I would first like to thank the High Representative for the briefing that he has just given us and to assure him of the support of France. I would also like to welcome Mr. Radmanović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A few days ago, the 27 Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the European Union decided to lift the shortstay visa obligation for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is significant progress — first of all, for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who will now be able to travel more easily within Europe. But this also means progress for political leaders, who can see with this decision of the European Union the specific results of their efforts. This decision also shows to what extent the unity of the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina in working towards a shared objective can produce results. The European Union long ago specified the conditions that needed to be met and, indeed, once those conditions were met, the Union honoured its commitments.
However, we regret that progress expected in other areas has not been forthcoming. Thus, absent an agreement between the two entities dealing with the issue of the redistribution of defence property, the first annual programme of the plan of action for accession to NATO could not begin last September. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be given a new opportunity to launch that programme next September.
The High Representative has unfortunately referred to several difficulties and internal conflicts in his last report (See S/2010/575), and we can only subscribe to his analyses. Gone is the time when the international community took decisions in place of the leaders of countries. Let us recall that, 10 years ago in Zagreb, the European Union sought a European perspective for all countries in the region. These prospects gradually took shape in stages, road maps and criteria. One by one, all countries of the region have seized this opportunity and is preparing, each at its own pace, to one day become a full member of the European family. The Sarajevo summit held in June confirmed the European Union’s commitment to that process. At the same time, the European Union is helping to stabilize Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Union Force Althea.
For 10 years, the international community has supported the Bosnian authorities and helped them to build institutions capable of running the country. Objectives and conditions have been laid out to provide for a transition that will allow the Bosnian authorities to decide their own future by themselves. The international community will remain present in the form of a strengthened Special Representative of the European Union who will replace the High Representative. However, instead of taking advantage of these opportunities, the leaders of the country, in particular those of the Republika Srpska, as noted by Mr. Inzko in his briefing, have been amplifying their criticism of the international community that has steadfastly supported the country for so many years.
With legislative elections approaching, recent months saw an increase in public statements around the country that are unacceptable in a country that is a member of this Council and would like to become a member of the European Union and NATO. We urge leaders to form a Government as soon as possible following the elections of 3 October. The electoral campaign should now come to a close and allow the work suspended for this period to continue.
We welcome actions undertaken recently in the region, such as the adoption by the Serbian Parliament last spring of a resolution condemning the Srebrenica massacre, showing that dialogue and reconciliation have their place in the Balkans and that the regional cooperation so dearly sought by the European Union is not in vain. Once again, we call on the Bosnian leaders to put into practice these initiatives at the national level and finally to harness a positive momentum that would confirm the European perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The future of the country depends on its leaders, particularly those who have just received mandates from their citizens. Today, it is up to them to demonstrate courage and determination in solving their problems.