The Security Council this morning extended the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) until 21 June 1998, with the provision that it be further extended unless security arrangements being provided by the NATO-led multinational stabilization force (SFOR) changed significantly.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1144 (1997), the Security Council decided that the civilian police component of UNMIBH -- the International Police Task Force (IPTF) -- shall continue its tasks pertaining to the inter-entity boundary line and related matters, as set out in the General Framework Agreement on Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed by the parties two years ago in Dayton, Ohio.
Reaffirming that the success of the IPTF rests on the quality, experience and professional skill of its personnel, the Council urged Member States, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure the provision of such qualified personnel. Member States were also urged to provide training, equipment and related assistance for local police forces in coordination with the IPTF, recognizing that resources are also critical to the success of the police reform efforts of the IPTF.
The Security Council also called on all concerned to ensure the closest possible coordination among the Office of the High Representative, SFOR, UNMIBH and the relevant civilian bodies to ensure the successful implementation of the Framework Agreement and the priority objectives of the civilian consolidation plans, as well as the security of the IPTF.
Expressing its support for the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference recently held in Bonn, the Security Council encouraged the Secretary-General to implement relevant recommendations, including the creation of specialized IPTF units to train Bosnian police in addressing key public security issues.
The Security Council also requested that the Secretary-General report every three months on the implementation of UNMIBH's mandate, including
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information on the establishment of the specialized IPTF units, and that he keep the Council informed regularly about the work of the IPTF and in particular its progress in assisting the restructuring of law enforcement agencies.
Prior to the resolution's adoption, the Council concluded its debate, which began yesterday with statements from 17 speakers. Statements were made this morning by the representatives of Malaysia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Ukraine, Canada, Luxembourg (for the European Union and associated States and countries), Italy, Croatia, Germany, Argentina and the United States.
The meeting, which resumed at 10:45 a.m., concluded at 12:32 p.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council resumed its consideration of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/966) in which he recommends the 12-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which expires 21 December.
In addition to the one-year extension, the Secretary-General suggests that UNMIBH's civilian police force deployed throughout the country -- the International Police Task Force (IPTF) -- be augmented by crime prevention experts in financial crime, smuggling and corruption, as well as in criminal justice reform, and the development of modern judiciary and penal systems. The continued presence of IPTF monitors is, however, contingent on the existence of adequate security arrangements, which, at present, could only be secured by a credible international military force, the Secretary-General states.
The strong and consistent support for UNMIBH by the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -- made up of 35,000 troops -- has allowed the unarmed IPTF monitors to carry out the UNMIBH mandate in an effective manner, the Secretary-General goes on to say. [One year ago, the Security Council authorized Member States to establish SFOR to succeed the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR). Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council established SFOR for 18 months and authorized participating Member States to support and ensure implementation of the military aspects of the 1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.]
In his current report, the Secretary-General notes that UNMIBH has done much to assist in the implementation of the General Framework Agreement. The UNMIBH -- which includes the IPTF, United Nations civil affairs and human rights officers, and the United Nations Mine Action Centre (MAC) -- has been working for two years to fulfil its tasks as set out in the peace agreement, which pertain to the inter-entity boundary line and related issues. During that time, the Mission has contributed to: the inauguration of joint Bosniac- Croat police forces in the two mixed cantons of the Federation; the initiation of a comprehensive police restructuring programme in the Republika Srpska; and the appointment of a multi-ethnic police leadership in the contested city of Brcko.
Nonetheless, these developments are still in their early stages and remain fragile, the Secretary-General continues. The future engagement of UNMIBH will be needed to support the development of policing practices in line with internationally acceptable standards. Building the capacity of local police and of each entities' ministry of the interior is important to the achievement of self-sustained peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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Reforming the police, the judicial system and the prisons must be addressed in an integrated way if a law and order environment that is fair and non-discriminatory is to be created, the Secretary-General states. To date, judicial system reform has been stalled due to the lack of resources and qualified personnel to carry out related activities in both entities. The Secretary-General suggests that international organizations expand their cooperative efforts to ensure that reform of the judicial and penal systems advance in tandem with that of local police forces.
