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EU force in Bosnia & Herzegovina for another year

Security Council authorizes EU force in Bosnia and Herzegovina for another year

The United Nations Security Council today extended the mission of the European Union's stabilization force (EUFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the next 12 months to ensure continued compliance with the 1995 Dayton/Paris Agreement that ended a fierce war and to continue to contribute to a secure environment in the country.

EUFOR was first authorized by the Council in November of last year as a successor mission to the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR).

For the further 12-month period, starting from today, the date of the adoption of the resolution, the Council authorized Member States to establish EUFOR as a legal successor to SFOR under unified command and control, with the main peace stabilization role under the military aspects of the Peace Agreement.

The Council also welcomed NATO's decision "to continue to maintain a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the form of a NATO Headquarters in order to continue to assist in implementing the Peace Agreement in conjunction with EUFOR." It authorized the Member States to continue to maintain the NATO Headquarters as a legal successor to SFOR under unified command and control.

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which determines how robust a mission may be, the Council authorized Member States to take all measures to defend the EUFOR and NATO presence and to assist both organizations in carrying out their missions. It recognized the right of both EUFOR and the NATO presence to defend themselves from attack or threat of attack.

The Security Council noted that the primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the Peace Agreement lay with the Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves.

The continued willingness of the international community and major donors to assume the political, military and economic burden of assisting them in implementing the Peace Agreement would be determined by the compliance and active participation of those Authorities with the Peace Agreement, in particular full participation in the work of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) putting on trial those indicted for war crimes, the Council said.

It stressed that full cooperation by States and entities with the Tribunal included the surrender for trial or apprehension of all indicted persons and provision of information to assist in Tribunal investigations.

The EU's High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, told the Council last week that while the transfer of 12 indictees this year to the Tribunal was a huge a step forward, another anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica had passed without the transfer of the most wanted on that list, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

Welcoming the EU's decision to open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Stabilization and Association Agreement and calling on the Authorities to implement their undertakings, including those on police reform, as part of that process, the Council said the Authorities should strengthen joint institutions which foster a fully functioning, self-sustaining State able to integrate itself into European structures and facilitate the return home of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

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