OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Banja Luka

OHR Remains Completely

As you may know the Centre
for European Integration Strategies has issued a report in which it analyses the
issues related to the closure of OHR by the middle of next year.

OHR welcomes CEIS’s
contribution to the debate. The paper calls on the OHR to prioritise three
critical issues: supporting constitutional change, securing BiH’s borders and
completing the transition to EUSR.

On constitutional change, the
High Representative has already stated that he will be playing a key role in the
issue after the elections, and has already held preliminary discussions with
political parties. Moreover, there is a local and international consensus that
the existing package will form the basis of discussion. Meanwhile, OHR remains
politically engaged on the broad reform agenda – on policing, on public
broadcasting, on fiscal sustainability, on higher education.

On the inviolability of
borders, there is no need for the CEIS proposal. The declaration on the
inviolability of BiH’s borders already exists, namely the Dayton Agreement, all
parties are bound by it.

On the transition to EUSR, the decision to begin
preparations for the closure of the OHR reflects the assessment of the wider IC
that BiH has made enough progress in peace implementation for transition to
occur. Extraordinary powers such as the Bonn Powers cannot be maintained
indefinitely. Maintaining OHR and the Bonn Powers implies slowing down BiH on
its road to
. Key reforms cannot be imposed or forced through
by use of Bonn Powers.

It is also important to note
that the decision to close the OHR will be reviewed and confirmed by the PIC
early next year, taking into account the overall situation in BiH and the


SDHR Bas-Backer
Dialogue with NGOs

My second point this morning concerns the Senior Deputy
High Representative, Peter Bas-Backer, who is visiting Prijedor today to chair a
roundtable on civil society development. Today’s meeting is part of a sustained
effort to build a dialogue with activists throughout
Bosnia and Herzegovina

who are taking the initiative
to move forward with projects that will improve citizens’ lives.

Ambassador Bas-Backer will
make a statement to the media, after the meeting.

Tomorrow Ambassador
Bas-Backer will visit Drvar, where he will meet with representatives of the NGO
Refugee Return Service. Discussion will focus on the status of return in



. After the meeting,
Ambassador Bas-Backer will make a short media statement.

Ambassador Bas-Backer will
also visit the returnee settlement of Kecmanova Glavica where he will meet with
returnees. He will then travel to Grahovo, where he will meet representatives of
the Women Association of Grahovo and visit the Health Centre.

I’ve brought along a media
advisory with full details of these events and opportunities for press