Top global official: Bosnian Serbs are trying to be ‘isolated’

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UN – Bosnia’s top international official warned on Wednesday that Bosnian Serbs were “isolated” and seeking to undermine the country’s sovereignty, and called on the international community to protect the rights of all its people and uphold Bosnia’s 1992 peace agreement. 95 War.

High Representative Christian Schmidt told the UN Security Council that 26 years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, Bosnia was “at a crossroads” and that what would happen and how the international community would respond would “resonate across the Western Balkans.”

He said the country had been “wounded” by the war, which killed more than 100,000 people and that “everyone who survived it was still injured in some way.”

The US-brokered Dayton Accords established two separate entities in Bosnia – one ruled by Bosnian Serbs called Republica Shropska and the other ruled by Bosnians, mostly Muslims and Croats. The two entities are bound together by a joint central institution, and all important decisions must be supported by both.

Since last year, Schmidt has said, “citizens of the country and even the international media have speculated about the possibility of another war.”

He said he saw a “desire for peace” among Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and others, but that young generations born during or after the war were “unfortunately, leaving the country in record numbers, in the face of constant unrest.”

In his report to the Security Council, released on Tuesday, Schmidt warned that Bosnia’s “potential for a security crisis is very real.”

He said he was grateful to EU forces, the EUFOR-ALTHEA, for implementing the military aspects of the Dayton Accords, “as a confidence-building measure and a necessary tool for maintaining peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Despite protests from Russia and China, Schmidt was giving his first briefing to the Security Council stating that he was not a legitimate High Representative because his appointment was not supported by 15 members.

Russia’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, raised a point of order when Schmidt was invited to speak by current Council President, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who said her presence “undermines the authority of the Security Council and the UN.” At the same time, he said, the council allows individuals to summarize members “in their personal capacity” and Russia will consider Schmidt’s presence on Wednesday.

Dai Bing, China’s deputy UN ambassador, called the Security Council’s role in appointing high-level representatives “essential” under the 1995 Dayton Accords. Since Schmidt was not endorsed by the council, he said it was “inappropriate” for him to shorten the membership as high-level representative.

Last July, the Council rejected a proposal by Russia and China, which immediately stripped the powers of the High Representative, who oversees the implementation of the peace agreement, and withdrew its position within a year.

Schmidt was formally appointed the next High Representative on May 27, 2021 by the 10-member steering board of the 55-member Peace Implementation Council, the international body that manages the Bosnian peace process. Russia has suspended their participation in the board.

Thomas-Greenfield and many other council members, who insisted that Schmidt was legally appointed, welcomed his participation.

Schmidt warned the council that the leaders of the Bosnian Serb-dominated entity had systematically challenged the provisions of the 1995 agreement and intensified their efforts to seize the powers vested in the federal government.

In December, Schmidt said the Republican Shropska legislature had instructed his government to withdraw from agreements, including on defense, indirect taxes and the judiciary.

“If followed, it would mean the withdrawal of the minimum republica Shropska from the combined forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina – the result of one of the most significant reforms of the Dayton era and one of the most positive developments in recent years – and the possible formation of its own military,” he said. .

Schmidt said so far this effort could be stopped by the international community.

But he said that the Republican Serpska authorities were pursuing “a real separation” by trying to opt out of the Bosnian constitutional framework and take responsibility for this unilateral withdrawal of the Bosnian Serb entity.

“They have no right to secede,” Schmidt said, and called on council members to oblige the international community under the peace treaty to “protect the rights of the people and others in the three constitutions so that not all citizens can express their identities. Dominate others.”

Thomas-Greenfield stressed that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is paramount and unquestionable” and called for Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodic and Republican Shropska to “take undemocratic,” “provocative” and “unduly” steps to make state institutions work. Did. Not in the spirit of the Dayton Accords.

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