising in the country.

“The recent failure to forge a political agreement on police reform was merely the last, albeit crucial, confirmation of the worsening political dynamic that we have witnessed in Bosnia and Herzegovina since April 2006, when the first modest but mould-breaking package of reforms to the Dayton constitution narrowly failed to win adoption,” he said.

“Since then, there has been a poisonous election campaign, characterized by intransigent and destabilizing rhetoric; a prolonged process of government formation, leading to the unavoidable cohabitation in power of the more radical and intransigent parties; and a virtual halt to European Union-compatible reforms and normal government activity.”

He said some citizens accept the country as their common homeland, but “there is as yet no consensus on how this common state should be organized.”

The Secretary-General reiterated his support for Mr. Lajcák, emphasizing that the High Representative “acts in the interest of all entities and constituent nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”