Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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May 10, 2023


We welcome Her Excellency Ms. Željka Cvijanović, Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We note with deep concern that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has entered a new dangerous phase. The Western community has turned into a direct participant of the systemic internal political crisis in the country. External forces, embodied in the Office of the High Representative and several international presences in Sarajevo openly manipulate the deteriorating inter-ethnical and inter-party contradictions, and abuse their role under the 1995 Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We are particularly concerned over the destructive activity of the self-proclaimed “High Representative”. The  course towards transfer of responsibility to the Bosnian peoples that was endorsed by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board has been fully rejected and forgotten. While meddling in the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an independent European country, the pseudo High Representative follows the worst colonial traditions and interferes in the constitution of one of BiH entities – Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina. His Criminal Code and electoral legislation have nothing to do with promoting implementation of the peace agreement, despite what Mr.Schmidt and his Western sponsors try to assert. It has come to a point that he takes decisions on the composition of the government of the Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Speaking of constitution, we cannot but mention the activities of such mechanism as the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The body that is called to guard the interests of the country, is turning into an instrument to serve Western capitals. Quite often, it acts jointly with the Office of the High Representative (OHR). Even now, three out of ten judges are nationals of foreign states. Wellbeing of the people of BiH is now a “concern” of a German, an Albanian, and a Swiss. This is an obvious case of disrespect for national sovereignty of a country, European country for that matter, in the 21st century.

When reshaping the critically important internal political aspects of Bosnia and Herzegovina following their own understanding of the situation (which is completely unmoored from reality), external forces but multiply BiH problems and make them last. It only gives an appearance of resolving the relevant issues. Let’s put things straight, this wrongful voluntarism will have implications for generations of Bosnians to come. We warn the Security Council about it with all seriousness and frankness.

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council has turned into a special-interest club. Apparently, its interests run counter to those of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has become clear again that our decision to put on hold our participation in the Board was timely and justified. We demand that the practice of dialogue and acting by consensus be recovered. The Office of the High Representative itself should be shut down as soon as possible. It only brings evil to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its peoples. The Western experiment on the Bosnian society has exhausted itself. Mass protests against the activities of the OHR that have become more frequent in the country prove this point.

The goal of the Western strategy is absolutely clear. Let’s not be misled. Office of the High Representative is supposed to use its illicit toolkit to reform the BiH political landscape at all levels, erode the inter-ethnical balance, ensure presence of Brussels- and Washington-controlled forces, and push the country into NATO contrary to the sovereign will of its peoples. If this were to happen, the result would be truly disastrous not only for the region, but for entire Europe. Security Council cannot turn a blind eye to this lawlessness ravaging in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dayton-based polyethnical model for Bosnia and Herzegovina has been jeopardized. The neo-colonial approach to BiH that Western states have widely adopted poses a real threat to implementation of the Framework Agreement. Besides, it undermines the fundamental principles of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s statehood, infringes on the rights of the constituent peoples, and provokes a new spiral of tension.

Mme. President,

We will keep from commenting on the so-called report of the so-called High Representative. Circulating speculations of a private individual as an official UNSC document is something unacceptable. Let me stress again – Security Council never authorized Mr. Schmidt to assume duties of the High Representative.

We were rather disappointed by the 55th report of the European Operation Althea about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As we know, the mandate of Althea does not provide for assessing the domestic political situation in BiH. We noted that such an assessment is present in the report and what’s more, the political section of Althea’s report is prejudiced and does not reflect the reality. We are convinced that the deliberate overdramatizing and putting all the blame solely on the Bosnian Serbs is just another projection of the interests of some EU countries onto the situation in BiH through Althea. In this regard, we would recommend that the leadership of the EUROFOR be engaged in assessing the security situation, which has remained at an invariably good level all these years.

We suggest that UNSC members study a report by Republika Srpska which is packed with facts about the real situation in BiH and really worth looking into.

We call on the Security Council to give a realistic assessment to the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Instead of taking at face value everything that biased Western participants and the illegitimate High Representative are offering, we need to take a deeper look at the relevant problems through the lens of UNSC-endorsed Dayton Agreement. As one of Dayton’s guarantors, Russia fully supports the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, equality of the three constituent peoples and two entities with broad constitutional authorities. We are convinced that inclusive inter-ethnical dialogue that should be free from external interference and based on Dayton-approved provisions is the key to resolving domestic problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Thank you.

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