Let me start by reiterating Norway’s position: EUFOR Althea’s contribution to maintaining stability, and a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is vital; and unfortunately still necessary to ensure sustainable peace in BiH.
We therefore voted in favour of the resolution, and welcome the continued work of Operation EUFOR Althea. While it is important that we were able adopt a resolution, we regret that it was not possible to proceed with the more substantial text, which would have sent a signal to the actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to stay committed to the process of transition, towards a peaceful, reform oriented, and prosperous European country.
Let me also thank the Secretary-General and High representative Schmidt for the report. It outlines serious challenges to the fundamental elements of the ‘General Framework Agreement for Peace’.
Norway supports the Office of the High Representative; and believes it continues to have an important role in overseeing the implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace agreement.
The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must take the necessary actions to fulfil the conditions under the 5+2 agenda. We believe this is possible and within reach, if all actors- including the international community- work constructively together, and in the best interest of all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only then could the Office of the High Representative be closed, and the international supervision of Bosnia and Herzegovina phased out.
However, we are not there yet. Progress has been made, but more needs to be done.
We remain concerned about the current political crisis in the country. It is in everyone’s interest to pursue a peaceful, and constructive path, that leads to lasting reconciliation - more than 25 years after the war. This is a prerequisite for development and prosperity. Yet, the current political impasse is destructive. Energy should be spent on meeting the needs of the people, and focusing on comprehensive reforms to further develop Bosnia and Herzegovina. Efforts must be made to enhance implementation of reforms, including on the rule of law, and rulings by the European Court of Human rights.
It is time for all parties to play a constructive role in ending the impasse, and through dialogue: resolve the current crisis and help build a better tomorrow for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We know that women are key to lasting and sustainable peace. We therefore call on all parties to ensure women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in all aspects of dialogue and peacebuilding.
Let me end President, by once again confirming that Norway fully supports the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and fundamental structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a single sovereign state, comprising two entities. Norway listens to all; and stands ready to continue engaging with all.