Also, the States continue to loose revenue due to economic crimes, which generally benefit those opposing the peace process, says the Secretary-General. Investigations by the European Commission have highlighted the extent of financial crime, smuggling and other illicit operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The links between such activities and the political, police and judicial structures in the three communities -- Serb, Croat and Muslim -- have been documented. As part of the wider effort to bring about greater professionalism and transparency to public service, the IPTF intends to work with the ministries of the Federation and of Republika Srpska to improve their capacity to deal with financial crime.
At the current time, the Secretary-General reports, UNMIBH is ready to begin training entity police forces in the detection of financial crime, smuggling and corruption. Also, the Mission is prepared to assist in establishing anti-corruption units. Close IPTF monitoring of police activities will also extend to this area of law enforcement. In order to carry out the tasks related to judicial reform and economic crimes, however, the UNMIBH will require an increase in financial resources and in personnel with particular specialities.
The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/989) sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States, which reads as follows:
"The Security Council, "Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions concerning the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, including resolutions 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995, 1035 (1995) of 21 December 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1103 (1997) of 31 March 1997 and 1107 (1997) of 16 May 1997,
"Expressing its continued commitment to the political settlement of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States there within their internationally recognized borders,
"Welcoming the conclusions of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council held in Sintra on 30 May 1997 (S/1997/434, annex) and the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997 (S/1997/979, annex),
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"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 December 1997 (S/1997/966), and taking note of his observations, in particular with regard to the International Police Task Force (IPTF),
"Affirming its full support of the High Representative and his staff and his responsibility in implementing the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement,
"Commending the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), in particular the IPTF for its valuable work in such areas as police restructuring, training, weapons inspections and promoting freedom of movement, as well as its assistance in connection with the municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
"Expressing its appreciation to the personnel of UNMIBH and commending the leadership and dedication of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the IPTF Commissioner in their efforts to support implementation of the Peace Agreement,
"Noting that the presence of IPTF monitors is contingent on the existence of adequate security arrangements, which, at present, can only be secured by a credible international military force,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes the IPTF, for an additional period terminating on 21 June 1998, which will be renewed for a further period unless there are significant changes to the security arrangements as currently provided by the multinational stabilization force (SFOR), and decides also that the IPTF shall continue to be entrusted with the tasks set out in Annex 11 of the Peace Agreement, including the tasks referred to in the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in London on 4 and 5 December 1996 (S/1996/1012, annex) and of the Sintra and Bonn meetings, and as agreed by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
"2. Expresses its support for the conclusions of the Bonn Peace Implementation Conference and encourages the Secretary-General to pursue implementation of its relevant recommendations, in particular on the restructuring of the IPTF;
"3. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed regularly about the work of the IPTF and in particular its progress in assisting the restructuring of law enforcement agencies; to report every three months on the implementation of its mandate of UNMIBH as a whole; and to include in his first report a description of action taken to implement recommendations of the Bonn Conference on restructuring the IPTF, particularly the creation of specialized IPTF units to train Bosnian police to address more effectively key public security issues;
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"4. Reaffirms that the successful implementation of the tasks of the IPTF rests on the quality, experience, and professional skill of its personnel, and urges Member States, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure the provision of such qualified personnel;
"5. Urges also Member States to provide training, equipment and related assistance for local police forces in coordination with the IPTF, recognizing that resources are critical to the success of the police reform efforts of the IPTF;
"6. Calls upon all concerned to ensure the closet possible coordination among the Office of the High Representative, the multinational stabilization force, UNMIBH and the relevant civilian organizations and agencies in order to ensure the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement and the priority objectives of the civilian consolidation plans, as well as the security of the IPTF;
"7. Pays tribute to the victims of the 17 September 1997 helicopter crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including members of the Office of the High Representative, the IPTF and a bilateral assistance programme, for their sacrifice in advancing the peace process;
"8. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
DATO'MARZUKI MOHD. NOOR (Malaysia) said he recognized the important role played by the IPTF in promoting civil security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The extension of its mandate was, therefore, welcome. The international community should continue to provide the IPTF with the financial and material assistance needed to carry out the additional tasks assigned to it during the London and Bonn conferences of the Peace Implementation Council.
