Thank you, Mr. President. Let me begin by welcoming High Representative Inzko back to the Security Council. Thank you, High Representative for your comprehensive briefing and your service in support of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Mr. President, the United States remains committed to the success of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where we and our EU allies have invested much over the last sixteen years since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. We are very encouraged by the progress made in recent months and hope to see the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina build upon this momentum to resolve the remaining obstacles in the path of its Euro-Atlantic integration, and develop governing institutions that will deliver results for all citizens, regardless of ethnicity.
I’d like to make three points in reaction to High Representative Inzko's report.
First, the United States welcomes Bosnia and Herzegovina's significant progress since the last report on forming a national government. We applaud the diligence with which the new government has approached its responsibilities, including adopting a state budget and pursuing EU required reforms. The Bosnian parliament’s adoption of two key EU-required laws -- the Law on State Aid, and the Law on the Population Census, Households and Apartments -- also are welcome and critical milestones on the road to full European integration. With that goal in mind, we encourage Bosnia-Herzegovina's compliance with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in Sejdic-Finci, which would allow the EU Stabilization and Association Agreement to enter into force.
The United States strongly supports the European Union’s increasing engagement under EU Special Representative Peter Sorensen. The Office of the High Representative and the EU complement each other’s important roles in helping the Bosnian people find a path forward. We welcome their excellent cooperation on the ground.
Second, Mr. President, we share the High Representative's positive views of the March 9 political agreement on principles to be used to resolve the issues of defense and state property. We urge Bosnia-Herzegovina to implement as soon as possible the defense property portion of the March 9 agreement through registration of defense properties, in order to meet NATO's condition for participation in the Membership Action Plan. Implementation of both state and defense property deals would complete two outstanding 5+2 objectives, bringing Bosnia-Herzegovina closer to meeting the Peace Implementation Council’s criteria for closing the Office of the High Representative. Until the 5+2 criteria have been met, it is critical that OHR receive sufficient resources and political support to uphold its mandate under the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Third, the United States remains steadfastly committed to preserving Bosnia-Herzegovina's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We remain deeply concerned by ongoing rhetoric challenging Bosnian sovereignty, and attempting to roll back past reforms. The High Representative's latest report highlights continued nationalistic statements made by senior Republika Srpska officials acknowledging deliberate obstruction of Dayton institutions and referencing the dissolution of the state. Such statements do not help the country move forward, and are unacceptable. Rather than attack the Dayton Peace Agreement and the constitutional basis of the state, we hope all parties will continue to engage in political dialogue with a view towards serving the needs of all Bosnian citizens.
In that regard, it is imperative that Bosnians work together responsibly in advance of this October’s municipal elections to contribute to reconciliation and strengthen Bosnian democratic institutions.
As Secretary Clinton stated in July 2010 on the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, and I quote, “A prosperous free and unified Bosnia-Herzegovina is the most worthy monument to those who lost their lives at Srebrenica, and the best guarantee against such a tragedy every repeating itself.”
Thank you, Mr. President.
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