Security Council Renews Multinational Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2443 (2018)

Urging the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to speedily form a new Government following recent elections, the Security Council today renewed its authorization of the European-led multinational stabilization force (EUFOR Althea) for one further year, amid a briefing and debate on the situation in the country.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2443 (2018), the Council urged the parties to work constructively for the implementation of the results of the general election at all levels, prioritizing comprehensive reforms for the benefit of all citizens in line with the European perspective the country is committed to, and called on them to refrain from polarizing policy, action and rhetoric.

Prior to the adoption of the text, the Council heard a briefing by Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, who presented his latest report (document S/2018/974), which says that while the elections were held without major security incidents there was a new level of divisive and provocative rhetoric from some senior political figures and that irregularities, including financial threats and incentives to voters were reported.

Noting such problems in his briefing, Mr. Inzko nevertheless stressed that the joint Presidency was elected in a legal manner and must start to tackle challenges. After the elections, the BiH [Bosnia and Herzegovina] political leaders will have an opportunity for a fresh start. They should use it to improve the lives of their citizens, he said.

He called for urgent reform to strengthen the rule of law, support the independent functioning of governmental structures and kick-start economic development. Emerging problems like a dramatic rise in migration and backtracking in accountability for past crimes must also be faced. Those who declare European Union membership as their goal must compromise for accelerated progress in all those areas, and the international community should support them in the effort, he added.

Following that presentation and the adoption of the resolution, most Council members welcomed the renewal of EUFOR Althea as well as the mainly peaceful outcome of the 7 October elections. Most also expressed regret that needed changes had not been made in the election laws, also expressing concern that divisive rhetoric continued, and that reform was slow towards the 5+2 agenda requirements for completion of the High Representatives’ mandate and in making reforms needed for European Union membership. Some speakers expressed particular concern over the backtracking on responsibility for war crimes, stressing the priority of justice and reconciliation in the country.

Most Council members also expressed continued support for the role and reporting of the High Representative. The Russian Federation’s representative, however, maintained that the High Representative’s reports keep getting worse, with assessments tailored to support of what he called the ongoing protectorate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and advancing a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union agenda. The international community should instead help the country find unique, compromise solutions to its complicated challenges.

Serbia’s representative, noting the challenges faced by Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that such challenges must be met through dialogue among stakeholders in that country, while he affirmed Belgrade’s readiness to improve existing levels of cooperation with the central authorities there and intensify its relations with Republic Srpska in a transparent way in accordance with the Dayton Agreement. Occasionally disruptive messages will not deter his country’s interest in working towards stability, development and good relations in the region.

The representative of Croatia, while also stressing his country’s investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress and integration into the region, argued that the equality of three constituent peoples was not respected in the recent election because Croats were deprived of the opportunity to elect their member of the Presidency, contrary to the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution. He pledged Croatia’s continued readiness to assist its neighbour to improve institutional performance, make necessary reforms and meet all requirements on its path to integration in the European Union.

The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina said he was unable to make a substantive statement pending the swearing in of the newly elected members of the Presidency on 20 November. Noting that the Presidency is, under the Constitution, responsible for foreign policy, he said its outgoing members could not reach consensus on the statement to be delivered to the Council today.

Speaking in today’s debate were also the representatives of the United Kingdom, CAte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Peru, United States, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, France, Sweden, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Bolivia and China, as well as the European Union delegation.

The representative of the Russian Federation made an additional statement following the adoption of the resolution today, expressing disappointment that the penholder of the text had followed the alarming trend of inserting national foreign policy into drafts. No Council document should predetermine the domestic and foreign policy of a Member State, he stressed.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at noon.

Briefing

VALENTIN INZKO, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that, while international observers characterized the 7 October elections in the country as genuinely competitive, the preceding months saw a worrying escalation in divisive public rhetoric, including hate speech and voter intimidation. Regrettably, the largest parties gave little attention to important issues such as rule of law, corruption and economic development. With the post-election period fraught with complaints of voter irregularities, public trust in the integrity of the electoral system seems to be at an all-time low and restoring it must be an urgent priority of the new authorities.

