22 March 2000


Press Release
SC/6829



SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING ON SITUATION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

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Addressing the Security Council this afternoon following an open briefing by the Secretariat on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that country's representative warned against viewing the entire Balkans region as "one indistinguishable mess"; ultimately, ethnic diversity would be an advantage rather than an obstacle.

Progress was possible in Bosnia and Herzegovina, even when it appeared to be stalling in other parts of the region, he said. Successful implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement and the New York Declaration of 1999 would counter arguments that the only option to progress was to change the accords, he said. Despite their value, however, the Dayton Agreement had left his country with an institutional vacuum, making it difficult to complete domestic integration and integration into European institutions. A progress report by his country’s President, to be sent to the Council, would shift the emphasis away from collective guilt and unhelpful generalizations, and point the way forward.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hédi Annabi, said that progress had been made in the last three months, but it had been slow and often based more on efforts by the United Nations Mission and action by the international community than on action taken by the local authorities. Significant resistance from entrenched and backward-looking elements had been encountered at every stage. Four years after its conclusion, implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement still remained a challenge, requiring the help of the international community.

Perhaps the most important development in the last three months had been the official inauguration of a multi-ethnic Brcko district, where former separate police forces had been downsized and then integrated into one multi- ethnic police force, he said. At the same time, changing the mono-ethnic character of law enforcement agencies was progressing slowly, mainly through the introduction of minority police officers trained in centres established through an UNMIBH–led effort. In Cantons of the Federation where there were a relatively equal number of Bosnian and Croat officers, their integration into a truly joint police force had been impeded, particularly in Mostar.

The representative of the Russian Federation said there was no reason for a particularly optimistic view of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only scrupulous adherence to the Dayton Agreement could be the basis for building a stable democracy. Recent proposals by Bosnian politicians to "correct" or "polish up" the Dayton plan would be counter-productive. Of particular concern


Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6829 4117th Meeting (PM) 22 March 2000

had been expressions of political extremism, which would only whip up inter- ethnic hatred and undermine the peace accords. Such tensions would inevitably spill over the border into neighbouring countries, he said.

The United States representative said that, despite some positive results, many in Bosnia and Herzegovina clearly did not want a multi-ethnic society. Criminals continued to protect their illicit profits, and extreme nationalists in Mostar resisted reforms. Such obstruction required strong action, not only by local authorities, but also by the Security Council. He applauded the Bosnian officials who had worked hard to fulfil Dayton’s promise and pledged his country's ongoing support.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Portugal said the Union, as the single largest contributor of international assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina, remained committed to the country's economic and democratic consolidation, the reintegration of refugees, and national reconciliation. While the Union continued to work actively within the Peace Implementation Council towards the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnians themselves must move the process further and faster.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Council President Anwarul Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh), summing up points raised during the meeting, said that Council members had welcomed the signing of the New York Declaration last November and urged all parties to redouble their efforts to adhere to its provisions. Members had also urged those concerned to ensure, without further delay, the integration of the Ministry of the Interior, as well as that of the police systems throughout the Federation

The representatives of the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Argentina, China, Tunisia, France, Ukraine, Jamaica, Namibia, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, and Italy also made statements this afternoon. Mr. Chowdhury (Bangladesh) also made a statement in his national capacity.

The meeting, which began at 12 noon, was adjourned at 2:08 p.m.


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Council Work Programme

The Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General detailing the progress achieved by the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) since his report of 17 December (document S/2000/215). The present report also reviews supporting activities of the United Nations system in that country during the same period. The Mission continues to be led by the Secretary-General's Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Paul Klein. Its International Police Task Force (IPTF) has an authorized strength of 2,057, but the redeployment of IPTF officers to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has reduced it to 1,837. The composition of the IPTF is contained in an annex to the report.

