Inzko: BiH still faces many challenges

Inzko: BiH still faces many challenges

Sarajevo, May 11, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

International community High Representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, will address UN Security council on the occasion of the report he sent to UN Secretary General.

The report was published by Office of the High Representative (OHR) on Monday and it represents Inzko’s opinion on most of problems which BiH faced in the period from October 2014 to April 2015. In the report, Inzko emphasizes that BiH still face many challenges.

“The reporting period has been dominated by three main political developments: the process of government formation following the October 2014 General Elections, efforts to kick-start Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European Union (EU) integration process and continued actions and statements challenging the fundamentals of the Dayton Peace Agreement”, emphasize Inzko in report.

He added that the initiative launched by the foreign ministers of Germany and the United Kingdom on 5 November in Berlin, which is now an initiative of the EU, was a significant development, offering BiH a real opportunity to make progress on integration with the Union. After the BiH Presidency’s written commitment to the EU-integration process was signed by 14 political leaders and then adopted by the BiH Parliamentary Assembly on 23 February, the Council of the EU adopted a decision concluding the EU’s Stabilization and Association Agreement with BiH on 21 April, with the Agreement expected to enter into force on June 1. With further progress linked to the implementation of reforms, the country’s leaders and institutions can now take full advantage of the opportunity provided by this important step forward for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Inzko says that he regrets to have to report that challenges to the basics of the GFAP (General Framework Agreement for Peace) continued during the reporting period. In addition to continued statements challenging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, walkouts and boycotts of both Houses of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly have once again occurred. The boycott of the BiH House of Peoples on March 17, 2015 was of particular concern as it was undertaken in the full knowledge that it would prevent the House from securing the required quorum to convene a session. This kind of obstruction must become a thing of the past.

A Declaration adopted by the RS National Assembly on April 17, related to the RS Law on Holidays, Inzko mentions in the report, also raised major questions about the commitment of the RS Authorities to respect the GFAP when they decide that it does not suit them. The Declaration raised serious concerns on a number of points, not least of which is its explicit rejection of the clear authority of the BiH Constitutional Court, whose decisions are final and binding under Article VI.4 of the BiH Constitution as set forth in Annex 4 to the GFAP.

“During the reporting period, officials coming from the ruling SNSD party in Republika Srpska continued their longstanding practice of directly questioning and challenging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH. Although the Republika Srpska President continues to be the most frequent and vocal exponent of state dissolution, during the reporting period he was joined by other officials from his party. Member of the BiH House of Peoples and senior SNSD official Nebojsa Radmanovic was widely criticized when he announced to media on 9 April that the SNSD party would adopt a resolution on a “free and independent” Republika Srpska”, Inzko warns.

He also mentions in the report that the Republika Srpska authorities have continued their policy of denying the High Representative access to official information and documents required to fulfill his mandate. Under Annex X of the GFAP, all authorities in BiH are obliged to fully cooperate with the High Representative as well as with the international organizations and agencies as provided for in Article IX of the GFAP. The practice of the Republika Srpska Government not to provide information and documents requested by the OHR goes back to 2007. Repeated calls to the Republika Srpska authorities by the Peace Implementation Council reminding them of their obligation to ensure the High Representative has full access to documents in a timely fashion have had no impact. This policy by the RS authorities contradicts the frequent claim that the RS respects the letter of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

On the end of report, Inzko briefs the UN Secretary General on situation in his office.

“Since the beginning of my mandate in March 2009, the OHR’s budget has been reduced by over 41 percent and my staff by over 51 percent. Given these deep cuts, it remains essential that I am equipped with the budget and staff required to carry out my mandate effectively as I am entitled to under Annex X of the Peace Agreement”, Inzko concludes.