Official speeches and statements - May 5, 2021
[translation from French]
I too wish China every success as President of the Security Council for May and congratulate Vietnam on its successful presidency last month.
I would like to thank the High Representative, Mr. Valentin Inzko, for his briefing and commend his tireless commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past twelve years. I also welcome the presence among us today of the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and the European Union.
At a time when some people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are choosing to sow division and exacerbation of tensions, France, as a witness to the Dayton/Paris agreements, strongly reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and calls on all witnesses to these agreements to continue to act as their guarantors. Divisive rhetoric, nationalistic and secessionist discourse, or rhetoric evoking the possibility of war are not acceptable.
France calls on the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to focus on the genuine challenges facing the country. There are many of them: the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, to which the European Union has provided support, the adoption and implementation of the necessary reforms for its development and its rapprochement with Europe. We also welcome some recent achievements such as the holding of local elections in 2020, in particular in Mostar for the first time since 2008, as it has been mentioned a number of time, and we call on the newly elected municipal authorities to carry out concrete, inclusive local actions to benefit all their constituents. But much more needs to be done to implement the 14 key priorities of the European Commission’s opinion. The year 2021, with no electoral timetable, is an opportunity to move forward with these reforms. We call for progress in terms of proper functioning of democratic institutions, especially at the central state level, and in consolidating the rule of law, especially in the independence of the justice system and the fight against corruption. Electoral reform must be implemented in accordance with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the recommendations of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Venice Commission. The full and effective participation of women in political life must also be a priority. We also continue to call for the formation of governments in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in all the cantons that still not have one yet, and for the normal institutional functioning of the country.
As we commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide on July 11, 2020, France reaffirms its strongest condemnation of the glorification of war criminals convicted by the courts and the denial of genocide, which are incompatible with the values of the European Union. The national and international justice system has done an outstanding work in prosecuting and convicting those responsible for atrocities committed during the 1990s conflict and its decisions must be respected. The victims of sexual violence must be recognized. France reaffirms the importance of justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for these crimes. The processes of transitional justice and reconciliation remain the only solid basis for the future of the country.
Given the tense political situation and, in particular, the resurgence of rhetoric that challenges the existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state, we reaffirm our conviction that both the Office of the High Representative and the European Union military operation EUFOR/Althea, to which France has recommitted, must still be maintained. We call on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to overcome their divisions and to redouble their efforts to implement the reforms recommended by the European Union, but also the "5+2" agenda, which is a condition for the closing of the Office of the High Representative.
Finally, I would like to reaffirm France’s full support for the European aspiration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkan countries more broadly. For this to happen, increased efforts in the area of reform and a firm rejection of divisive rhetoric are more necessary than ever.
I thank you.