The Secretary-General notes that, despite continuing difficulties, progress has been made in police restructuring, review of the judicial system and the establishment of the Brcko unified police force. The Mission has launched important initiatives to accelerate changes in the ethnic composition of local police, improve inter-entity police cooperation, depoliticize local police administrations and advance the establishment of court police. In some key areas, however, the Mission has had to take strong action to overcome continued obstruction, resistance and delay. Despite the New York Declaration of 15 November 1999, implementation of the State Border Service has been delayed. Bosnian Croat authorities in Mostar have blatantly refused to integrate the Ministry of the Interior and the local police force on the west side of Mostar. In addition, the Republika Srpska has missed key benchmarks for minority recruitment. The UNMIBH will need the support of the Council and Member States with influence on the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb authorities to overcome resistance to these important endeavours, the Secretary-General states.

The report finds that while tangible progress is possible in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it requires intensive, coordinated and robust international engagement. In police restructuring and reform, the key elements of its mandate, the Mission has made considerable headway, but there are many areas where it must work with other members of the international community to achieve common goals in areas of shared responsibility. These areas will continue to provide a coordination challenge and, at a time of increasing calls on limited resources, it is essential that all international organizations involved in peace implementation in the country redouble their efforts to make timely progress. That progress, which in some areas is linked to improvements in the overall political and economic situation in the wider region, will remain superficial and incomplete unless comprehensive measures are taken to expose and eliminate political interference, corruption and organized crime in law enforcement bodies.

Continuing, the report asserts that the Mission's results-based concept of operations (including full co-location, intensive micro audits and intervention with the judiciary) will challenge extremist nationalist politicians and organized crime. The pledge by the newly elected Government in Croatia to respect the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to cooperate with its people and the international community is a welcome development. In order to remove the remaining obstacles to the restructuring of the police and judiciary and to undertake effective, professional and successful operations, the Mission's personnel and property must be safe and secure. Accordingly, the Special Representative continues to explore various options for addressing the Mission's future security needs.

Moreover, police restructuring and reform must be complemented with judicial reform to ensure the establishment of a state based on the rule of law, states the report. The Mission's judicial assessments have systematically identified political, institutional and technical impediments to the functioning of an effective judiciary. When the Council authorized the judicial system assessment programme in UNMIBH in 1998, the Mission was of the view that a basic assessment could be completed within approximately two years of the start of the programme. The judicial experts have done excellent work in the initial assessment since they got under way towards the end of 1998, but implementation of the reform has just begun. Several reports, which are expected to be finalized in the coming quarter, will address delays in the judicial system, enforcement of court orders, the use and abuse of court experts, political interference in the judiciary and the inspection of company registries. Once this work has been completed, by the end of the year, the Mission's assessment programme of the judicial system will be completed.

As noted in the Secretary-General's previous report, the present report finds that the Parliaments of both entities are considering legislation which will cover the review of the qualifications, performance and appointments of all prosecutors and judges in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The review is expected to appraise the professional performance of an estimated 800 judicial officials, and the draft legislation envisages the establishment of some 23 separate commissions. The UNMIBH, within its mandate and under the overall coordination of the High Representative, has begun preparations to play its part in efforts to support this important project and to monitor, observe and inspect judicial organizations, structures and proceedings, as mandates to its IPTF under annex 11 of the Dayton Agreement, within existing staff levels.

Also according to the report, the Mission's special project to form a Bosnia and Herzegovina police contingent for service in a United Nations peacekeeping operation has been an important symbolic contribution to strengthening State identity. In February, the first such contingent, comprising 16 police officers from both entities and all three ethnic groups, successfully completed background checks and a two-week training course providing by IPTF. It is expected that the contingent will be deployed to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The value of this endeavour is more than symbolic, as these officers will not only contribute to a peacekeeping mission in a part of the world where their services are needed, but they will also gain invaluable international experience which they can bring to their profession upon returning home.

Statements

HÉDI ANNABI, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the Secretary-General’s report described progress made towards implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). It also described those areas in which obstructions had impeded implementation. The Secretary-General had focused on five priority areas within overall reform of law enforcement: minority recruitment; the establishment of a State border service; implementation of the Brcko arbitration award; judicial reform; and the setting up of a multi-ethnic Bosnian police contingent.

Perhaps the most important development in the last three months had been the official inauguration of a multi-ethnic Brcko district. The Mission had fulfilled its part in efforts in Brcko by downsizing former separate police forces and integrating them into one multi-ethnic police force. On 13 March, the International Police Task Force (IPTF) Commissioner had handed out UNMIBH identification badges to all police officers in Brcko; however, important aspects still needed to be resolved, including the issue of police legislation. Changing the mono-ethnic character of law enforcement agencies was progressing slowly, mainly through the introduction of minority police officers trained in places established through an UNMIBH–led effort. The small number of cadets, however, had been insufficient.

