In his address to members of UN Security Council, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina to BiH, Valentin Inzko, stressed that BiH has made positive steps, which show that politicians can reach an agreement. However, as he said, “the pace of real reform remains somehow slow and our common goal of irreversible stability for the country has not yet been fully achieved.”
Inzko said that, unfortunately, the most prominent elected officials remain disproportionately focused on nationalistic and divisive issues. At the same time, he noted that the authorities and competencies of the state level are repeatedly challenged and undermined, in a way that contravenes the logic of integration with European structures.
“As I have reported in the past, irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric challenging the fundamentals of the Peace Agreement is not new. But we have witnessed the worrisome escalation of such statements in the last six months.
As I have set out clearly in my report to the Secretary General, I am deeply concerned by the more recent readiness among some politicians to refer to the possibility of a renewed conflict, including controversial statements by senior Bosniak politicians suggesting that a rearming effort was underway to ‘respond’ in case of a hypothetical war scenario. These comments followed controversy earlier in the reporting period about the large-scale purchase of long-barrel, military type, weapons by the RS police and media exposure of nationalist extremist groups. There is a general trend of armament going on and this is a reason for concern. I will report about this issue eventually in November. Inflammatory rhetoric has also continued to be used by some senior officials from Republika Srpska, denying the statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina and advocating for eventual secession. Public comments were also made, glorifying convicted war criminals and calling for the return of an RS army. Some Croat officials have mused about the territorial reorganization of the country and threatened the dissolution of the state if the current electoral issues are not resolved to their satisfaction”, Inzko emphasised.
He stressed that public figures must choose their words carefully and responsibly, adding that BiH is a single, multiethnic, sovereign state, consisting of two entities, in which all citizens – the three constituent peoples and Others – live and work together, and elected officials above all have a responsibility to contribute to peace and reconciliation.
The High Representative also informed the UNSC about the problems with the Election Law, underlining that the changes of this law must be adopted as soon as possible. If not, the implementation of election results could cause a fresh political crisis to the state.
“To conclude, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires the continued attention and unity of effort by the international community. Bosnia and Herzegovina has made enormous strides since the end of hostilities in 1995, in the building of its institutions and the establishment of security and normalcy.
However, we must not take this progress for granted.
While the leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina remain committed to integration with the European Union, this has not yet had an effect on the day-to-day political climate, in which some political figures are all too ready to use irresponsible rhetoric and seem predominantly concerned with maintaining their positions. The risk is that this divisiveness and sense of unease about the future of the country slowly seeps into the fabric of society. And we should not forget the risks of nationalism and extremism on all sides, combined with a growing sense of socio-economic stagnation in the country”, the international diplomat noted.
He believes that the international community needs to urgently increase its efforts aimed at promoting reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region. According to Inzko’s opinion, the United Nations, alongside others, are in a position to play a prominent role in such efforts.
“And finally, I would appeal to us all, as an international community, to be united in our approach and coordinated in our efforts. After all, we share the same goal: a sovereign, united and decentralized, but also stable and functional Bosnia and Herzegovina. I believe we all wish to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a shining example of tolerance and trust, where a traditional common life of all cultures, nations and citizens is possible”, concluded the High Representative.
Republika Srpska’s president, Milorad Dodik, stated to the media on Wednesday that “the report of the High Representative to BiH Valentin Inzko was another bunch of lies” in which he relativised the almost visible dysfunctionality of the Federation of BiH and the BiH joint governing level, but also befouls the Republika Srpska.
“Republika Srpska has not made any decision linked with the issue of secession, and that is clear. A political topic called secession exists and there is no one that can stop it, but nobody in the Republika Srpska has made any decision on it and did not put it on the agenda. At the UNSC session, Inzko lied to the whole world and to the Security Council in such a way it defamed the Republic of Srpska”, Dodik said.
According to him, all reports from foreign intelligence agencies confirmed that the rumours about paramilitary forces are fictitious and Inzko is again lying when he refers to such forces that claims they exist in the Republika Srpska.
“It is incredible that a man of his status goes to the Security Council and tells a bunch of lies”, Dodik claims…. / IBNA