New York – Members of a privileged political class in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to put their personal interests before those of the country and its citizens, High Representative Valentin Inzko told the UN Security Council in New York today.
Despite notable increases in exports, the overall economic situation remains very difficult and average citizens struggle to meet basic needs. The legislative output of the State Institutions also fell far short of the needs of the country, with far more new laws being rejected than are adopted over the last six months. At the same time, many binding verdicts of the BiH Constitutional Court remained unimplemented, the High Representative reported.
Challenges to the Peace Agreement are also becoming ever more frequent, with senior politicians from Republika Srpska seeking to exploit events in Ukraine for their own agenda. In particular, the High Representative expressed concern that the ongoing controversy over residency and voting rights could lead to disputes on the ground and called upon all involved to do everything within their power to avoid such a scenario and to focus on adopting appropriate provisions at state level. “It is especially important that no one is discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity or because they are a returnee”, he said.
The High Representative warned of the likelihood that the election campaign will once again be dominated by attempts to raise inter-ethnic tensions as a means to divert attention from the real problems facing the country, such the need to reform the economy and reduce unemployment. In addition, the inability of political leaders to implement the Sejdic-Finci judgment and the lack of agreement on the issue of military property have put a brake on the Euro-Atlantic integration processes in the country.
On a more positive note, the High Representative informed the Security Council that preparations for the general elections in October were on track, that BiH had adopted a new law on public procurement and that important steps had been taken to ensure a fully functional Constitutional Court in the Federation. The High Representative also welcomed the recent visit by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to Sarajevo as a significant step towards reconciliation and better regional cooperation.
Stressing that the job in Bosnia and Herzegovina is “not yet complete”, the High Representative called on the international community to stand together in support of the values and principles of peace, co-existence, mutual respect and the sanctity of sovereign states.
“This means supporting those within the country who are ready to work together to reach the healthy compromises that are necessary to take the country forward. And it means that we must stand firm against those who seek to sow division and disintegration”, the High Representative concluded. (TSN, OHR)
Click here for the full text of the High Representative’s address to the UN Security Council.