At the same time, he said, former police officers in the refugee community were being encouraged to return to the Brcko area and arrangements were being made to exchange police officers between the Republika Srpska and the Federation. This process was difficult since the usual obstacles met by returning refugees had been encountered in Bosnia and elsewhere. In the two Cantons of the Federation, Cantons 6 and 7, where there was a relatively equal number of Bosnian and Croat officers, their integration into a truly joint police force had been impeded by obstruction and resistance, particularly in Mostar.

Specifically, he said, the authorities in the Croat-controlled western part had refused to allow Bosnian police officers to work from the same building as their Croat colleagues. Some small progress had been achieved in the past week when Bosnian policemen were allowed to enter the building for inspection and training purposes. Even that minimum progress, however, had required enormous pressure by UNMIBH and the High Representative and the Stabilization Force (SFOR). The Mission required the support of the Council and Member States with influence on the Bosnian, Croat and Serb authorities to overcome resistance to minority recruitment and integration of the police.

There had been some positive developments since the Secretary-General’s report with respect to the State border service, he went on. The joint presidency had approved an organizational structure which was transparent and accountable, and which had fulfilled the minimum requirements set out by UNMIBH. The project was thus back on track, despite the considerable delay caused mainly by obstruction in the Parliament. Concerning the investigation of human rights abuses, the Mission had continued its practice of “focused monitoring” through the co-location of IPTF officers in the local police stations and was shifting its training activities towards specialized training and the training of trainers. The first contingent of police officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina would serve in a United Nations peacekeeping operation in East Timor beginning next April.

Overall, he said, during the last three months, progress had been made, but it had been slow and often based more on efforts by the Mission to fulfil its mandate and action by the international community than by action taken by local authorities. Significant resistance from entrenched and backward-looking elements had been encountered at every stage. Four years after its conclusion, implementation of the Dayton Agreement still remained a challenge, and required the help of the international community.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said his country supported the Secretary-General’s report. There had been significant progress in the judicial system, as well as in reform and integration of the local police force. Advances made in Bosnia and Herzegovina were important for the stability of the region.

The mandate of the Judicial System Assessment Programme would end by the end of this year, he said. It was a valuable programme and the recommendations from its forthcoming report needed to be implemented. He noted that the United Nations was not envisaging any extension of the Programme and, therefore, encouraged the Secretariat to consider how best to pursue implementing it.

There was no exit strategy provided for UNMIBH, he noted. He would like to see a more focused assessment of that matter. It was sensible to look forward in that sense.

JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said that the efforts of the Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina appeared to have seen results. The progress of the judicial assessment programme needed to be continued and recommendations from the report had to be implemented. His Government had been working to create a new donor programme.

Last November, the joint presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina had briefed the Council, he said. There had been progress in implementing their commitments, and he would like to seek additional funding for the Council of Ministers.

He said there had been problems and obstructions, as described in the report. Bosnian authorities had to take responsibilities and make difficult choices. It was clear that many in Bosnia did not want a multi-ethnic society. Criminals continued to protect their illicit profits and extreme nationalists in Mostar resisted reforms. Such obstruction required strong action, not only by local authorities, but also by the Council. Ownership meant intensifying support for Bosnia. He applauded the Bosnian officials who had worked hard to fulfil Dayton’s promise and pledged his ongoing support.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said there had been no grounds for a particularly optimistic view of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main objective had been to make the Bosnian peace process irreversible and sustainable. Ethnic integration through the observance of the rights of all peoples of that country had been crucial. Also, the Bosnians, themselves, must be encouraged to ensure, as their prime responsibility, the successful fate of the State. All parties should recognize the need for scrupulous adherence to the Dayton Agreement as the basis for building a stable democratic society. The signing last year of the New York Declaration had been significant, as that had sought consistent implementation of the Dayton accord without any arbitrary adjustments. That implementation was the key to the success of all efforts.

