05/12/2001
Press Release
SC/7232



Security Council

4433rd Meeting (AM)


PEACEKEEPING ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL

ON PROGRESS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA MISSION


Secretary-General’s Report Suggests Follow-up

Mission After 2002 Should Be Regional Responsibility


Given the many commitments that the United Nations was facing, the Secretary-General believed that regional actors should assume responsibility for a follow-up mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council this morning.


As he briefed Council members on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Annabi said such mission should be solid enough to maintain the accomplishments of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and bring to fruition ongoing projects.


He went on to say that it would be desirable for such a mission to combine responsibilities for the police, judiciary and penal system.  The assessment was that such a task could be carried out by a smaller police mission of approximately one-quarter of UNMIBH’s present staff –- perhaps 450 police officers.


Not all projects contained in the implementation plan, he continued, would be fully completed by the end of 2002, since they were designed to establish ongoing mechanisms and structures, such as those for minority recruitment or for inter-entity and regional police cooperation.  Those structures would require post-UNMIBH nurturing.  There would, therefore, be a need for continued monitoring and assistance in order to preserve what had been achieved by the Organization over the last six years.  Further, some of UNMIBH’s projects, such as the State Border Service, depended on securing additional financial assistance.


The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina told the Council that accomplishments in the report were part of the overall improvement in his country.  After the general elections, a multi-ethnic government had been established that was committed to working with the international community to building a multi-ethnic State.  Progress achieved so far, however, was only part of the process of bringing the country closer to Europe.  The report was a good opportunity to emphasize the most important issues in the country and the long-term economic transitions.


The representative of the United States said that the State Border Service had a key and central role in the work of UNMIBH and the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  As such, its short-term needs required the urgent attention of the international community if problems such as trafficking and terrorism were to be actively combated.


The representative of the United Kingdom said that while the current  Mission would complete its mandate in December 2002, the task of police reform would be incomplete.  A key task would be to remove politics from policing and to ensure judicial reforms.  The planning for the follow-up mission must also begin as soon as possible.  It was also hoped that the successor mission would be able to rely on UNMIBH’s active support during the handover phase.


The representatives of Singapore, Ukraine, Mauritius, China, Jamaica, France, Tunisia, Ireland, Colombia, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Norway, Mali and Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) also made statements this morning.


The meeting began at 10:44 a.m. and was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.


Background


When the Security Council met this morning to review the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on that country (documents S/2001/1132 and S/2001/1132/Corr.1).


Fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended on 11 October 1995.  From then until 20 December 1995, forces of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) monitored a ceasefire put in place to allow for peace negotiations being launched in Dayton, Ohio.  On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was initialed.  On 8 and 9 December 1995, the Peace Implementation Conference met in London, appointing the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.  On

14 December 1995, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as the other parties signed the Peace Agreement in Paris.


The Agreement with its 11 annexes covered a broad range of issues including: military aspects of the peace settlement; regional stabilization; delineation of an Inter-entity Boundary Line between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska; holding of democratic elections; human rights; assistance to refugees; civilian implementation of the Peace Agreement; and an International Police Task Force.  The parties agreed to a ceasefire, which had begun in October 1995, withdrawal of UNPROFOR and deployment of a NATO-led multinational Implementation Force, to be known as IFOR.  All final decisions concerning military aspects of the implementation were to be made by the IFOR Commander.  Full cooperation was pledged with "all entities involved in the implementation plan", including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia located at The Hague.


On 15 December 1995, the Council, by its resolution 1031 (1995), endorsed the establishment of a High Representative to "mobilize and, as appropriate, give guidance to, and coordinate the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies” involved with the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement.  In December 1996, the Council authorized Member States to set up a multinational stabilization Force (SFOR) to succeed IFOR.  The SFOR remains deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


On 21 December 1995, the Council, by its resolution 1035 (1995), decided to establish the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a United Nations civilian office, brought together as the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH).  The Mission exercises a wide range of functions related to the law enforcement activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It also coordinates other United Nations activities in the country relating to humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction.


The Council has renewed the mandate of UNMIBH on several occasions, most recently by passing resolution 1357 (2001) of 7 June which extended the Mission for 12 months.  It simultaneously authorized the NATO-led SFOR to continue operating in the country during the same period.


