I thank High Representative Velentin Inzko for his informative briefing today and a comprehensive report submitted to the Security Council earlier. We appreciate the important role he is playing.
Mr. Inzko has given us some good news and bad news.
The good news is that the countryís fifth local elections on October 7 this year, administered completely by domestic authorities, were conducted generally in line with democratic standards. We congratulate the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the success of these elections. We also welcome the relatively calm and stable environment prevailing in the country.
The bad news is alarming. The High Representative has indentified three disappointing developments: (1) little progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration; (2) direct challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement; and (3) intensification of divisive and provocative rhetoric that could further vitiate the atmosphere and undermine long-term peaceful co-existence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These developments have led the High Representative to cast off his usual optimism and warn the Council that progress on the five objectives and two conditions is all but stalled.
The most disturbing concern is Repubika Srpskaís open defiance of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is an intrinsic principle built into the Dayton Agreement.
Pakistan supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the efforts to strengthen the state at the national level, while preserving the rights of all communal entities.
The Dayton Agreement has ensured peace for seventeen years. A direct challenge to the Agreement should not be allowed to disrupt the fine, delicate equilibrium it has worked out. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina should not be diluted. The Security Council must arrest any drift towards dissolution.
Sharp political differences among the political parties as well as a deliberate effort to impair the federal structure will weaken the state; and divert attention from the pressing issues of economic growth, social development and efficient fiscal management. We are glad to hear from Mr. Inzko that there are now signs for rapprochement for a new coalition.
We condemn the statements of senior officials of Republika Srpska that deny the genocide committed in Srebrenica in 1995, a fact which has been established beyond a shadow of doubt by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. Such statements do serious harm to the reconciliation process inside Bosnia and Herzegovina and within the region.
It is evident that there is lack of progress on the implementation of the five objectives and two conditions. The time, therefore, is not ripe to consider the closure of the Office of the High Representative. In fact, under the present circumstances, there are compelling reasons for the continuity of his mission.
It is vitally important that all parties recognize the sanctity of the international legal frameworks for the division of power.
Pakistan supports all efforts to ensure a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We urge the leaders of the country to resolve their differences through dialogue with a view to exploring common ground.
This meeting of the Security Council must send out the right signals. We urge the Council to continue to assess the situation and play its role in steering all sides away from growing estrangement towards engagement.
This is best for the consolidation and stability of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also good for regional peace and security.
I thank you, Mr. President.