He said that the announcement of certified election results is expected today, after which the period of forming Parliaments and Governments will begin. Overall, the main ethnically-defined parties seem to have won the most support in the Parliaments, although in the Federation, certain multi-ethnic parties appear to have improved their results remarkably. As no party has a clear majority, it is too soon to speculate on coalitions that will be formed. Recalling his previous warnings about the consequences of the failure to adopt changes regulating indirect elections to the House of Peoples, one of the chambers of the Federation Parliament, he said that the head of the main Croat party has announced that his party would not allow Government formation until the necessary changes are made.

He urged, however that authorities be formed as quickly and smoothly as possible. He said that the future three members of the Presidency � Sefik Dzaferovic, Komsic and Milorad Dodik � were elected in a way that, despite controversy, was conducted in line with the law and the past statements of Mr. Dodik, the Serb member of the Presidency, against the State as it exists. Following a long period of slow reform, Bosnia and Herzegovina simply cannot afford another period of political bickering and obstruction, he said. In that light, he urged the new Presidency to follow their oath of office which has them swearing to respect the Constitution, fully implement the General Framework Agreement for Peace, promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and protect the interest and equality of all peoples and citizens.

Integration with the European Union has, in any case, remained one area where leaders find common ground, he said, noting that leaders of the country are now answering follow-up queries to the European Commission Questionnaire. On the other hand, he still saw serious deficiencies in the rule of law, along with a failure to implement judicial decisions, which is particularly worrying when it relates to cases where courts have found the political system to be discriminatory. There is also deep-rooted public disappointment in the criminal justice systems’ seeming lack of ability to tackle corruption and organized crime.

In addition, he noted an emerging issue of the past six months � the dramatic rise of migrants arriving in the country. He called for all stakeholders to carefully watch the consequences on the humanitarian needs, on security and on political stability. According to the General Framework, the State level has competence to deal with migration and asylum, with lower level authorities obligated to assist it. All sides need to improve cooperation in that context, he stressed.

Regrettably, he said, there has been a tendency on all sides for some politicians to deny or relativize war crimes or even glorify war criminals. He flagged in that context the repeal by the government of the Republika Srpska of the 2004 report that acknowledged the involvement of its forces in the Srebrenica massacre. He called it a step backward in reconciliation.

Going forward, he called for urgent reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen the rule of law, support the independent functioning of governmental structures and kick start economic development. Those who declare European Union membership as their goal must compromise for accelerated progress in all those areas, and the international community should support them in the effort. After the elections, the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have an opportunity for a fresh start. They should use it to improve the lives of their citizens, he said.

Action

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), speaking before the vote, expressed disappointment at the way in which the draft resolution had been handled by the penholder. There is an alarming trend among some Western partners to insert their foreign policy approaches into Security Council texts, impacting on the 15-nation organ’s negotiating culture. Such a situation must urgently be rectified. No Council document should predetermine the domestic and foreign policy of a Member State, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is no exception, he said.

By a unanimous vote, the Council adopted resolution 2443 (2018).

Statements

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), recalling a time when the Council dealt with Bosnia and Herzegovina every day, emphasized that the country’s hard-won peace and stability is fragile and should not be taken for granted. It is a European crisis in which the European Union has invested a huge amount of time, effort, money, coaching and patience. Responding to the Russian Federation’s representative, she said she would rather see his country do all it can to help Bosnia and Herzegovina modernize and to make progress towards integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions. Divisive and nationalist rhetoric in the run-up to the 7 October elections was dangerous and backwards-looking, she added. Other countries in the region are making progress, but Bosnia and Herzegovina risks being left behind. Those in positions of responsibility should act in the interest of all citizens, not spread divisive rhetoric. Political leaders must cooperate to form a Government quickly and make progress on reforms and Euro-Atlantic integration, thus improving the lives of all citizens while ensuring regional security and stability. Emphasizing that Srebrenica remains the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War, she said it is vital that reconciliation efforts are carried out in earnest and accelerated.