In his current report the Secretary-General details the progress of UNMIBH since his last report of 7 June (document S/2001/571) and reviews activities conducted jointly by the Mission and other parts of the United Nations system.  According to the Secretary-General, Jacques Paul Klein continued as his Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and General Vincent Coeurderoy as the Commissioner of the Mission's International Police Task Force (IPTF).  The current strength of IPTF is 1,673.


The Secretary-General notes that UNMIBH continues to progress towards the goal of completing its core mandate -- to create within specific timelines the fundamental administrative and personnel structures upon which a professional police force can be built.  The original tasks of the plan have been refined into 66 specific projects, of which 43 have been completed and 23 are ongoing.  Significant achievements since his last report include:


--  A qualitative improvement in inter-entity and regional polic

cooperation, which now focuses on anti-terrorism activities;


--  The effective work of the State Border Service, which has reduced

by two thirds suspected illegal migration to Europe; and


--  The launching of the Police Commissioner project.


The Secretary-General goes on to say that, in the politically difficult environment of Bosnia and Herzegovina, these achievements have not come easily. The UNMIBH has had to overcome strong resistance and, sometimes, defiance.  The Mission continues to rely on the High Representative to break through obstruction, establish conducive political conditions, accelerate judicial reform and support requests for essential financial resources.


According to the Secretary-General, the provision of $6.4 million to provide essential equipment for the State Border Service and basic equipment for the police is particularly important to the completion of key projects in the mandate implementation plan.  He, therefore, appeals to Member States to contribute generously to the priority projects of UNMIBH as identified in the appeal for contributions to the Trust Fund for the Police Assistance Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He also draws the attention of donors to the overall shortfall in funding for salaries for the full deployment of the State Border Service in 2002.


The Secretary-General welcomes the opening in Srebrenica of the first model police station constructed by UNMIBH and the cooperation of the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska in appointing the first Bosniac to a senior police position at the station.  He encourages more Bosniac police officers to return as an essential confidence-building measure to underpin two-way returns in the area.  To these ends, UNMIBH has contributed to the improvement of the infrastructure in the area, utilizing $1.6 million released, by agreement with donors, from the Trust Fund for the Restoration of Essential Public Services in Sarajevo.


The Secretary-General states that UNMIBH is expected to complete its core mandate by December 2002, as envisaged in its implementation plan.  Thereafter, however, there will still be a need for continued monitoring and assistance to preserve what has been achieved.  This could be carried out by a smaller police mission of approximately one quarter of the present strength of UNMIBH.  Given the many commitments that the United Nations is facing, the Secretary-General stresses that it would be desirable for regional actors to assume responsibility for such a mission.

The Secretary-General also states that General Assembly, by its resolution 55/268 of 14 June 2001, had appropriated an amount of $144.7 million gross for the maintenance of UNMIBH for the 12-month period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002.  As at 31 October 2001, unpaid assessed contributions to the special account for UNMIBH amounted to $107.6 million.


Statements


HÉDI ANNABI, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said the work of UNMIBH continued to be based on its mandate implementation plan.  That plan identified the Mission’s objectives and the programmes, as well as the modalities to achieve those objectives.  The original tasks contained in the plan had been refined into 66 specific projects of which

43 had been completed.  Twenty-three projects were still ongoing.  The report demonstrated that UNMIBH was well on track to completing its core mandate by December 2002. 


He said important political and operational challenges still lay ahead. Some of the Mission’s projects, such as removing police officers based on their wartime records, faced political opposition.  The legislation for the Police Commissioner’s project was still opposed by nationalist parties, mainly in Croat- dominated cantons.  Voluntary redeployment of minority police officers remained slow and difficult.  Continued support by the Council and Member States that had special influence on the parties, as well as the High Representative, would be essential for the Mission’s success.


He stressed that some of the Mission’s projects, such as the State Border Service, depended on securing additional financial assistance.  Donor assistance was badly needed.  He had heard, however, that at the recent Sarajevo donors conference some progress had been made.  In addition, not all projects contained in the implementation plan would be fully completed by the end of 2002, since they were designed to establish ongoing mechanisms and structures, such as those for minority recruitment or for inter-entity and regional police cooperation.  Those structures would require post-UNMIBH nurturing.  There would, therefore, be a need for continued monitoring and assistance in order to preserve what had been achieved by the Organization over the last six years.


