Statement by the High Representative and European Union Special Representative, Christian Schwarz-Schilling

In recent weeks, I have been consulting with
capitals on the future of OHR and the Bonn Powers. Above all, I have discussed
this issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

After in-depth consideration, I have increasingly come
to the conclusion that the situation in the region and in

Bosnia and Herzegovina

means that the Bonn Powers and OHR
should continue in some form. This is the view I have presented to capitals and
will continue to present.

At the same time, it is crucial that Bosnia and
continues on its path towards
the European Union and that the European Union intensifies its engagement in
this country. I expect that the profile of the European Union will be raised
through a new office of the EU Special Representative in
Bosnia and

I shall continue to consult with capitals and with Bosnian leaders in
preparation of the decision to be taken by the Peace Implementation Council
Steering Board at the end of February.

At the same time, I would like to stress the importance of making progress on
constitutional reform for the future of this country.

There must be a broad-based process in place to enable

Bosnia and Herzegovina

to continue to reform its
constitution step by step. The international community should provide technical
and financial assistance, to enable the process to include all sectors of
Bosnian society, relevant experts, and give the Parliament the capacity to play
a central role.

The international community, both Europe and the

United States

must work closely together to propose comprehensive support so that the Bosnian
leaders and citizens can take this forward.

It is clear from the meetings that I have held so far, that my arguments are
striking a chord in the capitals and gaining support. We are all determined to
ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina
remains stable, and able to continue on its path towards

Transition is still possible in 2007. That means there can be a fresh start
in the middle of this year. Following my talk with Chancellor Merkel on 11
January, I wrote to inform her that I would not seek an extension of my mandate
beyond 30 June this year.

The PIC is the relevant decision-making body, and all decisions relating to
the mandate and individuals concerned will be taken by the PIC Steering Board
Meeting at the end of February.

I will ensure that the transition proceeds smoothly.

I am confident that my arguments will prevail. What matters is the future of
Bosnia and

, not that of myself as an