Thanks to the presence of the multinational force, a relatively safe and secure environment now prevailed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. Important efforts towards building a unified Bosnia and Herzegovina had begun to take root, although serious obstacles continued to impede the full implementation of the General Framework Agreement. Mutual mistrust and animosity among the different ethnic groups continued to obstruct efforts towards realizing the ultimate objective of making peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina an irreversible process. There was no viable alternative to the Peace Agreement as the foundation for building lasting peace in the region.
It was imperative that the perpetrators of the horrendous crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina be made to face the consequences of their actions, he said. He was, thus, concerned that many of the indicted war criminals were still at large. Their continued freedom constituted a major
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obstacle to the efforts aimed at creating lasting peace in a unified Bosnia and Herzegovina. They should be immediately apprehended and brought to trial before the Tribunal established for that purpose in The Hague. The SFOR had an important role to play in that regard.
There was a need to build up confidence, understanding and friendship among the ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. To that end, Malaysia was prepared to organize a series of informal forums or workshops with the participation of Bosnian groups and individuals and international experts and facilitators. With the support of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malaysia proposed to soon convene that forum in Malaysia.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said, while some progress had been made in the implementation of the General Framework Agreement, it was obvious that the sustained efforts of the international community were indispensable in stabilizing the situation and making the peace process irreversible. His Government had joined efforts for economic reconstruction and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it recently assumed further responsibility by becoming a member of SFOR. His Government also intended to establish an international fund for demining and for assistance to mine victims.
The impediments to peace were obvious and so were the measures to expedite their removal, he said. Stricter measures were needed to remove the war criminals from decision-making and to transfer them for trial to the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The Security Council should encourage further efforts to bring the criminals to justice and enhance the effectiveness of the Tribunal. That would not only safeguard the credibility of the Council, but also create important conditions for the success of the peace efforts. It was also necessary to prevent attempts to undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty and domination over common institutions by restoring, to the largest extent possible, the ethnic balance in the country.
His Government supported the Secretary-General's suggestions concerning the strengthening of the IPTF monitoring of police activities in order to deal with problems like corruption, smuggling and financial crime, he said. The multinational force should also take a more active role in supporting the peace Agreement and those implementing it. In addition, the Force should also take steps against those who opposed the peace Agreement or refused to comply with its provisions. The multinational military and police forces needed to play a role in apprehending indicted war criminals and in clearing the obstacles to the safe and voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons.
HUSEYIN CELEM (Turkey) said the lack of compliance on some crucial civilian aspects of the General Framework Agreement indicated that the international community's work in Bosnia and Herzegovina was far from complete. The situation in that country was fragile and needed a stable security environment. The work of the International Tribunal for the former
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Yugoslavia was important to the process of reconciliation. He supported the efforts of the International Tribunal aimed at the prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law. States and parties to the peace Agreement must meet their obligations to cooperate with the Tribunal, and it was the duty of the international community to exert pressure on those parties that did not meet such obligations.
The IFOR had played a crucial role in preserving peace and order, and in ensuring progress in the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. His Government believed that SFOR, as a successor to IFOR, had been indispensable for the maintenance of a stable security environment, which was essential for deterring or, if necessary, halting a resumption of hostilities. He welcomed the emerging consensus on the need for a military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue beyond June 1998. It was essential that the international community continue to exert itself persistently to achieve a lasting peace.
ANDRE ERDOS (Hungary) said his country, a neighbour of the Balkan region, was committed to a political solution of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the protection of the sovereignty of all the former Yugoslav republics. He welcomed the intention to extend the UNMIBH mandate. In 1996, his country had joined the peacekeeping operation by opening an operating base for the mission in southern Hungary. Also, his Government had participated in the IPTF since its establishment and had recently increased the number of its nationals serving with the Force.
