I would like to thank High Representative Valentin Inzko for his comprehensive briefing and for his latest report to the Council.
2. Malaysia takes note of the positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the reporting period, as outlined by the High Representative.
3. We welcome the country’s submission of a formal application for membership in the European Union last February. This latest milestone reflects the continuing aspiration of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its leaders for European integration.
4. We believe that the accompanying political and socio-economic reforms required for EU integration would pave the way for stability and prosperity for Bosnia and Herzegovina. We thus urge the leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to implement the country’s reform agenda.
5. Malaysia also welcomes the positive developments in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours. These include the ratification of the State Border Treaty with Montenegro, the visit by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, and the first ever joint-Cabinet meeting with Serbia in Sarajevo.
6. Despite the positive developments during the reporting period, the commitment by all parties to the Dayton peace agreement, and to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately remains in doubt.
7. Malaysia is alarmed by the continuing challenges, through words and actions, posed by the leaders of the Republika Srpska to the Dayton peace agreement, the Office of the High Representative, as well as state-level judicial institutions and authorities. Such challenges are clearly against the peace agreement, the rule of law and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8. Malaysia takes note of the High Representative’s briefing on the cancellation of the planned referendum by the Republika Srpska, which would have challenged the authority of the High Representative, as well as the country’s rule of law and judiciary. While we welcome this latest development, we regretted the fact that the referendum, together with other similar threats, was called for in the first place.
9. We strongly urge the Republika Srpska authorities to respect the country’s Constitution, the various UNSC resolutions and the Dayton peace agreement. Two decades after a devastating war, there is simply no place in the country and the region for divisive, provocative and secessionist rhetoric, which would only serve to perpetuate narrow political agendas at the expense of peace and stability in the region.
10. We also condemn intimidations, harassments and even death threats levelled at the High Representative and the country’s international judges. Such acts are unacceptable and must immediately cease.
11. The diverging reactions among the ethnic communities to the recent decisions of the ICTY relating to Radovan Karadzic and Vojislav Seselj, proved that reconciliation is still a distant vision. We call on all parties to respect the rule of law and to use this opportunity to move forward towards national reconciliation.
12. In concluding, Malaysia reiterates the need to intensify efforts to fully implement the 5+2 (five plus two) agenda, as prerequisites for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.
13. 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. We also recognise the important role played by the EU-led multinational stabilisation force in ensuring security and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I thank you, Mr. President.