GBOLIA� DESIRA� WULFRAN IPO (CAte d’Ivoire) welcomed progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina to build the rule of law and combat impunity but expressed concern about the administrative and institutional flaws seen during the 7 October elections. Persistent ethnic tensions are troubling, he said, welcoming the mandate renewal of the European Union Force Althea (EUFOR Althea), whose mission remains crucial for peace and stability.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said the decision by the National Assembly of Republika Srpska to renounce the Srebrenica verdict thwarts attempts to leave the past behind and to look to the future. He welcomed the fact that the 7 October elections took place with no serious security incident but regretted that the parties failed to apply recommendations made by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to improve the integrity of the voting process. Emphasizing that Bosnia and Herzegovina still has a long road to travel, he said it must keep working towards a vision of a common and shared future that would cement its role in the Balkans, Europe and the world stage. He urged all parties to embed the rule of law and make sustained efforts to stamp out ethnic division, crime, corruption, violent extremism and terrorism.

FRANCISCO TENYA (Peru), affirming the importance of the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed concern over slow progress in fulfilling the 5+2 agenda in the country. Welcoming the peaceful elections, he also deplored the lack of necessary changes in the election laws and the continued divisiveness in the country. There was a pressing need to improve rule of law and to bring about reconciliation between groups. Leaders must work together on a shared future focused on the socioeconomic development of the country. He called for harmonizing laws, ending corruption, ensuring accountability and the safe and dignified return of refugees to their homes. Cooperation with the High Representative and EUFOR by all parties is critical.

JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) reiterated strong support for the High Representative’s role and agenda and welcomed the renewal of EUFOR’s mandate in favour of continued security and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He called on the Council to remain vigilant for any threats to that country’s peace and political processes and affirmed that his nation is ready to respond to such threats. Leaders must work to end divisive rhetoric and follow through on their obligations to make needed progress in the rule of law, fighting corruption and creating economic opportunity. They must also consolidate a governance and justice structure that responds to the needs of all citizens without regard to their ethnic identities.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said that, following the 7 October elections, it is vital that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political leaders make every effort to move further in one direction, with help from the international community. Welcoming ongoing efforts by OSCE to promote stability and reconciliation, he said the prolongation of the EUROFOR Althea mandate is a necessary step on the way to regional peace and sustainability. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina should work closely with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to improve the economy and implement reforms. Efforts to harmonize the legal system with European Union standards must be sped up. On migration and refugees, he said that events in October along the border with Croatia demonstrated the need for a high-quality response from the authorities and international organizations. He concluded by emphasizing the high importance of respecting the Dayton Agreement for civil peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for regional stability and security.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said erosion of the rule of law is a risk in any democracy and warned of divisive and revisionist rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Upholding civilian aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is crucial and the Office of the High Representative must remain active. Stability is a precondition for strengthening the rule of law, he said, adding that EUFOR Althea is key to supporting authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain the safety of its citizens. Lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires genuine commitment to building a common future, he noted. Netherlands continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic integration as a means for ensuring the future prosperity of security of the region, he concluded.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland), associating herself with the European Union, welcomed the extension of the EUFOR mandate and called for progress in fulfilling the requirements of the 5+2 agenda as well as the membership action plan in preparation for integration with the bloc. She welcomed continued calm in Bosnia and Herzegovina but warned that it should not be confused with stability, which will not be consolidated until divisiveness, weak governance and corruption are effectively addressed by the political elites. Also welcoming the results of the election, she regretted the lack of necessary changes in the electoral laws. She pledged her country’s active support for progress towards European integration.

