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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina

2024-05-15 19:39


I welcome the presence of His Excellency Denis Bećirović, Chairman of the Presidency of BiH, as well as the representatives of Serbia, Croatia, and the EU at today’s meeting.

At present, Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing difficult challenges including sluggish economic growth, high inflation, and accelerated population outflow. The situation with regard to the country's economy and people's well-being is not encouraging. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multi-ethnic country. In order to achieve economic growth and social stability, it needs to rely on all ethnic groups to strengthen unity, enhance mutual trust, and live in harmony with each other to work towards a common goal. For some time now, the process of national reconciliation in BiH has been challenged from time to time with rhetoric and actions that fuel ethnic tensions and undermine national unity. This is a matter of concern to China. 

As a country that has been traumatized by protracted fighting, Bosnia and Herzegovina, since its independence, has been on an arduous quest for peace and development. The international community should stay attentive to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and continue to help the country cope with various challenges. In this aspect, the EU and the countries in the Western Balkans in particular should play an active role. In this process, it is important to maintain an impartial stance, adopt a balanced and prudent approach, and promote national reconciliation among all communities in BiH. Efforts to be made to refrain from taking sides, imposing solutions, or even applying unilateral sanctions and interfering in the internal affairs of BiH.

China’s position on the issue of the High Representative remains unchanged. We are concerned about the controversies that have arisen in recent years over the appointment of the High Representative and the use of the Bonn powers. In March this year, Mr. Schmidt used Bonn powers to amend election law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, giving rise to new tensions and divisions within the country. Recently, the tripartite consultative system provided for in the Dayton Peace Agreement has been violated. The arrangement whereby the Presidency collectively decides on foreign policy has been challenged. And yet, Mr. Schmidt notes in his report that the conduct of foreign policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina was to some degree better harmonized as of late. This is clearly not true. I would like to reiterate here that the affairs of BiH should ultimately be decided and managed by the people of the country themselves, and that the High Representative system and the Bonn powers are special arrangements for a special era. As such, they cannot be made long-standing, let alone permanent. 


Next week, the General Assembly will take actions on the draft resolution entitled “International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica”. China has already repeatedly called on the sponsors of the draft resolution to engage with the key parties and member states to conduct full consultations and move the process forward on the basis of consensus. For the time being, there are still major differences with regard to the draft resolution. Forcing it through is inconsistent with the spirit of promoting reconciliation and harmony within BiH and among the countries of the region, inconsistent with the desire to maintain peace and stability in the Western Balkans and European region as a whole, and inconsistent with the original purpose of demonstrating member states’ unity through such an international day. It is our hope that the parties concerned will strengthen their communication and promote a proper solution of this matter.

Before I conclude, I would like to reiterate that China respects the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the independent choice of the people of BiH. With regard to the future of the country, we hope that all communities in BiH will, in the interest of the country and people as a whole, strengthen dialogue, enhance mutual trust, and achieve reconciliation, so as to jointly maintain political stability and economic growth of the country. China will continue its commitment to developing friendly relations with the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in BiH and the region.

I thank you, President.

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