Bosnia and Herzegovina



HE. Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija

Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of

Bosnia and Herzegovina

at the 56th Session of

the United Nations General Assembly

New York, 11 November, 2001

Check against delivery


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful for the opportunity to address the 56. Session of the General Assembly. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to you Mr. President on your well deserved election.

I would like to join those who spoke before me in expressing my deep condolences to the people of the United Sates. September 11th, will be forever inscribed in our minds and hearts as the symbol of the most blatant affront against civilization and commonly accepted values.

But, regardless of the brutality of the terrorist attacks directed against innocent civilians. they failed in the attempt to polarize the world and undermine the very foundations of our societies. Because those attacks were attacks against all of us too.

We fully support the approach outlined yesterday morning by the President Bush.

Yes, the fight against all kinds of terrorism must be determined and precise. It has to target terrorists who must be apprehended and brought to justice. At the same time we have to do more when we are talking about quick and massive help to the people of Afghanistan to the innocent civilians.

I would like to use this opportunity to remind that Bosnia and Herzegovina promptly and resolutely joined the world-wide coalition against terrorism. And I am convinced that by adopting such a clear position, my country is rather part of the solution than part of the problem in this particular field.

I spoke about this two days ago more extensively in this same hall, on the occasion of the meeting devoted to the Dialogue among civilization.

Coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina that was treated by different kind of fundamentalists and radicals as problematic and as questionable Balkan country because of its multiethnic, multicultural nature, I am especially sensitive to the terrorism that is misusing religious feelings and by doing so, jeopardizing local and global society.

The war against terrorists is justified but all of us will be losers if we fail to do everything we can to help innocent people who are suffering today.

Our experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina teaches us that military intervention, even when it is complimented with the humanitarian assistance, is not enough for a sustainable long-lasting solution.

At the same time we, when I say we, I mean international community speaking with one voice together with local democratic forces, regardless of their today's strength, we have to have a clear vision about political solution, accompanied by a program for social-economic development, once the military intervention is over.

Only such a comprehensive approach: military, humanitarian, political an socioeconomic, will leave no room to the terrorists to interpret the intervention in Afghanistan as the war against Islam or as a symbol of the clash of civilizations.

The terrorists will loose.

Without the comprehensive approach we might be losers, too, measured by ethic and universal human values.

That is why we have to tackle these areas of future actions together and to start with them today.

Mr. President,

At times during which the humanity has reached the highest objectives but also the worst deeds, there should be no doubt that the United Nations can fulfill its new tasks, confronting old and new challenges, leading in building of prosperous world, founded no longer on force, but on the rule of law, not on balance of power but on balance of cooperation.

The contribution of the international community in achieving progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina was particularly visible in the role of the UNMBIH, SFOR, High Representative, Peace implementation council, OSCE and other members of the family of international community present in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We particularly recognize and value the role of the UNMBIH related to the police reform and substantial upgrading of the judicial system. The UN family of organizations was certainly one of the key players in the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a multthy-ethnic state, tolerant and democratic state.

Knowing that the mandate of the UN Mission in the present form will terminate by the end of 2002, we expect the UN mission activities to continue, in different shape and size. However we would like to see a smooth transition without any gaps or void in these extremely important activities.

The noble goals and accomplishments of our Organisation were honoured recently and I would like to extend sincere and heartiest congratulations to the Secretary General and the whole of the United Nations Organisation for the recognition by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

Bosnia and Herzegovina supports further democratisation and modernisation of the United Nations. New challenges of the fast changing world call for increasing of efficiency cost rationalisation, equal geographic participation of states and peoples in the UN system.

I would like to inform you that we have decided to present candidature of Bosnia and Herzegovina for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the year 2010.We are convinced that by doing so we confirm our commitment to contribute fully to the work of UN.

This would also be a clear sign of advanced stabilisation and normalisation of life in our country, and particularly our commitment to economic and democratic development.

Therefore, we hope that as early as in ten years from now, Bosnia and Herzegovina wi 11 succeed in becoming a member of the most important political body of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are working daily to live up to the vision of safer, peaceful. stable and self-sustainable country. Our efforts are directed along the three main sets of priorities.

First, the rule of law, through the fast implementation of the latest Constitutional Court decisions and through proper judiciary and police actions in fighting terrorism and organised crime, combating corruption, arresting of the indicted war criminals, and creating stable environment for return of refugees.

Second, further building and strengthening of the state institutions.

Third. economic reforms directed to the strengthening of economic activities, establishment of a single economic space and setting up the conditions for upgraded education and thus offering a choice for our young generations to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina and become an inseparable factor of its development and future.

Of course, the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement implementation and continuos adjustment and upgrade of our legal framework according to the European standards is the foundation of activities of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina at all levels.

Once again I would like to express gratitude of my govermnent to international community for its devoted support towards the long lasting stability and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We are determined to move from the position of a patient, or passive aid recipient from international organizations and institutions to the position of a partner and contributor to the international efforts.

We have to go through the process of being first the object, than after that the partner in order to finally become the owner of changes in our country.

We are aware that healing the consequences of the war and post-war stagnation and removal of impediments to the faster stabilisation and progress rests primarily
with the political leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As far as the defence and security issues are concerned, Bosnia and Herzegovina has already adopted Common Defence Policy. We are conscious of the urgent need to fully participate in the collective regional security arrangements. In that context our recent decision to apply for membership in the Partnership for Peace is a significant step forward.

We have met all the conditions for Bosnia and Herzegovina's membership in the Council of Europe, and we expect speedious completion of the remaining administrative procedure.

Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina is in its integration into European and NorthAtlantic organizations. Establishment of contractual relationship with the European Union through the Stabilisation and Association Process is one of priority strategic goals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The process towards the fulfilment of the conditions set in the so-called EC Road Map is well on its way. Once the work is done it will open new opportunities for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Further improvement of good relations with neighbouring Countries and increased regional co-operation remains the key element for the stability and development for Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the region.

Relations with the Republic of Croatia since the democratic change in January last year. every day in every sense are improving.

As a result of democratic changes in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina has established full diplomatic relations with FRY. which opened the official channels of the two countries to deal with number of important matters.

However. a number of issues that burdened the relations between the neighbouring countries are still on the agenda, some of them have been already_ solved in the bilateral meetings.

Mr. President,

Today is exactly one year since people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. for the first time in ten years of being driven by nationalism, have accorded less than fifty percent of their votes to three major ethnic parties. It took us almost four month to establish new democratic, multiethnic. European oriented government, now in place.

It is due time in Bosnia and Herzegovina when we must turn the tide in the favour of bolder, quicker and substantial moves. In order to achieve that we need to work together as partners with international community in streamlining the common strategy for political stability and economic recovery program as a precondition of self-sustainable development.

We believe that we are on the way to strike a proper balance in necessary and specific assistance of international community, but also in further decision-making by ourselves.

At the end I can assure you that today our country has a leadership with a clear vision and is ready to act accordingly.

For years Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the world's and regional problems.

Today my country is becoming a part of the solution.

With this conviction we are looking at the important challenges and tremendous tasks ahead of us.

We must confront them without delay.

We will do it.

I thank you Mr. President