He said that, given the many commitments that the United Nations was facing, the Secretary-General believed that regional actors should assume responsibility for a follow-up mission, which should be solid enough to maintain UNMIBH’s accomplishments and bring ongoing projects to fruition.  It would be desirable for a follow-up mission to combine responsibilities for the police, judiciary and penal system.  The assessment was that such a task could be carried out by a smaller police mission of approximately one quarter of UNMIBH’s present staff –- approximately 450 police officers.


He welcomed the first steps and assessment made by the High Representative, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union in planning a post–UNMIBH international police monitoring presence.  That issue was going to be discussed at the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board meeting.  “We hope that we will have more clarity on this matter soon”, he added.


TAN YEE WOAN (Singapore) said the Mission’s work was not being done in a vacuum.  The UNMIBH might be able to make a clear exit after fulfilling its mandate, but sustainable peace and development could only be achieved if the right political, social, economic and other conditions were put in place.  That was the role of the High Representative, SFOR, the United Nations and other actors.  In fact, to do its job, UNMIBH was dependent on the High Representative to create the necessary conditions.


She said the full spectrum of essential conditions had to be established for Bosnia and Herzegovina to attain sustainable peace and development.  The point became clear when one contrasted the presence of a nationwide policing framework with State-level services and the absence of a national army in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It was difficult to see how a nation could exist with independent armies, while the police existed in a single national framework.  No other country had done that. 


Recalling that in September the Council had taken a step forward in holding a public meeting with both the High Representative and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, she said that that practice should continue for future public meetings whenever the opportunity presented itself.  That would allow the Council to get a full picture of what was happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina and what the key actors were doing.  To obtain the full benefit, the High Representative and the head of UNMIBH could submit their reports at nearly the same time.  The frequency of those reports could be timed to balance the need for regular meetings on Bosnia and Herzegovina against any possible excess burden on the two authorities.


VALERY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine) said there would be no visible breakthrough in Bosnia and Herzegovina unless the Government of that country took its own share of the responsibility for strengthening a multi-ethnic society.  In that regard, the recent appointment of the Election Commission, which had already taken national responsibility for holding elections, was an encouraging sign.  As the overall situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina still remained fragile, the international community should continue to be involved with the country.  It went without saying that the failure of the international efforts in that State would have an immediate and dramatic impact on the whole region.


He said the way towards inter-ethnic reconciliation and the development of stable democratic State institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina lay in implementation of the European Union road map for that country.  He called on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to actively follow that guideline.


He said his Government was interested in intensifying and enhancing cooperation with UNMIBH and the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in addressing the issue of trafficking in human beings.  Also, it appeared that the conditions for the national, political and cultural revival of persons that belonged to the ethnic minorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina remained unsatisfactory.  He asked Mr. Annabi to comment on current developments in that area.


JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said UNMIBH had been successful in restructuring law enforcement bodies, as it successfully worked towards the creation of solid structures for a professional police force to establish the rule of law.  He was concerned, however, that the project was facing obstruction and he called on the parities concerned to cooperate with the Mission.  He expressed concern about the lack of diversity in the police force and said that minorities must be adequately represented.  He was pleased to learn of the increase of the number of women in the police force.  The increase in the return of minorities to Bosnia and Herzegovina was another indication that the situation on the ground was improving.


He said that before the core mandate was completed the Council would have to decide on what kind of mission should replace it.  The options must be seriously examined.  While the Mission had made significant achievements, the economic situation was still fragile and the level of unpaid assessments was still high.  Stating that the lack of funds could seriously affect the Mission, he called on all States to meet their financial obligations.


STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said this was a very crucial time for the future of policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He had noted the view that the United Nations should not provide the successor mission to UNMIBH.  The outcome of the Peace Implementation Council deliberation in Brussels should, thus, be communicated to the Organization.


He said the rule of law was a prerequisite for democracy in not only Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in other parts of the world.  While UNMIBH was doing important work, much more was needed.  In that regard, he cited crowd control capacity and increased minority representation in the police forces.  While the Mission would complete its mandate in December 2002, the task of police reform would be incomplete.  A key task would be to remove politics from policing and to ensure judicial reforms.  The planning for the follow-on mission must also begin as soon as possible.  It was also hoped that the successor mission would be able to rely on UNMIBH’s active support during the handover phase.


SHEN GUOFANG (China) said that reform in the judicial area must be accelerated.  He expressed the hope that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina would increase their capabilities in nation-building.  He also hoped that the Mission would make greater efforts to reflect in the police force the multi-ethnic composition of the country.