He said he was concerned about recent statements and proposals made by some Bosnian politicians to “correct” or “polish up” the Dayton plan. Such an approach was counter-productive. Remaining difficulties needed to be resolved, not just in the Bosnian State organs, but also regarding their relationship with the leading international structures in Bosnia. Of particular concern was the situation in Mostar and the political extremists there. The situation should be depoliticized. His delegation was categorically against the use of force to hunt down indictees, he added.

He also expressed concern at the recent demonstrations of Bosnian extremism. Recent statements, in particular, had confirmed fears, whipped up inter-ethnic hatred and undermined peace agreements. If those forces were not controlled, then their attacks on the Dayton accord would further worsen the situation in the country. Tensions would inevitably spill over the border and threaten neighbouring countries. That, in turn, could lead to an outburst of discontent over the increasing centrifugal tendencies in Bosnia. Dayton’s potential was far from exhausted. Even talking about revising the Peace Agreement was not a good idea. His country had been a leading participant in the Bosnian settlement and would continue to actively participate in the peace process on the basis of its complete and scrupulous implementation.

VAMOS GOLDMAN (Canada) said that UNMIBH continued to make a significant contribution towards peace and stability in the entire Balkan region. The IPTF, in particular, had made an important contribution to police reform and the return of the rule of law. Nevertheless, UNMIBH had faced obstruction. There had been continued problems with the establishment of the State border service, as well as obstruction by Croat authorities in Mostar.

Return of refugees was another key priority, he said. Measures likely to foster returns, such as the Property Law, had to be implemented. The flawed judicial system was a significant obstacle to the development of a modern, democratic State. He commended the initiatives within the Framework of the Judicial System Assessment Programme and was encouraged by progress in changing the composition of local police forces.

He commended the efforts of UNMIBH to contribute to the return of refugees and internally displaced persons by ensuring that local police provided adequate security against ethnically motivated intimidation and criminal activity. The UNMIBH’s cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in demining programmes was another crucial initiative for ensuring the return of refugees to a secure environment.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that the report submitted by the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been appreciated, and he commended the Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations, Jacques Klein, and UNMIBH for their efforts in restructuring the police force. The Mission had begun to bear fruit. He was, however, concerned about the obstruction of and delays in restructuring the police force, particularly in Mostar.

The establishment of a multi-ethnic police force had to be seriously pursued, he said. He strongly objected to political obstructionism which should not be allowed to impede progress. The cooperation of local leaders was of paramount importance. He urged leaders to carry forward the process of establishing a democratic, multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There had been very slow progress in the return of refugees, he said. At that rate, the return process would never be completed. A more robust effort to establish a safe environment was necessary.

Reconciliation should have high priority, he said. The consequences of ethnic cleansing must be reversed. The continued freedom enjoyed by leading war criminals sent the wrong signal -- arrest and prosecution of those war criminals would contribute towards the goal of national reconciliation.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said there had clearly been some advances in police restructuring, judicial reform and the establishment in January of the Brcko unified police force. The good conduct of that police force in a ceremony that had taken place upon the creation of the Brcko district should also be noted. Efforts to formulate a multi-ethnic police, to improve cooperation of police between the two entities and depoliticize the forces deserved full support.

He said that, regrettably, despite agreements such as the New York Declaration, divisions had been perpetuated through the Parliament’s repeated failure to pass the appropriate legislation. As a result, the High Representative had had to impose such a law on 13 January. His delegation felt bound to repudiate the attitude of the authorities in Mostar, who had prevented Bosnian officers from working in the same building as their counterparts. Regarding the establishment of the Brcko district, all possible measures should be taken to enable the district to develop effectively. He agreed with the Secretary-General’s optimism over the promise of the recently elected Government of Croatia to support efforts towards positive reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

WANG YINGFAN (China) said that since the end of last year, UNMIBH had done some useful work in assisting police force restructuring. In particular, he noted the progress made in establishing a multi-ethnic force. If the United Nations was successful in that regard, it would provide lessons for other peacekeeping operations.

He said that problems still remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There had been incidents of blackmail, crime and political interference. Continued efforts of the Bosnian parties and UNMIBH were necessary. The UNMIBH needed support from the Council and also from Member States who had influence on the leaders in that area.

