PIC SB backs BiH membership to NATO – Russia against it

PIC SB backs BiH membership to NATO – Russia against it

Banja Luka, December 11, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) in BiH strongly supports the reinvigorated approach and on-going efforts in relation to the current EU initiative, which aims to revitalise the reform process in BiH and the country’s progress towards the EU, whilst maintaining the requirements and conditions of accession to the European Union.

This is one of the conclusions of the two-day PIC SB session, published on Wednesday late in the afternoon. As international community High representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, said to the Media, ambassadors of NATO countries and Japan called new government institutions to solve the problem of perspective military properties as a state property, as a condition for beginning BiH’s integration process to NATO.

“The opinion of Russian Federation is that euro integration is not the only solution for BiH, and their member in PIC SB didn’t support this paragraph”, said Inzko on the press conference and added that it is up to Russian Embassy in BiH to explain what is the other perspective for BiH.

PIC SB calls upon the authorities in BiH to accelerate considerably the response to the floods and extend assistance to those who remain particularly vulnerable, “in addition to bringing resilience and preventative measures, including within a regional approach, in line with the conclusions of the international donours conference held in Brussels in July 2014, and in coordination with the international community”, says the press release issued after the session.

In addition, PIC SB calls on the governments to improve the electoral process, in particular with regard to reviews of constituency boundaries and the allocation of mandates to reflect changing voter registration, polling station committee performance, and regulation of campaign financing. The Council goes on emphasising the need for officials in BiH to advance decisively with education reform, aiming at improving education standards, based on principles of non-discrimination, non-segregation and inclusiveness.

PIC SB members call officials to refrain from negative rhetoric, which only diverts energy from the urgent reforms needed to create economic opportunities for all.

“The PIC SB reiterated its full support for the High Representative, who will continue to ensure full respect for the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) and carry out his mandate under Annex 10 and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, which remains unchanged. The PIC SB reminded all parties of their obligation to comply fully with the GFAP, all its annexes, and decisions of the High Representative. It underlined that the International Community retains the necessary instruments to uphold the Dayton Peace Agreement”, says PIC SB in press release.

On the press conference Inzko said that he made several remarks on the economic situation in BiH. As he said, he made the same points in his last report to the UN Security Council, as well as in the EU’s latest Progress Report.

“Despite the latest official statistics showing a somewhat better picture than in the same period last year, the economic challenges remain serious. There are over half a million unemployed persons in BiH today, the youth unemployment rate is truly shocking: around 60 percent. More than 40000 companies have at least one bank account blocked for insolvency. With the average salary of 826 KM and the average pension of 352 KM, even those with a steady income struggle to make ends meet. This is a picture of real and widespread poverty”, said Inzko.

He emphasised that the PIC SB is firmly and unequivocally on the side of BiH, its progress and the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As positive things that leave room for optimism, Inzko pointed to the fast establishment of the new government institutions after last elections and the reinvigorated approach and ongoing efforts for the relation of current EU initiative, which aims to revitalise the reform process in BiH and the country’s progress towards the EU, whilst maintaining the same requirements and conditions of accession to the European Union, but with a new order of priority.

The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) in BiH has 55 members from different states and organizations, which participate in the implementation of peace in the country.