The UN Security Council informal meeting convened by the Russian ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzja took a rather unexpected turn – attacks against the institution of the High Representative of the International Community in BiH and personal attacks against Valentin Inzko. Namely, Dragan Covic, President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and Milorad Dodik, leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), had the opportunity to address the UN Security Council ambassadors and clarify their views on the situation in BiH. Nebenzja invitation’s to president of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) Bakir Izetbegović to participate in the debate was turned out, with Izetbegović claiming it should be the members of the BiH Presidency that should participate in the meeting and not the political leaders of the three largest national parties.
What happened during the meeting took most of the ambassadors by surprise. Inzko presented his version of the story, however this time he fell upon the united front comprising not only the Russian ambassador, but also two party leaders.
Dragan Čović’s performance was, to say the least, moderate compared to Dodik’s speech once he took the floor. Čović pointed out that the UN Security Council was mainly being informed of the situation in BiH through quarterly reports of the High Representative, which, as he said, were superficial.
“However, what worries me the most is that they did not present the complete picture in BiH. There is no real understanding of the problem, and then there is no adequate approach for democratic maturation and a self-sustainable perspective. The Dayton Agreement is being violated by numerous challenges,” Čović said.
Continuing with his presentation, he proceeded by stating facts which he claimed were not included in the High Representative’s report.
“These are illegal qualifications of the Croatian people as a minority, contradicting the Constitution. The report did not comment on the calls of Bosniak parties to establish Croatian political representatives. Then there is the SDA policy, which relativizes the importance of the Electoral Law,” Čović said.
He stressed that the High Representative should act impartially.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that BiH is based on the principle of equality of three peoples, representing more than 97 per cent of all citizens. The decisions of the High Representatives in BiH created new problems that the European Court of Human Rights had to deal with. On three occasions, an inappropriate representative of the Croatian people was elected to the Presidency of BiH through electoral machination,” Čović said.
Milorad Dodik took the floor afterwards with an address that will surely continue to echo in the UN chambers for a long time. Dodik said that “Serbia, Croatia and Republika Srpska, as well as 50 per cent of the Federation of BiH, want the High Representative to leave BiH”, adding that incumbent High Representative Valentin Inzko hates Serbs and speaks on behalf of the Bosniak people and not the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Dodik pointed out that Inzko, as well as the high representatives before him, altered the character of the Dayton Agreement and instead of applying it by following the Vienna Convention, they interpreted it in order to introduce the so-called “Dayton spirit”.
“That is why Paddy Ashdown was biased, unfair and criminal, who used every possible play in the book to break the Dayton Agreement, and wrote in his book that his role was to abolish the Dayton Agreement and create a new BiH,” said Dodik.
According to him, that never fell under the High Representative’s jurisdiction.
“It was a lie promoted by his successors all the way to Inzko, claiming that they should make another BiH out of the Dayton Agreement,” Dodik added.
As he claimed, Annex 10 states that the High Representative is obliged to submit a report to the signatory parties and other interested international institutions; Inzko, however, never submitted a report to the Republika Srpska.
“Today, out of those five parties (which are signatories to the Dayton Agreement), Serbia, Croatia and Republika Srpska, as well as 50 per cent of the Federation of BiH, want the High Representative to leave. At the BiH level, two-thirds of political representatives want the High Representative to disappear. Tonight, he continues to manipulate the Security Council, presents inaccurate facts, speaks based on expectations of a “pat on the back” in Sarajevo and the hefty benefits he received because of that,” said Dodik.
Dodik continued to verbally lash out at the High Representative, eventually calling him a “monster”!
The fact remains that, throughout his speech, Dodik, as the leader of the largest party of Serbs in BiH, tried to clarify his views on the implementation of the Dayton Agreement signed 25 years ago. In his address, he presented himself as a party leader, the Serb people’s leader and Chairman of the BiH Presidency, causing confusion among the audience.
However, what will really be remembered from this UN Security Council meeting is the way in which he presented those views, the arrogance and disrespect he showcased not only toward the institution of the High Representative, but also the ambassadors he addressed.
It is possible to say that, once again, he did himself a disservice. /ibna