SAID BEN MUSTAFA (Tunisia) said that the Secretary-General’s report and Mr. Annabi’s briefing had reported on recent progress made by UNMIBH, which was an encouraging development in such a sensitive area. All initiatives undertaken by the Mission had been necessary to strengthen national identity and mobilize both the people and the authorities under a common plan. Total elimination of the ethnic rift was essential, as that had been the major obstacle to reconstruction. The commitment of the international community and the firm commitment of the Council would help to overcome that resistance and put pressure on the parties to change. He said that, despite progress, the situation remained precarious. Insecurity, instability, return of refugees, and other social problems had all been sources of concern, requiring a stronger commitment by the international community and closer coordination among all the actors. The activities undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UNDP, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had been part of a multidisciplinary vision which had played an important role in establishing a unified approach. In that context, the role of education, to be played by UNESCO, would promote a culture of tolerance and peace and produce a new generation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only then would the people be able to overcome the psychological horrors of the conflict. Its future could not be contemplated without an overarching vision applied to the entire Balkans region, which, as a whole, had faced many similar challenges.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said that UNMIBH and the IPTF had carried out discreet but effective activities. He noted that one of the main thrusts of the IPTF was training of local police officers and that minorities had been integrated in the police forces. Every citizen in Bosnia and Herzegovina should have recourse through the police and the courts in order to exercise his or her rights without fear.

The UNMIBH had to overcome strong impediments in order to establish unity, he said. It required sustained political and material support. His Government had provided 100 police officers and would continue to support the Mission.

The creation of a border service was essential in order to build a genuine State. He regretted that the High Representative had had to impose the law that established that service. The leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves must control the destiny of their own country. The border service would come into being, he said, but could Mr. Annabi give any idea of a timetable and funding?

The judicial structures must be reformed, he said. Work on the Judicial System Assessment would be finished this year, but what would be the subsequent stage in that process? he asked. How would reform be implemented?

He noted that UNMIBH had proposed creating a regional-level training college for the police force, he said. He would like to have some more details on establishing that college. He would also like to hear an appraisal of the influence regional developments -- such as those in Kosovo and Croatia -- had on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

VOLODYMYR YU. YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said he had been satisfied overall with the progress made by UNMIBH. With respect to police restructuring, he recognized the particular importance of integration and inter-ethnicity. At the same time, he was concerned by the reported obstruction and delays, neither of which should be tolerated. In that context, he supported the imposition by the High Representative of a State border law, following Parliament’s failure to pass the necessary legislation. The inauguration of the Brcko police service had also been extremely important.

He asked about the possibility of being informed about the so-called Brcko statement before its entry into force. Meanwhile, the report of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on implementation of the New York Declaration had been encouraging. Its submission to the Council had been quite remarkable given the past level of cooperation with the presidency. Further progress in the peace process would be achieved following the adoption by Parliament of the electoral law and changes in the passport law.

He said he had also noted with concern some negative tendencies to revise the Dayton Agreement. It was high time to multiply joint efforts to complete its implementation rather than attempt to revise it. The importance of bringing peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina had become deeply rooted, but its foundation was still shaky. The United Nations and the international community should spare no effort to achieve those goals.

CURTIS WARD (Jamaica) said he recognized the critical importance of implementing the New York Declaration, and had taken note of efforts made to restructure the police and reform the role of the law enforcement personnel. Also noteworthy had been the incremental progress in changing the composition of the police force, in order to reflect the ethnic character of the community it served. Also important was the continued emphasis on the training of police officers. Some of the issues raised in the Secretary-General's report were of concern, especially the difficulties in integrating Bosnian and Croat police officers in Canton 7, as well as the political and administrative delays in establishing a State border service.

He said that police restructuring and reform must be complemented by judicial reform. In that regard, political institutions and technical impediments to effective judicial function must be removed. Law and order would depend on an organized judiciary. The level of coordination between the United Nations agencies had been increasing, particularly in such areas as the return of refugees and human rights training. The work of the UNDP and UNICEF had been critical to capacity building and training. The long-term development and sustainability of the country lay in its human resources and the strength of its institutions. Numerous challenges remained in the discharge of UNMIBH’s mandate, for which the cooperation of all agencies was needed. Also crucial was a strengthened collaboration with UNMIBH.