The economic reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina could more quickly be achieved, he said. The lack of political will on the part of the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina must not delay the passage of important legislation in that regard. The administration of justice, monitoring human rights, education, democracy, and the free press would assist in the reconstruction of that nation. He encouraged the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and SFOR to continue its efforts to bring indicted war criminals to justice. However, the approval of all entities and of neighbouring nations must be first secured. The Bosnian parties and its neighbours must discharge their share of responsibility by working against nationalistic ideas. The international community should maintain its civilian and military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said the international community must prevent the political movement in a direction contrary to the General Framework Agreement. The temptation to use military force must be removed. The SFOR role continued to be an important one in securing the first outcomes of the ongoing process of reconciliation and State-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for the stabilization of the Balkans. That presence should not be limited by time, but should be determined by the progress in implementing the peace Agreement. He supported the extension of the UNMIBH
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mandate and stood ready to extend its participation in a feasible post-SFOR operation to be mandated by the Council.
The role of the United Nations was indispensable in the reconciliation process and civilian consolidation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. Now, success of the peace Agreement depended on the implementation of its civilian aspects. Proper coordination of humanitarian efforts would be needed between the United Nations in the field and all other international structures involved.
The IPTF had become more assertive in focusing on enhancing freedom of movement, police training and protection of human rights, he said. A high level of cooperation between the IPTF and SFOR had been very effective and should be further developed. Due to the multifaceted nature of the civilian aspects of the peace Agreement, he supported the view that police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina must be accompanied by changes in the judiciary and penal systems. Priority should be given to the projects aimed at promoting economic cooperation between the Federation and Republika Srpska, and within the Federation itself, he said. Both multi-ethnic entities and the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina should equally enjoy the advantages of economic recovery, including international financial aid.
ROBERT FOWLER (Canada) said the IPTF was the largest international police mission ever fielded, and its existence was an indication of the increasing importance of the role of civilian police in peace support operations. Civilian police provided the transition from military to civilian authorities, from peacekeeping to peace-building. Both the international military and civilian forces had a role, with the military providing space between factions and the police providing monitoring and training of local forces, so that democratic institutions could take root. Democracy and national reconciliation depended on the rule of law. The establishment of capable, professional and motivated multi-ethnic Bosnian police forces was key to achieving that goal.
The IPTF faced structural challenges inherent to any large United Nations mission, he said. The IPTF could become more effective by improving the screening and training of international police before deployment, strengthening the administration and establishing a clearer chain of command. The IPTF worked with small groups of civilian police, who arrived in Bosnia with different training background and capabilities and were then placed in mixed units in isolated police stations throughout the country. Despite difficulties, that approach allowed civilian police to exchange training methods and demonstrated to the local population that multi-ethnic policing could be effective.
He said the international community should not lose sight of its goal, which was the reinforcement of the capacity and willingness of the local
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police and government to fully assume their responsibilities within the context of peace. Those were their responsibilities, and they had been urged to fully assume and exercise them. The international community must avoid the temptation of displacing those authorities. That would send the wrong message and the underlying conditions would remain unchanged. Close cooperation between the IPTF and SFOR in recent months had been effective in implementing the General Framework Agreement and ensuring that local police carried out their functions. The SFOR and the IPTF must continue to combine their efforts, taking action in a coordinated, creative fashion, using their respective strengths in a long-term commitment by the international community.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), spoke on behalf of the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as Cyprus and Iceland. He said full respect for human rights and the rights of minorities was closely linked to the restoration of a multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, with institutions operating in full compliance with the rule of law in conformity with universally recognized principles of justice. The training of police forces remained a determining factor. Refugees and displaced persons had still not returned to their homes for fear of acts of intimidation and violence. Administrative and legal measures must be taken immediately to put an end to such acts.
The European Union welcomed the progress made in the two entities in the restructuring of the police, with the relentless activities of the IPTF, he said. Training in both entities was needed to explain the importance of human dignity and the role of the police in a democratic society. Also, the reform of the media must be completed, so that it could operate in a democratic and pluralistic manner. Further, the Union was concerned that the central government was operating without any organic law, secretariat or fixed location. Large sums were being managed without the necessary transparency and outside the legal process. The country had neither a flag nor common currency.
