I would like to thank High Representative Valentin Inzko for his briefing and for his comprehensive reports to the Council, including the Special Report of 4 September.
2. Listening to his latest update on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I can’t help but feel that despite the voluminous work and publications on the horrors of war, the lessons of war and human tragedies appeared to have been ignored.
3. Twenty years ago this month, the conflicting parties in the Balkans war signed the Dayton peace agreement. The agreement was brokered and guaranteed by key members of the international community, endorsed by this Council and subsequently upheld in various Security Council resolutions.
4. The peace agreement ended a devastating war which saw an unprecedented level of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Europe since the Second World War. Since then, Bosnia and Herzegovina has gone through much progress, reflecting the achievements of peace-building by the UN, in partnerships with regional organisations. The international community had invested much to rebuild the country.
5. Unfortunately, twenty years on, the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Balkans region, seems far from irreversible.
6. Malaysia is deeply concerned about the direct challenges posed by the Republika Srpska to the Dayton peace agreement, in clear violations of its international commitment. Last April, the President of the Republika Srpska declared that his political party would call for a referendum to secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018, if the party’s demands relating to redistributing competencies between levels of governments are not met.
7. In another alarming development, last July, the Republika Srpska National Assembly decided to hold a referendum this coming weekend, with the aim of challenging the authority of the High Representative, the rule of law and the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such a decision is contrary to the country’s Constitution and the Dayton peace agreement.
8. In addition, the President of the Republika Srpska continued to make irresponsible statements denying genocide in Srebrenica during the reporting period, in spite of the decisions by the ICJ and the ICTY.
9. As we may recall from the previous reports of the High Representative, secessionist and nationalistic rhetoric by the Republika Srpska politicians is not something new and has been increasing in the past years. However, the recent decisions adopted by the Republika Srpska authorities have effectively taken the matter to a new disturbing level, and thus far, constitute the gravest violations of the Dayton peace agreement and raise serious doubts about the future of the region.
10. We strongly urge the Republika Srpska authorities to respect the country’s Constitution, various UNSC resolutions and the Dayton peace agreement, and cease from proceeding with the referendum on 15 November and renounce its divisive politics and secessionist agenda to avoid further destabilising the region.
11. Earlier today, the Council unanimously voted on Resolution 2247 to renew the mandate for the EU-led multinational stabilisation force for another year. Malaysia welcomes the renewal of authorisation for EUFOR Althea and the unity shown, once again, by the Council on the matter. However, we regret the fact that several key elements of the previous resolutions have been removed or watered down from Resolution 2247.
12. In particular, Malaysia views it more important now than ever for the Council to reaffirm its commitment to the Dayton peace agreement and its support for the Office of the High Representative, in view of the worrying developments on the ground.
13. We reiterate the need to fully implement the 5+2 (five plus two) agenda as condition for closure of the Office of the High Representative. Until then, Malaysia reaffirms its strong support for the Office of the High Representative, as laid down in the Dayton peace agreement and upheld in various Council resolutions. Verbal attacks and personal insults against the High Representative and OHR staff are unacceptable and must immediately cease.
14. Malaysia takes note of the positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the reporting period. We welcome the increase in exports, foreign trade and growth projections for 2015, as well as the country’s improvement in credit and business ratings. We also look forward to the country’s upcoming membership in the World Trade Organization, which will further boost foreign trade and investment.
15. Malaysia underlines the need for the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain steadfast in its reform agenda, particularly to address unemployment, to fight corruption, and to strengthen the rule of law.
16. We hope to see political stability return to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the collapse of the governing coalition in May. Despite the political uncertainties in the entity, we commend the Federation authorities for adopting the new Labor Law under its Reform Agenda.
17. Malaysia also takes note of the priority accorded by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina on European integration as a cornerstone in its foreign policy towards achieving peace, stability and progress. In this regard, we welcome the advancement made by the country towards this aim, especially the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in June.
18. In concluding, Malaysia reaffirms its commitment to the independence, sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in line with the Dayton peace agreement and previous UNSC resolutions.
19. We reiterate our unwavering commitment in contributing towards the country’s nation-building, reconciliation and economic progress. Malaysia has long supported Bosnia and Herzegovina in its re-construction efforts, and will continue to do so, especially in the areas of trade, investment, education, as well as technical and defence cooperation programmes.
20. We urge all peoples to create a common space to continue building Bosnia and Herzegovina for a better future. This should be done through exercising collective responsibility and intensifying efforts towards national reconciliation and socio-economic reforms to ensure peace and stability, in the long-term interest of the country and the region.
I thank you, Mr. President.