I’d like to thank High Representative Schmidt for his briefing. I also welcome the participation of Her Excellency Željka Cvijanović, chairwoman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the participation of Croatia, Serbia, and the European Union.
Nearly three decades on from the 1995 Dayton Agreement, significant progress has been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Last year’s elections saw all political parties fully engaged. Though the elections presented some challenges, we commend all parties for resolving electoral differences peacefully. This is yet another important milestone in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s development as a nation.
The UAE believes that maintaining and promoting political stability is essential if Bosnia and Herzegovina is to build upon and engender a lasting peace. The recent formation of the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is an important step forward for the people of the Federation and for all citizens of the country.
For today’s discussion, I’d like to emphasise three points.
First, encouraging tolerance and peaceful coexistence is necessary for achieving sustainable peace, especially in diverse societies like Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The UAE is convinced that a cornerstone of a peaceful future for all is deep respect for human fraternity, tolerance, and co-existence.
Promoting a culture of mutual respect and understanding for people of all backgrounds can serve as a foundation for a safe, secure, and prosperous society.
Local and grassroots efforts to promote intercommunal dialogue play a crucial role in supporting longer-term peacebuilding, and we are encouraged by such efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are often spearheaded by the younger generation.
Second, we continue to stress the importance of the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of political life and decision making in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Women play an essential role in supporting reconciliation efforts in post-conflict societies. Their full inclusion is essential for the country to achieve sustainable peace. As such, we encourage efforts to strengthen the participation of women at all levels of decision-making.
Third, as the country builds towards a more prosperous future, due consideration should be given to economic development.
The UAE is a firm believer that economic development is key to sustaining lasting peace, and it can play an important part in facilitating post-conflict reconciliation.
To be truly effective, economic development must be inclusive, ensuring that women and youth – and people from all communities – are able to benefit from it. Equitable economic development strengthens social cohesion and integration, and builds resilience against hate speech and attempts at provoking ethnic tensions.
I’d like to take this opportunity to strongly reaffirm the UAE’s support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in line with international law and the Dayton Agreement.
We strongly support the work done by both national and international institutions supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Office of the High Representative, EUFOR-Althea, and the institutions established out of the Dayton Agreement.
We urge all actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to engage in good-faith efforts to resolve ongoing political disputes, and avoid ethnically and religiously-charged language, and any language that can inflame tensions. At this critical time in the region and the world, it is more important than ever to focus on promoting a stable political climate and bringing about the promise of peace and prosperity.
Thank you, Madame President.