H.E. Dr. Dragan Covic
Chairman of the Presidency Of
General Assembly 58th, Session General Debate
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Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure and honor to address the 58. General Assembly of the United Nations. On the outset, allow me Mr. President to extend my sincere congratulations on your election and to wish you every success in presiding over this year's session.
Even though we entered the new Millennium with a
clear determination for a better future, sharing the vision of global
solidarity and common safety, which we expressed in the Millennium Declaration,
we are witnessing more and more tragic events that occur almost on a
daily basis. A tragedy that happened on the 19th
Fully aware of all the global challenges that lay in our path, we must ready ourselves for a long and exhausting struggle, step by step and one at the time, for reduction of poverty, development of undeveloped, against the evil of terrorism and organized crime, against the proliferation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, regardless of where the battle should take place.
The World is yet again faced with new challenges. United Nations have yet again to make crucial decisions in response to them. Poverty, weapons proliferation and AIDS are amongst the most destabilising factors at the international scene. So is the terrorism. I am therefore sincerely convinced that this year's debate on all these issues, especially on the issue of terrorism, will clear the way towards the consensus of the State Parties about the concrete measures to be undertaken, thus investing the new power into United Nations, so much needed in order to conquer the threats to the international peace, health, stability and collective security.
Allow me to take this opportunity and underline the importance of the dialogue in resolving the most important issues of today. The dialogue is essential, it is most required, and, goes without saying, is only possible among those that are ready for it. Dialogue based on mutual respect represents a key instrument for the improvement of relations and cooperation among peoples and countries; it is a fundamental condition for successful outcome of negotiations and approach to different attitudes in order to achieve acceptable solutions. We in Bosnia and Herzegovina have learned the hard way the value of the dialogue - just take a look at our recent past when the lack of dialogue led us into misunderstandings, conflicts and hostilities that resulted in tragic loss of human lives, exodus of the youth and devastation of the economy that spanned over the past decade, and was not only witnessed but required active involvement of the entire international community in order to overcome.
I cannot but feel proud that I am addressing you
today as a Head of State of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is no longer
in the focus of international community as the crisis area, but has
become a state that actively participates in stabilisation
processes in the region and throughout the World. From Central Eastern
European Initiative, to South East Europe Cooperation Process, to United
Nations Peace Keeping Operations -
I would like to point out that the priority of the
In the process of BiH accession to European integration, we have just completed discussions with the European Commission, within the framework of the Feasibility Study. Working on the EC's tasks has been a positive experience in building the partnership with the International Community. We are now entering the new phase with full confidence, convinced that the initiated process would result in final fulfillment of conditions and the membership in the European Union. This comes as a result of the decision of the BiH authorities to take destiny in their own hands and to respond to major challenges such as: fight against organised crime and corruption, strengthening of the institutions, conducting legal system reforms, implementation of structural reforms and reduction of the unemployment rate.
We are committed to walk the road of defined strategy
of success in order to overcome as soon as possible the difficult heritage
from the past and to start building, with mutual understanding, a modern
I must stress
out the fact that there are still many open issues and uncompleted tasks
For us, the absolute
priority is fight against terrorism and organised
crime, and, on the international level, we are of the view that the
UN and the Security Council should play the leading role in that fight.
Together with other countries,
The issue of
missing persons is particularly sensitive and difficult for
Allow me to point out that
Nevertheless, we must not lay back; we must further accelerate the process of economic reforms. Continuation of privatisation process and further reforms of judicial system are of utmost importance for creating the more secure business environment in order to open the country to direct foreign investments.
We are in process of re-arranging and simplifying
the tax system through establishment of single custom system and Value
Added Tax, thus eliminating the corruption and white-collar crime. In
order to encourage the whole process of creation of investmentfriendly
environment in BiH, in February 2004 we will
be hosting the International Investment Conference in Mostar,
where we will present the new economic situation in
Furthermore, particularly during recent days, we
are finalizing the reforms of the armed forces and State Intelligence
Service, having realized that modern security system is a pre-condition
for full participation of
At this moment we attach paramount
importance to reforms and modernisation of
educational system in BiH. It is our firm
belief that, by observing the individual, as well as collective right
to get education in one's own language and alphabet, we will enhance
the mutual dialogue and tolerance, in order to preserve the multicultural
For the next year we also
plan to finalize the reconstruction of the
Elections in BiH were held almost a year ago. This time, the international community fully supported the election results. The International Community expressed its readiness to support democratic processes in BiH and we, the elected authorities, have made our choice: through reforms to a modern BiH.
We are committed to take the ownership, to bare more responsibilities.
Over the sixteen months in his office, the High Representative imposed
twice as many laws in the first eight months than he did in the second.
We are pleased to note the trend of reduction of imposed laws in this
year, but our ultimate goal is
Allow me to conclude by looking into the future. We have
presented our candidature for the membership of the Security Council
for 2010, reaffirming our commitment to build a state
which may share its positive experience and participate actively
in the World's peace-building, by that time, as we hope, within
the system of the reformed and reinvigorated United Nations. We are
already participating in the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations
in Ethiopia/Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Timor
Leste. We are ready to send our Transport Unit, military
observers and civilian police officers to
By the year 2009, we are planning to fulfil the conditions set forth for the EU membership, fully committed to the development of BiH based on stability, the rule of law, democracy and market economy. We are gradually becoming recognised by the implementation of democratic and economic reforms, with the priorities harmonised with international standards.
For the next year, between 15 and
17 May 2004 in