Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
 Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 Security Council, New York, 23 March 2005


Mr. President,


I join previous speakers in thanking High Representative Lord Ashdown for his useful update on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also welcome Minister Barisa Colac.


There have been many positive developments in BiH. Authorities have been showing increased commitment to progress. Structural, administrative and legislative reforms continue to proceed. NATO benchmarks have in their most part been reached, and the launching of negotiations with the EU is in sight. The ownership of the process is gradually being transferred to Bosnian Authorities, which is testifies to the success of the effort by the International Community. The High Representative and his Office have given able guidance to the process of reform.


Cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yougoslavia, though, remains a thorny issue. In spite of positive signs sent by the handing in of some indictees, BiH, and in particular the authorities of Republika Srpska, must be encouraged to improve further their cooperation with the Tribunal. Failure to do so is preventing the country to achieve important national goals, such as acceptance in NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the opening of negotiations no a stabilization and association agreement with the EU.


Rebalancing government budgets, enacting legislation on taxes and public procurement and other key initiatives have pushed forward much-needed economic reform. Progress can be noted in the path leading to a full-fledged market economy that will help attract foreign investment and serve as the basis for the development and revitalization of the country.


The transition between SFOR and EUFOR occurred smoothly in December, marking the boundaries between the Dayton era and the Brussels era. The fact that the EU is already considering reductions in the size of the force after June points out, in our opinion, to the good level of stability already reached.


We are pleased to note that, according to UNHCR, the situation regarding returns has improved dramatically, and a sustained return momentum continues to exist. It is encouraging that the governments of BiH, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro intend to combine their individual action plans to solve the refugee issue by the end of 2006. In this context, we renew our call to Republika Srpska to do more to harmonize its legislation with the State Law on the subject.


International engagement is consistently bearing fruit in BiH. The remaining steps, though in some cases difficult, must be taken with the unwavering commitment to achieve a peaceful, fully multi-ethnic country in its way to economic prosperity and in complete harmony with its neighbours.