Noting the increase in the return of minority refugees, he said the two main problems were security and, most outstanding, inadequate housing.  He hoped the international community would pay attention to that problem and provide support.  He also called on international organizations to do their part in solving that problem.


After the mandate of UNMIBH was completed, he said, the achievements realized would need to be consolidated.  He hoped the Council would be informed of the progress of preparations for that follow-up mission as soon as possible.  While regional actors were involved in the follow-up programme, he hoped the United Nations agencies would increase their cooperation and participate in a joint effort.


MIGNONETTE PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that in his last briefing to the Council the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina had said that the responsibility of the international community was predicated on empowering the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and bringing the country closer to the European Union.  The Council had contributed to that effort.  She also commended the Special Representative for the systematic approach that had resulted in the completion of 43 of the 66 UNMIBH projects.


She said her delegation was pleased with the work of the State Border Service, which now monitored 75 per cent of the border and would be fully operational by 2002.  She said the Mission had an uphill task, because problems such as corruption and judicial misconduct still existed.  The latter had particularly compromised prosecutors.


She underscored that cohesion and political neutrality remained elusive, while nationalist actions ate away at progress, as did problems emanating for the Republika Srpska.  Political corruption and the lack of clear and transparent policies by political factions had also affected economic progress.  Success, she stressed, also depended on compliance by the relevant authorities with the goals of the Peace Agreement.


JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said his Government associated itself with the statement of the European Union to be made by the representative of Belgium.


He said UNMIBH was an exemplary peace mission and the result of its work was there for all to see.  Success had been achieved thanks to the enhancement of the State Border Service.  The Mission was also exemplary in its ability to provide its own exit strategy and in the prospect of a takeover of the Mission by regional organizations upon completion of the mandate.  The redefinition of the roles of the United Nations and the regional organizations, and the strengthening of their complementarity, was something being thought about within the walls of the United Nations.  He emphasized the need to make a choice on a follow-up mission only when the time was right.


He said the rapprochement with the European Union was a prospect that was open to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He noted that the Union was the primary contributor to the international police force and would have the primary capacity to conduct the follow-on mission.  Bosnia and Herzegovina was meant to join itself with Europe and was doing so as part of the process of stabilization and association.  He urged them to continue that process with all the necessary resolve.


ALI CHERIF (Tunisia) said while the accomplishments and progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina had not been easy, the results achieved so far were satisfactory and deserved the commitment of the entire international community.  The people of that country must be helped to strengthen and build a new society, as well as control their own destiny.


He welcomed the encouraging results in the area of police reform, stating that the establishment of a police corps was a decisive stage in the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It was essential to continue such progress.  Partisan political and anti-ethnic behaviour must also be eliminated.  His delegation also supported UNMIBH’s efforts in the field of judicial reform.  Justice must be independent and impartial and those brought to justice must be convinced of the fairness of judges.


He said the State Border Service was particularly important in the fight against trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings.  His delegation also encouraged the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its effort to have holy places rebuilt and hoped that there would finally be a reconciled and healthy Bosnia and Herzegovina.


GERARD CORR (Ireland) said his Government endorsed the statement that would be made by the representative of Belgium on behalf of the European Union.


He said he remained concerned about some areas of the Mission, including with regard to the degree of political interference and inadequate support for the police force.  It was essential that the authorities implement the requirements of the Peace Agreement.  He welcomed the work of the Police Commissioner project and the efforts to create a police code.  He agreed that the response of police forces to violence against minority returnees constituted an important indication of police performance.  The Mission was still faced with significant pockets of resistance to a truly multi-ethnic society.  The relevant authorities should push for more multi-ethnic cooperation and support vital reform.  He noted the seven convictions of perpetrators in human trafficking, but said that further efforts to eliminate that illegal trade remained severely hampered.


The international community must continue its commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, he continued.  The achievements realized and the future work in reforming the police force should not be hurt by an inadequate judicial system.  The judicial system must be reformed.  Also, planning must urgently continue at all levels so that a smaller follow-on mission could be deployed.  Regional actors were best placed to reassume responsibility for that mission.


JAMES B.CUNNINGHAM (United States) said his delegation supported the transfer of UNMIBH’s authority to a regional body.  The Peace Implementation Council meeting that was taking place in Brussels would consider how to streamline the civilian presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also how to ensure the seamless transition from one body to another.