The ultimate aim of the Union was a Bosnia and Herzegovina capable of governing itself, with an impartial administration, he said. The Union would not tolerate attempts within the entities to undermine the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor would it tolerate attempts by any group to dominate its political institutions. The Union also wished to remind the neighbouring countries of their obligations under the General Framework Agreement. Those obligations must be fulfilled in their entirety, voluntarily and immediately. He reiterated that the continuation of international assistance was linked to full compliance by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and by neighbouring States with the peace Agreement and all subsequent obligations.
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FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy) said the maintenance of an international military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the SFOR mandate expired in June 1998 was essential to ensuring security and stability in that country and the region. His Government welcomed the consensus that was emerging on that need and was ready to work on identifying the best possible options. A NATO-led presence was necessary and must have as broad a participation of countries as possible. Therefore, his Government welcomed the announcement by the United States that it would keep its troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The use of reconstruction funds might prove crucial to fostering and consolidating peace, he said. Aid must be used as a catalyst to ensure genuine reconciliation. Economic assistance should also be seen as a way to encourage the democratization of political and economic life in the region. Conditionality did not mean penalizing or discriminating against one or another party; it meant encouraging everyone to take a positive attitude towards the peace process and the democratization of economic and political life. Those criteria should be applied to every aspect of the peace process, including respect for human rights, the return of refugees, media restructuring and the fight against corruption.
The UNMIBH was playing a crucial role in stabilizing Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the restructuring of law enforcement institutions, through the IPTF, he continued. The IPTF had the essential function of reassuring the civilian population and paving the way towards national reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. He welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to expand the Force's areas of operation to key public security issues, such as financial crime, smuggling and corruption, and judicial reform. His Government also shared the Secretary-General's assessment that the progress made was still fragile and, therefore, the Mission would be needed for a long period to come. In that context, security arrangements should be carefully considered, since they impacted on the IPTF's ability to function effectively.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country assigned special significance to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and had always considered cooperation to be its legal, political and moral duty. Due to its limited capabilities in comparison to the magnitude of the crimes committed, it was apparent that the Tribunal could only carry out its work in a selective manner. Therefore, the discretion used in deciding which crimes and perpetrators were pursued carried significant weight. His Government was not wholly satisfied with the exercise of that discretion to date.
Foreign intelligence sources had estimated that Bosnian Croats and Muslims were responsible for about 10 per cent of all of the crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the conflict, and Bosnian Serbs were responsible for 90 per cent, he said. Yet, Bosnian Croats represented 73 per cent of those in custody of the Tribunal. Furthermore, in spite of
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ample evidence, no indictments were forthcoming for the crimes committed against Bosnian Croats. His Government maintained its insistence that the Tribunal must take action in respect to those crimes. The Tribunal's objective of dispensing justice could not be achieved if the present pattern was maintained.
It was partly in order to avoid the risk associated with the use of force that Croatia had encouraged the voluntary surrender of indictees, he said. While the recent arrest of two Bosnian Croats was based on international law and within the scope of SFOR's mandate, it had also brought the already existing disproportion of detainees, by ethnic group, to an even higher level. Meanwhile, the architects of ethnic cleansing walked freely in Serbia and the Republika Srpska. General Ratko Mladic attended sporting events in Belgrade, and Radovan Karadzic gave interviews for television. The man who ordered the shelling of Zagreb and was indicted by the Tribunal for that crime, lived in a villa in the immediate vicinity of the SFOR headquarters in Banja Luka. The international community should ask itself what kind of message was being sent.
TONO EITEL (Germany) said the importance of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the process of the civil implementation of the General Framework Agreement could not be overestimated. A lasting and self-sustaining security and police structure in that country, based on the confidence of all three constituent peoples, could not be established by international decree. It needed the cooperation of the local authorities. His Government shared the Secretary-General's observation that UNMIBH should increase its contributions to the peace-building process within the limits of the current mandate, as laid out in the Dayton agreement. While monitoring continued, the training programme for local police would be enhanced. Specialized education and training by international experts in fighting economic crime and corruption would help to expand the capacities of the local police and to limit the profits of those opposing the peace process.