SELMA NDEYAPO ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI (Namibia) said that, despite some enormous and continuing difficulties, UNMIBH had made significant progress in the area of police restructuring, the review of the judicial system and the establishment of the Brcko unified police force. She took note of the severe problems in integration of Bosnian and Croatian police officers in Canton 7, and in the establishment of the State Border Service. She hoped that for the sake of peace and reconciliation, those and other related problems would be resolved sooner rather than later to permit the restructuring and reform exercise to continue.

The efforts of the Special Representative in areas of return of refugees, demining, and the welfare of children, were very important projects that needed funds for their implementation, she said. She particularly welcomed the successful completion of pilot projects dealing with violence against women. A Bosnia and Herzegovina Police contingent to serve in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations around the world would expose participating officers to international affairs.

ALPHONS HAMER (Netherlands) expressed satisfaction about the positive developments in the region, but was disappointed by the lack of progress in the political field. It was difficult to conceive of any positive steps in Bosnia and Herzegovina as long as Parliament failed to adopt an electoral law. The international community had witnessed how the Council of Ministers had come close to being declared unconstitutional. He urged all concerned parties to cooperate.

He said the current strength of SFOR was a matter of concern -- there were now less than 20,000 persons employed. The Force should be kept at mandated strengths. He reiterated his Government’s negative opinion of the idea of an armed IPTF contingent.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity, said the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord had been taking place, but there was concern that progress was not fast enough. The Council needed to give strong signals to all key actors to extend their full support for implementation of the accord.

He hoped that the pledge by the newly elected Government of Croatia to cooperate with Bosnia and Herzegovina would be put into action through its influence on the Bosnian Croat authorities. The Bosnian Serb authorities should also be supported by the Serbs. Support of those two crucial actors was critical for UNMIBH to make considerable headway in its mandate.

The key role in the engagement of the Mission was in the area of police restructuring and consolidating the judicial system, he said. Progress in that area was dependent on overcoming the political and other factors causing obstruction and delays. With the willingness and cooperation of all parties concerned, considerable headway in UNMIBH's efforts should be possible in the coming days. He urged the international community, particularly those with influence in the region, to redouble efforts towards the full and speedy implementation of the Dayton Accord.

MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the President had recently forwarded a progress report to the Council on implementation of the New York Declaration. Regarding the methodology of the report, it was most constructive that the issues addressed in such detail, outlining specific problems, would shift the emphasis away from placing collective guilt, forming generalizations, and entrenching unhelpful stereotypes. The majority of people, from all ethnic backgrounds, had been supportive of UNMIBH’s efforts. The Council should take note of the fact that the Mission had been fully integrated with all entities and ethnic groups in the country. Similarly, the work of his country's mission to the United Nations had reflected good will and a professional commitment to peace in his country.

Consistent with the comments made by the representative of the United Kingdom on an exit strategy, the effectiveness of efforts should be reviewed, given the maturing presence of a variety of international factors. The elected officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been held accountable by the international community and by their constituency. The international factors should be held accountable by a body like the Security Council. He had also agreed with the view that a reformed judicial mandate had required a change in judicial institutions, which was as critical as any change in ideology.

The Dayton Accords had constitutionally enshrined his country's full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal, he said. The accords and their annexes had continued to enjoy the full support and confidence of the country’s president. Despite numerous arrests, the sovereign authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina had not seen fit to challenge those arrests. His delegation would seek to provide to the Council and the United Nations the accepted positions of his Government as a whole, as well as the views of important political leaders within the country, in order to inform the Council rather than advocate. In that context, the Security Council would soon receive a letter from a member of the Presidency.

He said that successful implementation of the Dayton Accords and the New York Declaration would be the best counter to those who believed the only option to progress was to change those accords. Although he was not here to defend the words or actions of any member of the Presidency, it had not been accurate to characterize his words as implying that members of another ethnic group were enemies. Ambassador Lavrov had been mistaken. No member of the presidency had viewed members of other ethnic groups as enemies, purely based on their ethnicity. That had not been the history of his country. To emphasize the words spoken by the permanent representative of Jamaica, it was indeed well known that the greatest resource of his country was all of its people and, of course, their diversity. He thanked members for a most constructive debate and for their continued support.

