National Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Debate on Bosnia-Herzegovina

Published

National Statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Debate on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tuesday, 07 November 2017, New York.

Thank You, Mr President,

I would like to align myself with the statement to be made later on behalf of the European Union.

Let me begin by thanking the High Representative, Valentin Inzko, for his comprehensive briefing to the Council this morning. I would like to assure the High Representative of our continued full support in his important work.

Mr President,

During the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the line from Ivo Andric's 'A letter from 1920' that "Bosnia is a country of fear and hatred." was often quoted. However, since the end of the war, the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, supported by the international community, not least the European Union (EU), have been on a journey to replace that fear and hatred with trust and mutual respect; a journey to build a peaceful and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina. And, while much has been achieved, it is a journey not yet at its end.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's European Union perspective remains central to its future. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his State of the Union speech in September, clearly stated that the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union remains a top priority for the EU. The Western Balkan region is a part of Europe and developments in the region will affect the rest of Europe. European Union foreign ministers reiterated the Union's firm commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU perspective when they met at the Foreign Affairs Council last month.

However, much work remains to be done. While we welcomed initial implementation of the Reform Agenda, the pace of reform has, worryingly, slowed his year. It is crucial that the authorities step up implementation of comprehensive reforms in order to regain momentum and to get the Reform Agenda back on track. These efforts should focus on socio-economic development, fighting corruption and organized crime, ensuring fundamental freedoms and electoral reform. In addition, it is necessary to invest in bridging cultural and social differences, not least amongst children and youth.

Next year's elections must not be an excuse for delaying key decisions. Election reform should be approached in a spirit of consensus and dialogue. Moreover, relevant rulings of the constitutional court must be implemented swiftly in order to avoid a legal vacuum after the elections next year.

Mr President,

It is important that efforts towards continued reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina are supported. Sexual and gender based violence committed during the war needs to be addressed. Impunity threatens stability and social cohesion, making reconciliation more difficult.

In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security should be fully implemented.

Finally, Mr President, we welcome the unanimous adoption of the resolution renewing the mandate of EUFOR Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina today. We also acknowledge the need for discussion on the reconfiguration of the international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We remain supportive of the idea to phase out the international presence when the situation on the ground allows for it.

Mr President,

With our partners in the European Union, Sweden will continue to stand with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina as they work towards realizing their European perspective and building a country of prosperity, peace, stability and equality for all.

Thank you.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis