Statement by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Open VTC Meeting on Bosnia & Herzegovina, 6 May 2020

Mr President,

We would like to thank the High-Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr Valentin Inzko, for the latest report of his Office on the political, security and humanitarian situation in the country. The work of your Office remains invaluable for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.

At the outset, South Africa lauds the efforts by all sides to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes that this will be seen as an opportunity to realise unity in purpose even beyond its containment. In respect of measures taken to address the pandemic, South Africa concurs with the assessment of the Office of the High Representative that all efforts must be well devised, properly targeted and closely coordinated in order to improve their success.

Mr President,

The lack of progress on the dialogue process remains an issue of concern. We therefore call on all parties to remain seized with the objectives of the country’s dialogue and to refrain from actions that could undermine its prospects, thus stalling reconciliation and durable peace. The existing agreements and mechanisms remain relevant to taking the dialogue process forward and we urge all stakeholders to work within their parameters and in good faith in support of this. More importantly, we wish to emphasise that national ownership of the peace process resides with all Bosnia and Herzegovina stakeholders.

Mr President,

The ongoing disagreements between the political parties continue to negatively impact the fulfilment of the 5+2 agenda established by the Peace Implementation Steering Board. In addition, provocative, divisive and nationalistic rhetoric could undermine stability in the country and threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State.

On a positive note, we welcome the appointment of the Chair of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers. We believe that this will assist in paving the way for dialogue and cooperation. Nonetheless, other outstanding appointments including those of the Constitutional Court judges and other entities continue to hamper the effective functioning of the State. Accordingly, we encourage all parties to expedite the conclusion of these important processes.

In closing, Mr President, let me reiterate my delegation’s call for constructive dialogue between all entities, as well as between the various Bosnian structures and the High Representative. It is only through dialogue and compromise that a political settlement can be reached that will bring peace and stability not only to Bosnia and Herzegovina but also to the wider region.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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