SAMER MELKI (France), associating himself with the European Union, congratulated the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina on their successful elections. He called for all irregularities in the electoral process, however, to be addressed to prevent future problems. He called, in addition, for the new leaders to eschew rhetoric and work for reconciliation. For that to come about, perpetrators of past crimes must be held accountable and rule of law must be regularized in all areas. All political actors must, in that context, respect judicial rulings, and authorities must address corruption and organized crime. European support for integration must continue as well. It is incumbent on the country’s political actors to implement necessary reforms through consensus-based decision-making processes. Following the continent’s past violent century, reconciliation must be a high priority in Europe, he stressed.

CARL ORRENIUS SKAU (Sweden) said the 23-year-old Dayton Agreement was the starting point for reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recent elections are a sign of progress but threats and attacks against journalists during the electoral process are alarming. Socioeconomic reforms and improvements in the rule of law must be at the centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political priorities, he said, warning of increasingly divisive rhetoric. He said further integration of the Western Balkans is a European Union priority, adding that Bosnia and Herzegovina must work towards sustainable economic development. Regional cooperation and reconciliation in the Western Balkans is crucial for stability and progress, he said. Stable peace requires full participation of women, he noted, calling for future reports of the High Representative to reflect the situation of women in the country.

MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia) welcomed continued engagement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union, as European integration can have a long-term positive impact on stability and prosperity. She voiced concern over divisive rhetoric and actions that challenge the constitutional order and integrity of the country’s judiciary. Respect for the rule of law and State authority are fundamental for the State-building process and all parties must refrain from any provocative statements that undermine the country’s sovereignty. She noted ongoing disagreements over changes to the electoral law and called for the issue to be handled very wisely so as not to undermine efforts to ensure stability. She urged all parties to extend to the High Representative the cooperation he needs to fulfil his mandate.

Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said he regrets that the reports of the High Representative, time after time, keep getting worse in terms of quality, with assessments tailored to the interests of those who support the ongoing protectorate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That approach is, at its root, misguided, misleading and disrespectful of that country’s people and unrealistic. Like any State, Bosnia and Herzegovina has problems, but they are by no means insurmountable. The Office of the High Representative is a relic of the past, but worse, its presence obstructs domestic dialogue and stokes a welfare sentiment among parts of the establishment while advancing a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union agenda and settling accounts with those who acknowledge the pointlessness of the protectorate. Emphasizing that the time for a foreign protectorate in Bosnia and Herzegovina has passed, he said the role of the international community going forward should be to help the country find unique compromise solutions to complicated issues. Noting the Russian Federation’s participation in the Peace Implementation Council and its Steering Board, he said his country did not sign on to any process aimed at driving Bosnia and Herzegovina into Euro-Atlantic structures. It does not agree with drafting Bosnia and Herzegovina into NATO, he said, emphasizing also the need to stamp out Islamic underground activities in the country.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), voicing concern at ongoing divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, urged all political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to put interests of the country’s people first. They must work in a constructive manner to implement the results of 7 October election, including the formation of a new Government. Reaffirming full support to the Office of the High Representative, he underscored the importance of respecting the unity, independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All stakeholders must respect its Constitution and the rulings of its judicial bodies, he added.

VERA�NICA CORDOVA SORIA (Bolivia), emphasizing that the Constitution and judicial rulings in Bosnia and Herzegovina must be fully respected, called on political leaders and parties to refrain from rhetoric that sows division. While welcoming the 7 October elections, Bolivia is concerned that the parties failed to agree on electoral reforms. She called on all parties to work in an inclusive manner in line with the Dayton Agreement. The adoption of modifications to the penal procedure code demonstrated that the Government can undertake reforms to promote stability. She called on political leaders to refrain from pulling in different directions and to embrace dialogue. Bolivia urged the entire population of Bosnia and Herzegovina to coexist peacefully and give priority to common development, with the international community listening to all sides with impartiality.

