Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, High Representative Inzko, for your update on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Office of the High Representative has played an essential role over 22 years to help Bosnia and Herzegovina move to peace and prosperity, and to secure the stability of the region as a whole.
I want to express our sincere thanks to you, High Representative Inzko, for your tireless efforts, and to convey our strong support for your mandate as the final authority under Dayton regarding the interpretation of the civilian implementation of the peace agreement.
The United States remains dedicated to upholding the Dayton peace accords, maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and promoting its continued development and integration.
We commend Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress in these objectives and towards integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions. The completion of the Defense Review in November, continued progress towards NATO standards and the registration of defense properties, and the work with the European Union are all positive steps.
Continued progress towards integration with both NATO and the EU, however, will require vision, political will, and real follow-through on commitments.
But in order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to achieve its full potential it will have to resolve longstanding political issues.
Bosnia and Herzegovina must continue diligently to enhance the rule of law, address corruption, and improve the overall political climate in the country for the benefit of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is particularly important to tackle reforms now before campaigning for the 2018 elections begins.
We share the concerns voiced by High Representative Inzko about the actions of anyone who seeks to erode state-level institutions, whether by ignoring the decisions of the Constitutional Court, acting outside the established decision-making process, or advocating for further divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
United States’ sanctions against Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik should be a warning to those who seek to undermine the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mr. President, the United States reiterates our strong support for ongoing efforts to make sure Bosnia and Herzegovina fully implements the Dayton peace agreement. We anticipate the day when we can say with absolute confidence that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a “peaceful, viable state, irreversibly on course for European integration.”
We are not there yet, but look forward to Bosnia and Herzegovina meeting the objectives and conditions established by the Peace Implementation Council for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.
We encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders and all members of the international community to support the actions and reforms needed to reach that milestone.
Until that time, the international community must deliver on its commitment to provide all necessary support and funding to the High Representative to fulfill its mandate and goals for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thank you, Mr. President.