WORLD CANNOT AFFORD SECURITY COUNCIL’S DEEP DIVIDE
NEW YORK, 1 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council on 30 June concerning the non-extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH):
Today, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina comes to an abrupt end, for reasons that are unrelated to the vitally important work that it is performing to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement.
The United Nations Mission has made a universally recognized contribution to the re-establishment of the rule of law and political stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina by transforming a 40,000 strong war-time militia into a 17,000 strong professional police force. But the State and its institutions are still fragile and under pressure from nationalist forces. Unless an agreement can be reached on an orderly wind-down of the mission, the police in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be left unmonitored, unguided and unassisted. Key programmes, including the control of the borders by a professional State Border Service, a key instrument for fighting contraband activities and illegal immigration, will be left uncompleted. Further, the long-planned hand-over to the European Union Police Mission, scheduled to take place at year’s end -- when UNMIBH was expected to have successfully completed its mandate -- will be severely compromised.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the men and women in UNMIBH for their exemplary work, and to the nations, which have generously contributed their civilian police officers for this critical and complex mandate.
The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are beginning to reap the fruits of the international community’s assistance, after the country was ripped apart by war from 1992 to 1995. It would be most unfortunate if the premature termination of UNMIBH’s mandate were to set back this process. It would be perceived throughout the Balkans as a diminishing of the international community’s commitment to stability in the region. More generally, I remain convinced that United Nations Peacekeeping is an indispensable tool for the international community’s promotion of global peace and stability.
I appeal to the members of the Security Council to intensify the high-level negotiations in capitals of the past weeks, so as to find a solution acceptable to all concerned that respects the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and treaty obligations of Member States. The world cannot afford a situation in which the Security Council is deeply divided on such an important issue, which may have implications for all UN peace operations.
* *** *