MA ZHAOXU (China), Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, described Bosnia and Herzegovina as a major country in the Balkans. The international community should do more to support its economic development and to create favourable conditions for national reconciliation and durable peace. At the same time, it should pay special attention to the views and concerns of the various parties and to take a prudent and balanced approach. China hopes that the High Representative will continue to play a constructive role in implementing the Dayton Agreement in accordance with his mandate. It also hopes that EUFOR Althea will continue to play a positive role. Along with the rest of the international community, China stands ready to help Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve long-term peace and prosperity, he said.

IVICA DRONJIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that, with his country in a transitional period between the 7 October elections, confirmation of the results by the Central Election Commission and the scheduled inauguration of a new Presidency on 20 November, the outgoing members of the Presidency were unable to reach consensus on the substance of a statement for today’s Security Council meeting. Given that situation, he said he could only express in his personal capacity thanks to the High Representative for his report and to the Council for extending the mandate of EUFOR Althea. He also thanked the European Union for allocating Euros 7.2 million in grants to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in migration and border management, as well as the Netherlands and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for $245,000 for the disposal of surplus ammunition. He concluded by saying that he hopes the newly elected Presidency members will find a way to overcome situations like the one today that put him in a somewhat awkward position.

JOA�O PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA of the European Union said the bloc expects all of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders to engage constructively on Government formation at all levels in the interests of all citizens. It also expects its authorities to give priority to taking forward reforms needed to advance on the European Union path. Welcoming the ongoing presence of Operation Althea, he confirmed the Union’s readiness to continue, under a renewed United Nations mandate, its mission to ensure a safe and secure environment. He said the bloc looks forward to a new strategic review in 2019 as a basis for discussion on EUFOR Althea tasks and options going forward while also bearing in mind the need to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress in the European Union integration process. He went on to underscore continued coordination of EUFOR Althea with other international actors on the ground, while urging the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina � with the support of the international community � to step up efforts to address the disposal of excess ammunition, weapons and explosive devices, as well as demining and other outstanding issues.

MILAN MILANOVIC (Serbia) said Bosnia and Herzegovina is his country’s neighbour and one of its closest partners. Serbia is a guarantor of the Dayton Agreement and the development and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the accord’s framework has always been important to Belgrade as Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to 1.5 million Serbs. Two decades after the Agreement’s signing, dialogue and consensus still play an important role in addressing all the issues facing the country’s three constituent peoples and two entities. Dialogue and consensus are needed during this time of reforms and the move towards European Union integration. Regarding possible amendments to the election law, Serbia believes this is an internal question best resolved with mutual respect and constructive agreement among political actors in the existing legal system. Serbia expects that with the 7 October election concluded, Government institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be established soon to assume their responsibilities in the interests of all the country’s citizens.

Serbia is ready to improve existing levels of cooperation with the central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, intensify its relations with Republika Srpska and carry them out in a transparent way in accordance with the Dayton Agreement, he said. Serbia remains interested in expanding economic cooperation with the country, including through investment, joint ventures, energy and infrastructure projects. Trade exchange between the two countries is robust and increasing, expected to reach Euros 2 billion by the end of 2018. Serbia is encouraged that the European Union’s policy of enlargement to the Western Balkans is a stable process and new regional memberships are envisioned even before 2025. Serbia is a strong supporter of regional cooperation and believes political and economic stability is in the common interest of all parties in Southeast Europe. Serbia will not be deterred by occasional disruptive messages and will keep working towards stability, development and good relations in the region, particularly with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

VLADIMIR DROBNJAK (Croatia) said as the only European Member State bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of its main trade and investment partners and a signatory of the Dayton Agreement, it has a special responsibility and interest in the overall well-being and stability of its neighbour. Croatia would like to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a member of the European Union and NATO and a country where genuine institutional and political equality among three constituent peoples Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs � and all citizens is not only guaranteed on paper, but carried out in practice as well. Though the 7 October elections were held in an overall orderly manner, the fundamental principle of full equality of the three constituent peoples was not respected, he said. Contrary to the Constitution and democratic standards, Croats were deprived the opportunity to elect their member of the Presidency. This runs contrary to the Dayton Agreement and this misuse of the election process has the potential to burden relations among peoples and lead to a loss of trust of ordinary citizens in democratic institutions.

