Addressing the United Nations Security Council in New York today, High Representative Valentin Inzko expressed disappointment that political leaders and institutions had not built upon the positive developments of early 2012, but also hope that they would now resume the political dialogue and compromise needed to bring the country forward.
“On June 1, it was logical to expect that with a government and a budget in place, the new coalition would immediately make up for lost time, roll up its sleeves and get down to addressing the pressing needs of citizens and delivering the requirements to open up the next phase of the EU and NATO accession processes,” Inzko said. “To the disappointment of many within the international community, this is not what happened.” Instead, protracted efforts to reconfigure the governing coalitions and open challenges to the Peace Agreement halted progress made in early 2012.
The High Representative expressed particular concern about an intensification of public rhetoric by the current RS leadership in support of secession and dissolution of the state, as well as efforts to weaken the state, cautioning that these challenges to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country warrant the special attention of the international community.
“These challenges are completely contrary to the strategic objective of full Euro-Atlantic integration, which Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities have together declared to be a priority. The time has come for senior politicians to stop opening wounds that are still healing and finally sincerely turn their attention to the country’s future in the EU and NATO.”
Looking ahead, High Representative Inzko welcomed recent signs that parties are willing to return to dialogue and compromise. “Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot afford to continue falling further and further behind other countries in the region,” Inzko cautioned.
The High Representative concluded that the international community was entering “a critical phase” of its engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We must express more clearly than ever what is expected of political leaders and what will not be tolerated. They must stop their divisive behavior and finally start leading the way to the country’s full reintegration in the interests of all its citizens. In so doing they can look to the example of how postwar Europe was built, with tolerance, dialogue and sound compromise”
A transcript of the High Representative’s address to the UN Security Council is available on the OHR website.