Thank you, Madam President,

I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General, Mr Jenča, and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have also listened carefully to Ms Cvijanovic's remarks. We also welcome the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia to this meeting.

Switzerland is committed to lasting peace and prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country with which we share very close ties. We stress the importance of political stability in the country.

Despite some challenges, as we have heard, we refer to the latest assessment by EUFOR Althea, which indicates that the security situation has been steadily improving over the past years. It is described as stable. This Council has entrusted this mission with the responsibility of monitoring and assessing the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it has our full confidence. We consider it imperative that EUFOR Althea is able to continue its mandate without restriction.

We take note of internal political developments, which are mainly the result of divergences among concerned parties. In particular, Switzerland expresses its concern about the actions emanating from Republika Srpska, which promote division and call into question the institutions of the state, including the constitutional and legal order. We call on all leaders to give priority to the interests of the country as a whole and of all segments of its society. To this end, credible efforts are required:

First of all, it is important to refrain from any secessionist action or threat. Challenges to the country's integrity must cease immediately. The security, stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina can only be achieved if its territorial integrity is guaranteed. The Dayton Accords must therefore be fully respected.

Secondly, safeguarding human rights must be a priority. This includes freedom of expression and media, as well as the right of assembly and association, and the prevention of restrictions on civil space. Any regression in human rights, democracy and the rule of law must be reversed.

Thirdly, it is essential to deal with the past and respect international and local judicial decisions in this regard to ensure justice, accountability and promote social cohesion. Political leaders have a central responsibility in this respect, particularly with regard to truth-seeking and reconciliation. Historical revisionism, the glorification of war criminals and the denial of genocide and war crimes have no place in a peaceful, multi-ethnic society. Switzerland rejects all such attempts. It also reiterates its full support for justice institutions and calls for the respect of their decisions.

Madam President,

Switzerland commends Bosnia and Herzegovina on the progress it has made in key reforms. The European Commission's recommendation to open accession negotiations marks an important step. We encourage all parties to focus on the opportunities arising from this decision. It is high time to prioritize the reduction of tensions, to engage in constructive dialogue, and to make a genuine effort to initiate the necessary reforms for the well-being of the people. 

The forthcoming debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina in two weeks' time will provide an opportunity to address political developments, including in view of this autumn's local elections. We look forward to High Representative Schmidt's report in the coming days for this purpose, and underline our support for his mandate.

In conclusion, as members of the Council, it is essential to ensure that our deliberations foster a calm environment and lead to constructive solutions. Switzerland remains committed to working towards this goal.

Thank you.

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