Statement by H.E. Mrs. Nathalie Broadhurst Estival Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina

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May 15, 2024

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the High Representative Christian Schmidt for his statement, and welcome the presence of the President of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Collegial Presidency and the representatives of the European Union, Serbia and Croatia this morning.

The situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina has not substantially changed since the Security Council met two weeks ago upon Russia’s request. The High Representative on that occasion described, as he did again today, the security situation as stable, albeit fragile.

France is attached to the stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and contributes to it through its participation in the EUFOR Althea Operation, for which it provides strategic command. Since its launch in 2004, EUFOR Althea has played a crucial role in maintaining stability and a secure environment in the country.

Mr. President,

The nationalist rhetoric and the threats of secession made by the leaders of Republika Srpska are the main destabilizing factors we are concerned about today. France once again condemns the adoption by the Republika Srpska National Assembly on April 19 of draft laws on elections, referendums and immunity, which undermine Bosnia-Herzegovina’s constitutional order, the functionning of its central institutions and its unity. France is concerned by the draft law on “foreign agents”, which jeopardizes the preservation of an environment favorable to civil society, the media and freedom of expression.

France calls upon the leaders of Republika Srpska to put an end to these initiatives, which run counter to the country’s prospects of accession to the European Union. France, as a witness to the Dayton-Paris agreements, will continue to support the unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mr. President,

The decision by the Heads of State and Government of the European Union to open accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 21 is a message of encouragement and confidence: the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and of the Western Balkans as a whole, lies in the European Union, for the benefit of all its citizens. The European project is founded on the values of peace, justice, reconciliation between peoples, freedom and democracy. There is therefore no place for negationism, historical revisionism or the glorification of convicted war criminals, in a country and a region that have expressed their wish to join the European Union.

It is up to all of us to use the resolution on the creation of an International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide as an opportunity to work together to reconcile memories, on the basis of respect and solidarity with all victims, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. There can be no lasting peace, no European future, without reconciliation. There is nothing in this resolution that targets any particular people, because criminal responsibility for the crime of genocide concerns individuals.

Mr. President,

France believes that the international presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina remains necessary for the stability of the country and the region, in line with the framework provided by the Dayton-Paris agreements. The European Union is playing a fundamental role in this area with the EUFOR Althea operation, and France supports the High Representative’s civilian mandate.

France calls on all players in Bosnia-Herzegovina to refrain from any provocation likely to sow discord, and invites all political forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina to work together, in order to get back on track with the reforms needed to continue Bosnia-Herzegovina’s European trajectory.

Thank you.

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