Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 10, 2023
Thank you, Madam President. High Representative Schmidt, we greatly appreciate your participation and briefing today. I also want to thank the chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chairperson Cvijanović, for your participation.
The United States has long advocated for the democratic and prosperous future that citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have chosen and deserve. We will continue to support the country as it builds toward a more flourishing and secure future in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations.
We congratulate the Federation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina on the formation of its first new government in eight years. This was an enormous accomplishment and the Office of the High Representative and its authorities played a critical role. Now is the time for all levels of the government to seize on the positive momentum of having all of its institutions formed. Now is the time to make real and tangible progress on reforms for a more democratic and prosperous future.
We urge officials to avoid actions that threaten the Dayton Peace Agreement or undermine the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Local leaders must rise above ethno-nationalist agendas and focus instead on restoring accountable, transparent, and efficient governance.
For too long, ethno-nationalist parties have undermined democratic institutions and engaged in corrupt behavior for narrow personal and political gain.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik’s secessionist rhetoric and attacks on basic rights and freedoms lead down a dangerous, isolated, authoritarian path. He has called for the creation of a special unit to “monitor” the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, which could lead to a soft partition of the country. And he has taken steps that have undermined state-level institutions, silenced the media and civil society, targeted LGBTQI individuals, and raised tensions and security concerns.
We are very appreciative of High Representative Christian Schmidt’s work, which has been vital to keeping the international community informed of ongoing efforts to ensure enduring stability and prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. The Office of the High Representative plays a key role in ensuring implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement and has been instrumental in ensuring that key institutions, including the judiciary, have continued to function.
The United States remains committed to combating endemic corruption and the undermining of state-level authorities. We remain steadfast in our support of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character, and urge the international community to continue engaging with Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders at all levels of government.
To close, the United States fully supports the High Representative and his ability to exercise all necessary authorities, including the Bonn Powers, until the 5+2 Agenda is complete. The High Representative and his Office needs this Council’s support, as well as from the international community in his work.
We also urge the Council to continue to support EUFOR ALTHEA, which has been vital in maintaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.