The pending reform of the election law and all institutional reforms should respect the country’s constitutional framework as a federal State in which the three constituent peoples, along with others, should be equal at all political and administrative levels, he continued. The latest election results need to be implemented in line with the Constitutional Court decision on legitimate and proportional representation. Other election issues, including provisions for holding local elections in Mostar and the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency, should be immediately addressed. Croatia has always been ready to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina improve its institutional and administrative capacity and meet all requirements on its path to integration in the European Union. Croatia encourages its friend and neighbour to proceed immediately with reforms in many fields, including the judiciary and fighting corruption, as well as working on comprehensive economic reforms, efficient border management and combatting political radicalism and elements of religious extremism.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2443 (2018) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions concerning the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia and relevant statements of its President, including resolutions 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1423 (2002) of 12 July 2002, 1491 (2003) of 11 July 2003, 1551 (2004) of 9 July 2004, 1575 (2004) of 22 November 2004, 1639 (2005) of 21 November 2005, 1722 (2006) of 21 November 2006, 1764 (2007) of 29 June 2007, 1785 (2007) of 21 November 2007, 1845 (2008) of 20 November 2008, 1869 (2009) of 25 March 2009, 1895 (2009) of 18 November 2009, 1948 (2010) of 18 November 2010, 2019 (2011) of 16 November 2011, 2074 (2012) of 14 November 2012, 2123 (2013) of 12 November 2013, 2183 (2014) of 11 November 2014, 2247 (2015) of 10 November 2015, 2315 (2016) of 8 November 2016, and 2384 (2017) of 7 November 2017,

Reaffirming its commitment to the political settlement of the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia, preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States there within their internationally recognized borders,

Underlining its commitment to support the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement, S/1995/999, Annex), as well as the relevant decisions of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC),

Noting the reports of the High Representative, including his latest report of 17 October 2018,

Encouraging the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of the international community, to accelerate their efforts to address the disposal of excess ammunition,

Emphasizing its appreciation to the Commander and personnel of the multinational stabilization force (EUFOR ALTHEA) and the personnel of other international organizations and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina for their contributions to the implementation of the Peace Agreement,

Recalling all the agreements concerning the status of forces referred to in Appendix B to Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement, and reminding the parties of their obligation to continue to comply therewith,

Further recalling the provisions of its resolution 1551 (2004) concerning the provisional application of the status of forces agreements contained in Appendix B to Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement,

Welcoming the continued presence of EUFOR ALTHEA and the EU’s readiness to continue at this stage an executive military role to support Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to maintain the safe and secure environment, its decision to refocus the operation on its core mandate and to keep the operation under regular review, including on the basis of the situation on the ground,

Reiterating its calls on the competent authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take necessary steps to complete the 5+2 agenda, which remains necessary for closure of the Office of the High Representative, as confirmed by the PIC Steering Board communiques,

Reaffirming provisions concerning the High Representative as set out in its previous resolutions, and further reaffirming Article V of Annex 10 of the Peace Agreement regarding the High Representative’s final authority in theatre in the interpretation of the civilian implementation of the Agreement,

Recognizing the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s transition to a functional, reform oriented, modern and democratic European country,

Taking note of the Peace Agreement and of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leadership’s commitment towards a European perspective, including through the submission of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application in February 2016 and through the ongoing work to answer the EU Commission’s Opinion questionnaire through the coordination mechanism on EU matters, and encouraging response to the follow up questions, and recalling that this commitment needs to be translated urgently into comprehensive reform results on the ground,

Noting with concern continued polarizing unconstructive policies, actions and rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and reiterating its calls to political leaders to advance reconciliation and mutual understanding,