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, said that as the single largest contributor to the international assistance effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Union and its member States remained committed to continuing their support for economic and democratic consolidation, reintegration of refugees, and reconciliation in that country. In total, the Union had provided a total of 2.5 billion euros to Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1991.

The Union continued to work actively within the Peace Implementation Council towards the full implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement, but reaffirmed the view that Bosnians themselves must move the process much further and much faster. The pace of progress will depend on the readiness of the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Stabilization and Association process, he said.

The Union was concerned that the Bosnian leaderships had yet to implement the letter and spirit of the New York Declaration of 15 November 1999, he said, and urged the Bosnian parties to overcome their difficulties. He regretted, in that regard, the delay in the implementation of the State Border Service.

He said that the long-term stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina was being sought in the context of the Stability Act with a view to achieving lasting peace, prosperity and stability for the region as a whole. The Union fully supported the efforts by the Special Coordinator, the European Commission and the World Bank, aimed at achieving a substantive outcome of the 29-30 March Regional Funding Conference putting together a credible quick-start project package.

The Union also continued to attribute great importance to the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, he said. He said that all States must cooperate with the Tribunal in delivering indicted persons into custody.

DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) associated himself with the statement made by the representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union. As a representative of a country heavily involved in the peace process, he shared the view of the Secretary-General, repeated by Mr. Annabi, that progress had been slow in implementation of the Dayton accords and UNMIBH mandate. Despite other crises in the region, which had required the full attention and commitment of significant resources, the Mission was far from being finished. Member States should, therefore, maintain their involvement, at a high level, so as not to lose the momentum created over the past four years.

He said he welcomed the report of the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina on progress made towards implementation of the New York Declaration. The commitments made in that Declaration were on their way to being translated into concrete measures. Nevertheless, it had been disappointing that, once again, progress had only been possible after the intervention of the High Representative. Hopefully, in the future, the country's political leadership would be able to live up to its responsibility. The early adoption of an electoral law and the provision of sufficient budgetary resources would be visible proof of the maturity of the country’s political leadership and ability to “take ownership” of their affairs. He had also agreed with the remarks made by his French colleague, who had raised the need for leaders to take hold of their country’s destiny.

He said he wished to learn more about the implementation of the law on the State border service, in particular, who had authority over the border service. He also wondered whether the Government would provide adequate funds to implement that law, and what were the next steps planned. He had shared the Secretary-General's concerns about the continuing obstruction in Mostar. The successful integration of the police force and the administration would set a precedent and allow breakthroughs elsewhere. His country was ready to cooperate with UNMIBH in pursuit of its goals.

SAFAK GOKTURK (Turkey) welcomed the progress made in the areas of restructuring the police force and in judicial practice and procedure. It was revealing, however, that the effort of UNMIBH to restructure the police force as a multi-ethnic one had been thwarted by some.

Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement should be a constant objective, he said. Bosnia and Herzegovina had to become a multi-ethnic, multi- cultural and sovereign State. The actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina had to claim possession of their own destiny. To that end, election laws must be adopted by the State Parliament without delay. The new Government of Croatia had taken the right direction by declaring that it would respect the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. That approach would facilitate State building efforts. Cooperation by all States with the International Tribunal was not only essential for serving justice, but would also help in the process of "dedemonizing" each other.

He said that his Government had helped Bosnia and Herzegovina throughout its years of tragedy and now strongly supported its State-building efforts. A self-sustaining economy would help it to profit from available resources.

SERGIO VENTO (Italy) said that integration was taking place against a background of still-active forces of disintegration. The paramount goals should be integration within the country and integration into the natural geopolitical context of Europe. Domestic integration had involved two sectors: justice and political/military cooperation. He applauded the commitment of the Bosnian delegation in that respect. For its part, the New York Declaration would contribute to the integration of the armed forces. Those could be transformed from divisive elements into forces favouring internal and external integration. That, in turn, could lead to the creation of joint units ready to participate in other peacekeeping operations around the world.

