2002 Statement


Mr. Koji Haneda

Representative of Japan

At the 57th Session of the General Assembly on Item 34,

"The Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina"

11 November 2002

Madame President,

Japan highly commends the achievements of Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the peace process over the past year, such as its admission into the Council of Europe, the amendment of the constitutions of the two entities to ensure equality among the three main ethnic groups, and the holding of self-organized elections. We also appreciate the efforts of the High Representative, Mr. Paddy Ashdown, and the members of the Peace Implementation Council, as well as all those who participated in UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and other relevant organizations. At the same time, we recognize that much remains to be done until the day when Bosnia and Herzegovina will stand on its own, without the involvement of the international community.

Madame President,

The general elections last month were the first to be conducted by the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the conflict in 1995, and were thus an important milestone in the peace implementation process. Recognizing the importance of the elections, the Government of Japan dispatched observers to participate in the OSCE monitoring team. We also provided support to a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), whose purpose was to raise the consciousness of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina with regard to the importance of the elections.

Japan is encouraged by the fact that the general elections were carried out smoothly and largely in accordance with international standards. The tenure of the elected officials is four years. This period will be crucially important for the peace implementation process. Japan looks forward to the early formation of a new, effectively functioning government which will assume responsibility for the future of the country and make every effort to pursue the peace implementation process in cooperation with the international community.

Madame President,

It is particularly important that the elected leaders commit themselves, as a matter of priority, to work together to advance reforms necessary for the establishment of the rule of law and the creation of employment opportunities, as advocated by the High Representative. They will also be expected to address the six elements of the reform agenda which Mr. Ashdown set out last month. Corruption and organized crime are also issues that demand their urgent attention.

It is essential that the new government cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We call upon the newly elected officials and all other parties concerned to fully support the activities of the tribunal and surrender all those who have been indicted. We urge Bosnia and Herzegovina to restructure its justice system as a whole, and to develop the national capacity to prosecute less serious war crimes.

Madame President,

Let me briefly refer to the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Japan notes with satisfaction that UNMIBH has made commendable progress in police reform, border control and the return of members of minority groups, and that it is in the final stages of implementing its core mandate. This, indeed, is a good example of successful exit strategy of a UN peacekeeping operation. Japan is also pleased to note that the preparations for the transition of responsibility from UNMIBH to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) are well on track.

Madame President,

Japan has been an active member of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council. We have pledged and are steadily implementing a donation of approximately $500 million to assist the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina in various areas including transportation, food, medical, education, mine-clearance and refugee return. Japan, in cooperation with the international community, will continue its steadfast support of the peace implementation process in the belief that the stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina are crucial to the peace and development of Southeastern Europe as a whole.

In closing, I am pleased to voice Japan's support for the draft resolution before us (A/57/L.15/Rev.1).

Thank you very much, Madame President.