Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

05/15/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2024 12:15

The UK believes that it is for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to choose their own future: UK statement at the UN Security Council

Thank you, President. I thank High Representative Schmidt for his briefing and welcome the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and the European Union to the Chamber today.

President, let me make three broad points.

First, the United Kingdom believes that it is for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to choose their own future. We fully support the government's ambition to achieve greater Euro-Atlantic integration.

The decision by the EU to grant accession status is an important step in this direction, which opens new opportunities for the country.

We hope this will serve as a strong incentive for political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to work together on the necessary reforms and refrain from activity which could undermine progress.

Second, the greatest threat to this positive future, and to the Dayton Peace Agreement itself, lies in the efforts of Republika Srpska politicians to subvert the State and its institutions. These include: threats to unilaterally withdraw from the constitutional, legal and institutional framework of the State and moves to establish a parallel framework in the Republika Srpska;
efforts to introduce a "Foreign Agents Law", which seeks to restrict the engagement of many civil society organizations; and steps to undermine the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitutional Court.

Against this backdrop, the Office of the High Representative continues to play an integral role, as prescribed by Dayton itself, to uphold the Dayton Peace Agreement.

We fully support the High Representative's efforts to address these challenges and urge all political actors to work constructively with his Office.

Third, we are concerned by reports of a more fragile security and political situation. This includes the rise in genocide denial, glorification of war criminals and attacks on returnees. These actions have no place in a peaceful, multi-ethnic society, and we welcome all efforts to promote reconciliation.

We also firmly support a strong EUFOR Operation Althea, to maintain a safe and secure environment.

President, it is now almost 30 years since the Dayton Peace Agreement brought an end to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We urge all political actors to transcend party, ethnic or entity interests and work together to uphold Dayton and achieve a more peaceful, stable and prosperous future for all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thank you.