This year we mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. The agreement laid the foundation for the establishment of a new state in a multi-ethnic place that had just emerged from war.
The lasting peace that followed continues to be an opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina to carry on its transition to a functional, reform oriented, democratic European country. Political will and strong leadership are essential to ensure continued progress over time.
This year we also mark the 25th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. We must fully acknowledge the past if we are to heal wound and build a future based on truth and reconciliation.
We welcome that for the first time since 2008 local elections will take place in the city of Mostar. We are however concerned about the divisive rhetoric expressed in the run-up to these elections.
Continued reforms are necessary to secure stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the welfare of its people. We encourage the government and all parties to strive for the implementation of comprehensive reforms in a manner that benefits all citizens. A vibrant civil society and an independent press are key to continued democratic and economic development.
At the same time as we mark the 25 anniversary for the Peace Agreement, we also mark the 20 anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325. We encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina to use this anniversary as an inspiration to further implement their own National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security. The NAP includes confidence-building measures that can be powerful tools to help further reconciliation and improve normalization of relations between the constituencies of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Norway will remain an active partner in supporting reforms and further Euro-Atlantic integration of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
As a final point: Let me express gratitude to High Representative Inzko for his long-standing commitments for Bosnia Herzegovina.