Written Answers. - Bosnian Elections.

Ray Burke


110 Mr. R. Burke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his and the EU's assessment of the Bosnian elections; and the plans, if any, the EU has for future peace and economic progress in the area. [16702/96]

The recent elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina were a crucial step in the peace process. The Irish Presidency, on behalf of the EU, welcomed the holding of these elections and the fact that they had taken place in a dignified and largely trouble-free manner, and paid tribute to the crucial contribution which was made to the effectiveness of the electoral process by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe — OSCE — the High Representative, Carl Bildt, the international Implementation Force — IFOR — and the UN International Police Task Force — IPTF. These elections pave the way for the full implementation of all provisions of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina which ensures the continued existence of that State within its internationally recognised borders, and in particular for the establishment of the common institutions of the State.

The EU has considered it important to await the decision of the Chairman of the Provisional Election Commission, Ambassador Frowick, on the validity of the elections and on certification of the results. The High Representative envisages convening the first official meeting of the collective Bosnian Presidency within 4 days of the certification of the election results, and the establishment of all the common institutions by the end of October. Ireland and the European Union fully support the efforts of the High Representative to ensure a smooth and swift transition over the coming weeks and we have urged all parties to co-operate fully in these efforts. The international community will maintain pressure on all sides to co-operate in this process, particularly through the International Contact Group for former Yugoslavia and the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, in which Ireland, as Presidency of the European Union, participates. The need for international assistance for the process of establishing a self-sustaining stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue for a number of years. The European Union is of the view that there is now a need for the international community to develop a strategy for a two-year peace consolidation period, covering such areas as the promotion of human rights, the return of refugees and displaced persons, economic reconstruction and reform, and arms control. The EU is committed to continuing to make a major contribution to this international effort with the ultimate aim of developing conditions for lasting stability and economic prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina.