Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to stagnate politically mainly because of politicians’ reluctance to compromise and engage in dialogue, as well as their tendency to abuse the system, even as State institutions face functional and economic pressure that has undermined their efficiency, the Security Council heard today.
Briefing the Council, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, said that Republika Srpska – one of two semi-autonomous entities that make up the country – has continued to engage in legal and political actions and sharp rhetoric challenging State institutions, competences and laws, and his authority under the Dayton peace agreement and the Council’s relevant resolutions.
“Two leading BiH [Bosnia and Herzegovina] Croat parties continue to question the legality and the legitimacy of the incumbent Federation Government. Some Bosniak political leaders escalated their rhetoric in response to statements from the RS [Republika Srpska] leadership and warned of possible conflict, were there an attempt to divide the country.
“I have long warned about the serious damage this rhetoric is doing and I again use this opportunity to call on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders to contribute to fostering reconciliation, dialogue and co-existence rather than spreading chauvinism, fear and mistrust,” Mr. Inzko told the Council.
He said there was need for his office to remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fill the legal gaps in the country and maintain stability. “This need will continue until such time as Bosnian and Herzegovina is self-sustainable and firmly and irreversibly on the path towards EU [European Union] and NATO integration.”
Mr. Inzko also pointed out that given the negative trends and political instability, it is essential that the European Union Force (EUFOR) remains in place to continue to assist the Office of the High Representative and other international organizations to fulfil their respective mandates.
He urged the international community not to give up on Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing that disengagement was likely to lead to renewed disorder.
“The international community has achieved tremendous results in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past 15 years, [but] it is clear from the current political situation that we have not yet achieved a lasting and sustainable political settlement that would ensure a durable prospect for peace.
“Our continued commitment to and focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only way to get to achieve that we all want to reach – a Bosnia and Herzegovina that is stable, safe and solving its problems institutionally as it moves towards full Euro-Atlantic integration,” Mr. Inzko added.
Representatives of the Council’s 15 Member States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Serbia and Croatia and the head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations were due to address the Council debate.