He said that criminality and corruption had "squeezed" domestic growth and blocked international integration. He had read with great interest about UNMIBH’s need for greater security to pave the way for its smoother functioning. Culture and education also deserved a focus in integration efforts. The reconstruction of the bridge in Mostar should spur efforts in other parts of the country.

Mr. ANNABI, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, then addressed several points and questions raised during the debate. He said that the Judicial System Assessment Programme could indeed be completed by the end of this year, but that judicial reform would, of course, have to continue. That fell under the overall responsibility of the High Representative. Should he turn to UNMIBH to request assistance, such a request would have to be discussed with all parties concerned, including members of the Council.

In response to questions on an exit strategy for UNMIBH, he noted that the Secretary-General's report was only a progress report. In three months time, there would be an end-of-mandate report, which would attempt to provide UNMIBH's plans for future action.

The structure of the State border service had not been agreed upon by the joint presidency, he said in answer to questions about the calendar for that body's establishment, and he hoped it could move forward under the revised timetable. A headquarters and four units should be established by July. A total of 300 personnel would be needed, of which 90 had already been trained with the help of Austria. Training for another 180 was now being planned.

As far as the funding of that body was concerned, UNMIBH had been successful in ensuring that the State border service would be treated as a separate line-item in the budget of the Council of Ministers. That way, one would get a clear picture of the costs.

Establishing a south-east European staff college for police had only been a suggestion from UNMIBH, he said. Funding would have to be provided by the Stability Pact members. He did not see UNMIBH as the sponsor or implementing agency for that college.

As to the linkage between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region, in particular Kosovo and Croatia, he said that there was no doubt that progress in those regions was linked to improvement of the overall political situation. The newly elected Croatian Government had pledged to respect Bosnia and Herzegovina sovereignty. In that context, the Secretary-General had asked the Special Envoy for the Balkans, Carl Bildt, in consultation with other Special Representatives, to reflect on those linkages.

Mr. SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that implementation of the border service was still under way, and existing difficulties would require continued vigilance. Regarding the budget, it might be appropriate to “kick start” some of the financial requirements with respect to the border service. The Dayton accords had envisaged the sharing of resources derived from customs revenues. The present difficulty was due to the very limited resources of the central Government. Since most resources were derived from the various entities, the Government found itself at their mercy.

The Judicial System Assessment Programme would be a long-term process, he said, as that involved not only changing the methodology, but also addressing the institutional problems. Unfortunately, the Dayton accords had left his country with an institutional vacuum, making it difficult to complete domestic integration and integration into European institutions. Indeed, his country did not yet have a link with the appropriate European courts, which would allow its cases to proceed locally up to the level of the Court in Strasbourg. Presently, there was no centralized judicial system except for one narrowly defined Supreme Court, which generally did not handle those types of cases. Thus, the judicial system assessment programme should look at that problem to see how to move ahead.

He said that the impact of the regional situation on his country was clearly felt, and it was important to see how further progress in the region, particularly in Belgrade, would affect events. At the same time, care should be taken not to view the region as “one indistinguishable mess”. Clearly, progress in his country was possible, even when things might not appear to be going quite as well in other regions. The region as a whole should not be characterized by various ethnic hatreds or compositions. Ultimately, ethnic diversity would be an advantage and a resource rather than an obstacle.

MARK C. MINTON (United States), speaking with regard to judicial reform, said that the provisions of resolution 1247 (1999) on the subject of monitoring, inspecting and supervising the judicial procedures did not permit implementation of the recommendations of the Judicial System Assessment Programme. He looked forward to plans on how to the work in that regard could be divided between UNMIBH and other organizations.

Mr. CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), Council President, summing up points raised during the meeting, said that Council members had welcomed the signing of the New York Declaration last November and urged all parties to redouble their efforts to adhere to its provisions. Members also urged those concerned to ensure, without further delay, the integration of the Ministry of the Interior, as well as that of the police systems throughout the Federation, particularly in Mostar. In a related point, members also urged all parties, in particular the Republika Srpska authorities, to increase the number of minority police officers, in accordance with their obligations under the Framework Agreement on Police Restructuring.

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