He said the State Border Service needed more political support and more resources.  That Service had a key and central role in the work of UNMIBH and the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  As such, its short-term needs required the urgent attention of the international community if problems such as trafficking and terrorism were to be actively combated.


ANDRÉS FRANCO (Colombia) said reform was under way to create a professional police force in Bosnia and Herzegovina that would have a solid structure and last.  The recruitment of minority groups into the police force was a guarantee of its neutrality, which should be characteristic of the force.  Because of its authority, the composition of the police force must be an example and model.  He hoped that the appointment of a Bosniac as a deputy police commander would serve as an incentive to the return of minority groups to that region.  Those efforts should be imitated in other zones.


He said the illegal transit of persons was a recurring problem and he emphasized the progress that had been made in recent months in border control.  It was necessary for the joint work in that area to continue between the police and the staff of the border services.  He welcomed the appeals for greater funds to support that programme.  The Council must not be absent from the discussions on the presence of a future international presence.  One of the concerns was what the United Nations exit strategy should be.  All of the options deserved detailed analysis.  The international community awaited the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Council meeting in Brussels.  Its results would influence the role of the Security Council.


IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDURY (Bangladesh) said that effective functioning of police institutions was severely compromised when the judiciary did not develop hand in hand along with police reform.  The lack of judicial enforcement discouraged the police from apprehending criminals.  In cases of ethnically motivated crimes, the adequate response of the judicial system was essential to gain and retain public confidence and dissuade extremists.  The immediate priorities -- economic reform to encourage investment, sustainable minority returns and institution-building -- could not be achieved without establishment of the rule of law, based on effective policing and an impartial judiciary.  The judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, remained largely dysfunctional.


The most effective way to heal the scars of a tragic past was to create economic opportunities, he said.  That would enable them to look forward to a promising future.  A long-term solution would remain elusive if the countries could not be put on a firm footing for progress, ultimately leading to integration with the rest of Europe.  In order to identify the needs and potential for development, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) mission had recently conducted an initial assessment on requirements for a multi-year economic and social recovery plan.  In itself, that would not be sufficient.  There must be continued committed support from the international community in order to sustain stability and imbibe hope for the future.  Hope would help them overcome divergences and set them on a course for a prosperous future.


SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the Mission had achieved some successes in ensuring public safety and internal stability.  He supported the aim to achieve the core mandate by the end of 2002.  The main goal was to ensure genuine stability, and that could be achieved by coordinating the efforts of all concerned.  The primary effort should be in enhancing effectiveness, eliminating duplication and reducing expenditures and the number of staff.  The criteria for staff and their mandates must be explained, as well as for the transfer of their responsibilities to the Bosniacs themselves.  However, they should not act hastily.  The proposals must be well worked out and must comply with the Dayton accords.  He was also not in favour of hasty action regarding the international police force.  The OSCE was the best option, but the transfer of the operation would involve substantial additional finances.  There must be a rational decision. Any haste would be unjustifiable.


OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the interdependence of police and judicial reform must be recognized.  The pace of judicial reform had lagged behind and further efforts were needed to catch up with police reforms.  In the police sector, he would like to see improved cooperation between entity police forces.  Minority representation in local police forces continued to be inadequate in both entities.  There was also a need for further training and equipping of entity police and the State Border Service.  Norway had, therefore, decided to support the Border Service with 200,000 euros in 2001.


The police and judiciary would continue to require international support and supervision after completion of UNMIBH’s core mandate in December 2002, he said.  Norway would continue support to preserve UNMIBH’s achievements beyond 2002.  Work was in progress to evaluate the most practical and efficient ways and means to do that.  The OSCE had demonstrated throughout the Balkans -- and not the least in Croatia, where it took up the mantle from the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) -- that it had the necessary experience, capacity and capability in that regard.


The important contribution that neighbouring countries could make in promoting stability, the rule of law and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be emphasized, he said.  Ethnic tension, organized crime, trafficking, illegal migration and political instability could only be adequately dealt with through cooperation within a regional framework and with a unified international approach.  Regional inter-police cooperation was strongly welcomed, as was a regional strategy to combat organized crime and terrorism.  That was a significant step in the right direction.


MOCTAR OUANE (Mali), President of the Council, speaking in his national capacity, said his delegation was delighted by the encouraging results in the implementation of the Dayton accords and urged all communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to participate actively in building a multi-ethnic society and promoting the peaceful return of refugees.


