Thank you Mr. President,
I welcome High Representative Valentin Inzko and thank him for his informative briefing as well as for his report. Portugal aligns itself with the statement to be delivered later on by the Representative of the European Union.
2012 saw very positive political developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as countries around this table recognized during the last debate in May. As the current year reaches its end, we should not forget positive internal developments, such as the formation of the Council of Ministers and, more recently, the municipal elections of last October, which were globally successful.
We should also note that the roadmap for accession, signed on 27 June 2012, is a significant and mutually agreed step towards Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European integration. Compliance of the Federal Constitution with the European Convention of Human Rights is, indeed, key to the entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and to a better working relationship with the European Union.
It is incumbent on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political leadership, at all levels, to propitiate a political environment that is stable and conducive to constructive decision making. Portugal calls upon all stakeholders to spare no efforts towards the goal of making Bosnia and Herzegovina a stable and prosperous State, one heading to EU membership in the shortest possible timeframe, overcoming the difficult circumstances in the external and internal front – that Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours still have to face.
Portugal condemns vehemently the continued use of divisive rhetoric, and regrets the doubts which are needlessly cast upon Bosnia’s future by narrowly defined interests. Interests that only slightly relate to the fundamental concerns of Bosnians and of their international partners. It is imperative that a common ground be attained in internal politics so that progress can be achieved in the crucial reforms the country needs to address, not only in the social and economic sphere but also regarding its international aspirations and obligations. In that regard, the efforts that the European Union has undertaken of the past years also deserve a particular reference.
As you are well aware, we are set to adopt tomorrow the authorization for the renewal of EUFOR ALTHEA. Recent gains in the area of national security should be noted, as well as the secure and stable environment the country has enjoyed for the past years. Portugal supports the continuation of EUFOR Althea as a relevant element in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s security, with a significant role on capacity-building and training, as well as its executive military role, in order to be able to support Bosnia and Herzegovina's security.
I would like to end in a positive note. Portugal has been deeply involved with peacekeeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995. European security depends on renewed and strengthened ties of alliance and cooperation between nations, so that we can all enjoy the peace and the stability that the Western Balkans, and the rest of Europe, have so painstakingly restored. Bosnia and Herzegovina can count on Portugal’s continued support and friendship for the future.