Remarks at a UN Security Council Debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 5, 2019


Thank you, Madame President, and thank you, High Representative Inzko for joining us today. Selma, thank you so much, I really appreciate your cautious optimism that you shared with us.

The United States is fully committed to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina as they strive toward a more just, free, and democratic society. A generation has passed since the historic signing of the Dayton Peace Agreements, but we must continue to think about today’s young people, to give them a glimmer of hope, no matter what side they are born on. The present generation faces challenges that have plagued Bosnian society and the Balkans for decades. Nationalistic rhetoric sows troubling divisions. Leaders exploit a fragile political landscape for personal and financial gain. And young people leave the country on a daily basis seeking the economic opportunity they wish they could find at home.

If it wants to move forward, Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot tolerate the destructive narratives that have foreclosed stability and opportunity for so many years. Its leaders must embrace political reconciliation to move beyond the legacy of war, and they must accept necessary reforms to set the country on the path toward Euro-Atlantic integration. The Bosnian people deserve democratically elected leaders who will govern with integrity, practice accountability, and deliver on their promises. They deserve leaders who will put the needs of their people first.

The United States actively strengthens these endeavors in several ways. We support the Dayton Framework to ensure peace and stability in the region. We support programming and NGOs that promote media freedom, equal access to education, and a judicial system free from corruption. And we support efforts aimed at reducing air pollution and fostering sustainable economic development.

But beyond support for institutions and economic opportunity, we seek accountability for those who threaten peace and stability in the region. I agree with France that convicted war criminals honored in any way is very disturbing. We anticipate a strong partnership with the country’s government and leaders, but we also expect them to do their part to implement reforms now. High Representative Inzko, we strongly affirm the role of your Office, especially as the country implements electoral reforms and prepares for 2020’s municipal elections. We also commend the continuing and essential contributions of EU Force Operation Althea. This operation plays a crucial (role) in preserving a stable environment, and we support the renewal of its mandate for another year.

My fellow Council members, we will know we have achieved something of lasting significance when all generations and ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are able to enjoy the blessings of a democratic, stable, and prosperous nation. The United States looks forward to that day’s arrival for its people, and we will not cease in our efforts to hasten its coming.

Thank you.