Noting positively that the initial implementation of the Reform Agenda, has provided the first steps of structural adjustment to the economy of the country, while however, noting that the pace of implementation of the Reform Agenda has slowed and underscoring the urgency to step up the implementation of comprehensive reforms, in an inclusive manner, to the benefit of all citizens,

Emphasizing the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to step up efforts regarding the functioning and independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime and the fight against terrorism and prevention of radicalization,

Urging all concerned parties to work constructively for the implementation of the results of the election and emphasizing the importance of a swift government formation at all levels, in the interest of all citizens,

Underscoring the urgency to address outstanding OSCE-ODIHR recommendations to improve the electoral framework and related rulings of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Court of Human Rights and emphasizing electoral reforms should be approached in a spirit of consensus and dialogue and should move the country towards modern democratic standards, and notes with regret the failure to make necessary amendments to the election law prior to the elections of 7 October 2018,

Encouraging the parties to implement Bosnia and Herzegovina’s National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security in an inclusive manner and looking forward to its continuation,

Taking note of the planned strategic review in early 2019,

Recognizing that the security environment has remained calm and stable, and noting that the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities have so far proven capable to deal with threats to the safe and secure environment,

Determining that the situation in the region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Reiterates that the primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the Peace Agreement lies with all the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves and notes the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to support them in implementing the Peace Agreement, and calls upon all the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fully cooperate with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals;

2. Welcomes the EU’s readiness to maintain an EU military operation (EUFOR ALTHEA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina from November 2018;

3. Authorizes the Member States acting through or in cooperation with the EU to establish for a further period of twelve months, starting from the date of the adoption of this resolution, a multinational stabilization force (EUFOR ALTHEA) as a legal successor to SFOR under unified command and control, which will fulfil its missions in relation to the implementation of Annex 1-A and Annex 2 of the Peace Agreement in cooperation with the NATO Headquarters presence in accordance with the arrangements agreed between NATO and the EU as communicated to the Security Council in their letters of 19 November 2004, which recognize that EUFOR ALTHEA will have the main peace stabilization role under the military aspects of the Peace Agreement;

4. Decides to renew the authorization provided by paragraph 11 of its resolution 2183 (2014) for a further period of twelve months starting from the date of adoption of this resolution;

5. Authorizes the Member States acting under paragraph 3 and 4 above to take all necessary measures to effect the implementation of and to ensure compliance with annexes 1-A and 2 of the Peace Agreement, stresses that the parties shall continue to be held equally responsible for the compliance with that annex and shall be equally subject to such enforcement action by EUFOR ALTHEA and the NATO presence as may be necessary to ensure implementation of those annexes and the protection of EUFOR ALTHEA and the NATO presence;

6. Authorizes Member States to take all necessary measures, at the request of either EUFOR ALTHEA or the NATO Headquarters, in defence of the EUFOR ALTHEA or NATO presence respectively, and to assist both organizations in carrying out their missions, and recognizes the right of both EUFOR ALTHEA and the NATO presence to take all necessary measures to defend themselves from attack or threat of attack;

7. Authorizes the Member States acting under paragraph 3 and 4 above, in accordance with annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement, to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the rules and procedures governing command and control of airspace over Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to all civilian and military air traffic;

8. Urges the parties to engage constructively on swift government formation at all levels and to prioritise the implementation of comprehensive reforms, in an inclusive manner, to the benefit of all citizens and in line with the European perspective the country is committed to, and, in this regard, further calls on them to refrain from any polarizing unconstructive policy, action and rhetoric;

9. Urges the parties, in accordance with the Peace Agreement, to abide to their commitment to cooperate fully with all institutions involved in the implementation of this peace settlement, as described in the Peace Agreement, including Annex 4;

10. Reaffirms that under the Peace Agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities, which exist legally by virtue of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Constitution, and further reaffirms that any change to the Constitution must be made in accordance with the amendment procedure prescribed therein;

11. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Source: United Nations

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