IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY AMB. FLETCHER BURTON, THE HEAD OF THE OSCE MISSION TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Tacan İLDEM 03.05.2012
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TACAN İLDEM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY
IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY AMB. FLETCHER BURTON, THE HEAD OF THE OSCE MISSION TO BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
910th PERMANENT COUNCIL
3 May 2012

Mr. Chairman,

I join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Ambassador Burton for the first time to the Permanent Council and in thanking him for his insightful presentation.

The Mission, to whose work we attach importance, deserves appreciation for making a meaningful contribution to the reform efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina in several areas, including during the challenging period preceding the formation of the state level government.

As the only international actor with a widespread outreach throughout the country, the Mission’s efforts make a difference in both local and state levels. Its efforts towards judicial and legal reform; promoting coexistence in the education sphere; strengthening the community engagement, assisting the authorities in regional return process and establishing a sustainable security and defence environment are particularly valuable.

Needless to say, the formation of the state level government after months of political uncertainty and adoption of the state budget have indeed been welcome developments. The progress in the reform agenda such as the adoption of the Laws on State Aid and Population Census, and steps towards finding solution to the state and defence property issues are worth recognition.

It is our firm belief that, progress on reforms that will enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to move towards Euro-Atlantic structures should continue, while at the same time, a recognition of such efforts by these structures is also necessary.

Bosnia and Herzegovina must stand on its feet as a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious state where all the constituent peoples live as equal citizens in harmony and peace. Turkey will continue to actively contribute to the efforts of the international community towards achieving a lasting stability in the country and beyond. The visit of Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has started today, will serve as an opportunity for extensive talks in promotion of our already existing exemplary bilateral relations.

Ensuring a just, comprehensive and durable solution for the most vulnerable refugees and IDPs is one of the pressing and critical aims to be achieved in the region. We congratulate the four regional countries for the home-grown initiative to develop a Regional Housing Programme, recently crowned with the Sarajevo Donors Conference. Represented by the Minister of Development, Turkey joined others in pledging with an amount of 1 million Euros. This contribution will also be supported by bilateral programs aimed at assisting returnees through financing agriculture and regional development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Conference has been a milestone event in addressing the plight of refugees and IDPs. We hope that this momentum will be preserved and followed by complementary steps.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Ambassador Burton and his able team every success in their work.

Thank you.