New York, 15 December 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
at the UN Security Council Debate
on the situation concerning Iraq
Thank you, Mr. President, for organizing and presiding over this very important high-level meeting dedicated to the future of Iraq and the Iraqi people. Let me express also my thanks to the Secretary-General for his valuable report (S/2010/606) and his briefing on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), as well as to the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Minister Zebari, for his statement.
Speaking on today’s topic — Iraq — as an example of positive achievement in bringing peace and stability, allow me to commend the role of the United Nations, the United States and the wider international community in bringing peace and stability to my country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995.
Today Bosnia and Herzegovina is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, and our remembering today the early demise of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke — the architect of the Dayton-Paris Peace accords — is a part of Ambassador Holbrooke’s legacy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is pleased to acknowledge the significant improvement of the overall situation in Iraq. Iraqi institutions have been strengthened despite all the difficulties and challenges on the ground. The recent transfer of ownership of the security sector to the Iraqi forces is a very important achievement for the further enhancement of Iraq’s sovereignty and stability.
However, we remain deeply concerned about the security situation in Iraq and strongly condemn the recent coordinated deadly attacks targeting different religious communities. We want to emphasize that only by providing security to every Iraqi citizen can one guarantee the security of specific communities.
Therefore, Bosnia and Herzegovina urges all actors in Iraq, national and international, to redouble their efforts in the protection of civilians and to bring the perpetrators of those horrible crimes to justice.
This year, with the assistance of the international community, Iraq organized successful elections, and we are pleased to learn that Iraqi political leaders are very close to forming their Government, which will provide new and encouraging momentum. Genuine progress in that regard will help put the country on the path towards democracy, national reconciliation and long-term stability, as well as towards the improvement of the security situation.
We would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Iraqi people for its strength, its courage and its firm determination to build a democratic and unified country despite the immense suffering and huge losses they have experienced over these past two decades.
Iraq has accomplished significant progress in resolving outstanding Chapter VII issues by fulfilling obligations mandated by the Security Council’s resolutions. To that end, Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the lifting of some of the restrictions imposed by the Security Council, which will permit Iraq to restore the international standing it held before resolution 661 (1990). We base our support on the following achievements.
First, Iraq has fulfilled all its obligations in compliance with the international non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. It has also signed the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention and joined the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and has signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Furthermore, despite the current political vacuum due to the process of Government formation, Iraq voluntary accepted to apply the additional protocol to the comprehensive safeguards agreement pending its ratification. We strongly believe that the council of representatives will set a high priority on its ratification. We welcome the adoption of resolution 1957 (2010), removing outstanding restrictions relating to disarmament imposed on Iraq in resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991).
Second, we commend the efforts and the strong commitment of the Iraqi Government in regard to closing remaining contracts in the oil-for-food programme. The Iraqi Government has achieved great progress in that regard, and we support resolution 1958 (2010), terminating the residual activities of the oilfor-food programme. This includes the transfer of all remaining funds from the Iraqi account created pursuant to resolution 1483 (2003) to the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), with the exception of the funds to be used by the United Nations for residual activities of the programme and for the provision of indemnification to the United Nations.
Third, we welcome the progress towards the establishment of successor arrangements for the transition of the DFI. We also reiterate our support for the extension of the DFI and the related legal immunities. We therefore consider that the requirement established in paragraph 21 of resolution 1483 (2003) should continue to apply. We will support decisions that will help to ensure that oil revenue will continue to be used transparently in an accountable manner, and in the interest and for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
Furthermore, those positive developments represent an encouraging environment for further cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait. Bosnia and Herzegovina expects that Iraq’s fulfillment of its outstanding obligations — mandated by the Security Council resolutions related to the issues of missing Kuwaiti citizens and third-country nationals, Kuwaiti archives and Iraq’s land and maritime boundaries —will be priorities for both countries in the coming period. In that connection, we strongly welcome regional dialogue and the development of relationships between Iraq and States in the region based on partnership and cooperation.
Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina is very sensitive to the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons and would like to reiterate the importance of resolving that issue. We call upon UNAMI to redouble its efforts, in coordination with the Iraqi Government, to help create conditions conducive to safe, dignified and, in particular, sustainable refugee returns.
The continued strengthening of democratic institutions, national reconciliation, the protection of human rights and the creation of new job opportunities will certainly help the process of returns, but they will also reinforce Iraqi institutions and the whole of Iraqi society. UNAMI has an essential role in advising, supporting and assisting the Iraqi people and the Government to achieve that goal.
In conclusion, I would like to underscore that Bosnia and Herzegovina strongly supports the work of UNAMI and highly commends the dedication of UNAMI staff to bringing stability and prosperity to the Iraqi people.