He said that the increased support of the police in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be ineffective without a democratically legitimized judicial system, which guaranteed fair investigations and trials, as well as acceptable circumstances of detention. Therefore, his Government also welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to increase the effort of the IPTF in the area of judicial reform.
The UNMIBH and the IPTF could not operate in Bosnia and Herzegovina without the necessary security arrangements, he said. At present, a secure environment for United Nations personnel could only be guaranteed by the international military force. The current distribution of responsibilities between the IPTF and SFOR had been effective and the civilian and military international engagement were mutually enforcing. Only a successful civil implementation under the protection of the military forces promised a self- sustaining peace that might finally make an international military presence unnecessary. Yet, the support offered by the extension of UNMIBH and the IPTF mandate must be met by full compliance with the peace Agreement and subsequent obligations. Those commitments included the cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) said his country had participated
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in the Security Council in 1995 when the first resolutions were adopted to implement the General Framework Agreement. Any assessment about the process begun then should bear in mind the skepticism at that time. It was true that much remained to be accomplished, including a fully functional central government, the practice of good governance, the return of refugees, exercise of freedom of expression, cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the holding of municipal elections. All of those were matters that needed to be addressed as soon as possible, but the difficulties presented by those activities should not justify delays of long-term objectives and agreements.
He was encouraged by the progress reported by the Secretary-General, he said. The United Nations and all agencies involved in the implementation of the Dayton agreement deserved support, so they could continue their tasks. His Government also supported the extension of the mandate of the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It hoped that the IPTF would have the necessary military support to fulfil its functions during the duration of its mandate. His country had the honour of being part of the IPTF since its inception and intended to continue its support as long as necessary.
The UNMIBH could only do so much, however, he said. The international community must continue to pursue every possible avenue towards solidarity and assistance, which could return a sense of hope to those that had suffered so much in that region.
The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1144 (1997).
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said the stable military environment that existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most important thing. Stockpiles of armaments were being reduced and the Standing Commission on Military Matters was helping to bridge the gap between former adversaries. The threat of war had receded, affording the parties the opportunity to make peace and build a stable and democratic society. The presence of international armed forces was the biggest factor contributing to the implementation of the General Framework Agreement. Seeds of reconciliation were growing, democratic elections had been held, national institutions were being established and the economic prospects were brightening, he said.
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However, he continued, more effort was needed in the area of developing common institutions. Leaders must do more to make economic revival self- sustaining. A more concentrated effort to ensure the return of refugees and displaced persons was vital. While more than 400,000 had returned home, four times as many had been displaced by the war and many still faced great obstacles to their return home. If refugees were not supported to return, it would mean an acceptance and legitimization of the results of "ethnic cleansing".
While gratified by recent improvements in cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia by some parties and the strong support given by SFOR, he said the failure by other parties to cooperate could mean only continued isolation. Independent media throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina was a priority for reconciliation. International contributions to IPTF were needed, especially in providing monitors with specialized qualifications. His Government strongly supported the recommendations of the Peace Implementation Council, which met in Bonn, particularly those relating to the creation of specialized units to train Bosnian police to address more effectively key public security issues. Also, he strongly supported initiatives taken by conference participants to ensure the civilian implementation efforts had adequate authority, especially when addressing the serious problem of corruption.
The United States would remain actively engaged with the NATO allies and SFOR partners in considering options for the multinational follow-on force to SFOR, to provide a secure environment for civilian implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina after June, he said. A follow-on military force, led by NATO, after SFOR ended was clearly needed. United States President Bill Clinton had announced yesterday that the United States could take part in a security presence in Bosnia when SFOR withdrew, to enable intensified civilian and economic efforts to proceed.
The future of the IPTF was closely linked to the continued presence of a NATO-led peacekeeping force, he said. For that reason, he supported the six-month extension of UNMIBH. The United States had made suggestions on how the future efforts of the IPTF could be most effective and believed that reforms related to personnel policies were especially important. His Government had not foreclosed the changing of UNMIBH's mandate in the future, which would improve its effectiveness. Changes, for now, could be kept within existing financial resources. The United States vote in favour of the draft should not be interpreted as authorizing any increase in the cost of UNMIBH.
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