His country welcomed and encouraged efforts made to restructure the police force and reform the judiciary, as well as human rights institutions.  Such efforts would establish a just society that would distribute real justice to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  That was a prerequisite for peace, he stressed. He reiterated the appeal to the international community to give its full support to the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


MIRZA KULJUGIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that the achievements described in the report were part of the overall improvement in the country.  After the general elections, a multi-ethnic government had been established that was committed to working with the international community to building a multi-ethnic State.  However, that progress was only a step in the process of bringing the country closer to Europe.  The report was a good opportunity to emphasize the most important issues in the country and the long-term economic transitions.


Restructuring the police and the judiciary system was of paramount importance in government priorities regarding the development of institutions and the rule of law, he said.  He appreciated all the efforts of UNMIBH in that regard.  There had been a significant decrease in illegal border transit and human trafficking.  He also recognized the importance of the efforts of UNMIBH and other United Nations agencies in the return of minority refugees.  There had been an almost 40 per cent increase in so-called minority returnees registered this year.


There had been considerable improvement in the implementation of the accords with regard to refugee return, he continued.  Nevertheless, five more years would be necessary for the completion of the return process.  The progress in the return of refugees and internally displaced persons had not been equally represented in the two entities.  Success could be achieved only if the international community and the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina focused on the identified weak spots.  For the first time the central and local institutions were fully cooperating.


He recognized UNMIBH activities as an integral part in building the politically and sustainable European country, he said.  For the first time, returnees were free to return home or to live in other places.  That was necessary for sustainable economic reform.  He expected that UNMIBH would make additional efforts until the completion of its mandate.  It was of the utmost importance that core responsibilities were smoothly retransferred to institutions already in the country.  He expected that the necessity for a regional approach would be taken into account, since many issues were regional problems. 


JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium) spoke on behalf of the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Iceland and Liechtenstein.


He said while the Union was pleased with UNMIBH’s progress, it was a shame that efforts made by the police were not yet effectively taken up by the judicial system, which, as noted by the Independent Judicial Commission, was only making slow progress.  Public confidence, not only in the judicial system, but also in the police services, was essential for that system to work properly.  He, therefore, called on the Mission to pursue the efforts it had begun in the difficult task of overhauling the judiciary.


He said the transition to a follow-on mission be planned intelligently.  The avenues opened for streamlining the presence of the international community on the ground must also be explored with two goals in mind –- efficiency and coordination.  The document that the High Representative was going to submit at the meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Brussels would most certainly enable progress towards rapid implementation of such streamlining and would further enhance the efficiency of actions by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


He said the Union strongly urged the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue with the European Union road map.  He wished to stress once more that responsible political management, combined with total and immediate determination to implement institutional, legal and economic reforms in full, were essential prerequisites for speedy integration into the Union’s structure.


Mr. ANNABI, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, said Mr. Klein had participated in all the meetings on the streamlining of the international presence in Bosnia Herzegovina and was at the meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Brussels today.  With regard to all the delegations to Bosnia and Herzegovina from the OSCE and the European Union, cooperation had taken place at all levels in the various regions.


Regarding the format of the follow-on mission, he said decisions  would be taken by whatever organization emerged as the successor organization.  The UNMIBH had suggested that any follow-on mission would be in a better position to do its work if it combined the responsibilities for the police and the judicial system.  The follow-on mission could perform its functions with about 25 per cent of the current strength of UNMIBH.  The UNMIBH would begin to downsize, so that the move from one operation to another could take place in a seamless fashion.


He said that UNMIBH tried to ensure that the police adhered to international human rights standards with regard to minority returnees.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights provided guidance on all relevant human rights issues to the organizations involved in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The UNMIBH would

cooperate actively with the successor organization and was eager to begin the planning process as soon as there was clarity.  The Secretary-General had provided 13 months advance notice, so that there was time to prepare.  It should not be that difficult, as a lot of existing personnel could assume the same responsibilities.


Concerning the question of when the Sate Border Service would be able to deploy fully, he said it covered 75 per cent of the borders, including the airport.  They should be able to cover 100 per cent of the border sometime in the second half of next year.  However, that depended on the funding and equipment for the State Border Service, which was now short $2.5 million in equipment and

$16 million in salaries to the employees.


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