Debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 November 2016
We welcome and thank Mr. Valentin Inzko, the High Representative for the implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, for presenting his fiftieth report to the Security Council, and commend his work in support of the implementation of the General Framework Agreement and to the consolidation of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We welcome the achievements and took note of the challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina in consolidating Statehood, and in the realization of lasting peace, stability and unity among its people.
Angola remains committed to respect and support the unity, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to the General Framework Agreement for peace.
In our statement we will basically focus on three issues: the general political environment, challenges to the General Framework Agreement, and the lack of cooperation with the High Representative.
We are concerned with the political environment prevailing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The holding, in September, of a referendum by the Republika Srpska's authorities is in violation of rulings by the Constitutional Court, which stipulates that any referendum must be consistent with the country's Constitution and the General Framework Agreement for Peace.
The Republika Srpska's authorities must abide by the Constitutional Court's decisions, and avoid by all means unilateral actions that might undermine peace and stability in the country.
The acceptance by the European Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application for EU membership, was an outstanding step forward and towards the country’s integration into the European Union.
The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina must pursue efforts and work on the European integration process, and continue mobilizing the population, across the country and in community inter-ethnic lines on the importance of this endeavor.
We also welcome the holding of peaceful local elections in October 2016, as an important step for the consolidation of peace and democratic institutions in the country. We call on the political parties and people to accept the results of these elections that, although peaceful in general, were marked by inter-ethnic incidents, irregularities and unrest in some polling stations. The electoral process should be completed and ballots held in areas where they didn't take place.
Regarding challenges to the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, we find it most worrisome the statements made by some officials, including by President Milorad Dodik, challenging the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also a matter of concern is the statement by President Dodik, claiming that the Republika Srpska is already a State, while denying this status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Such statements threaten the General Framework Agreement for Peace and the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina; they further undermine the cohesion of the multi-ethnic society, as well as unity and national reconciliation in the country.
We urge the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue working on the implementation of Annex 7 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, and create political and socio-economic conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of refugees and displaced people in their territories and communities of origin, while strengthening reconciliation and social cohesion, in order to consolidate peace, healing and forgiveness.
Regarding the avowed lack of cooperation with the High Representative, we reject the decision of the RS authorities to deny the High Representative access to information and documents, as required under Annex 10 of the General Framework Agreement, and we call on the RS authorities to allow the High Representative's access, as requested by his Office, enabling him to carry out his mandated duties accordingly.
In conclusion, Mr. President, we commend the European Union for its support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the security and defense sectors and in the implementation of socio-economic, rule of law and public administration reforms. We call on the EU to continue assisting the country to overcome impending challenges and in implementing these reforms.
Finally, we call on the international community and the United Nations, in particular, to continue supporting the country to fully implement the General Framework Agreement, which is key for the attainment of stability, peace, security and well-being of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Balkans as a whole.
I thank you, Mr. President.