SECOND MEETING OF THE POLITICAL DIRECTORS
We, the Political Directors of the participating states of the South-East European Cooperation Process took part in the Second SEECP Political Directors Meeting under the Turkish Chairmanship-in Office in Antalya on 25 January 2010.
We believe that peace, security and stability in South Eastern Europe are of vital importance and directly linked with those of a wider European region. While the tragic events of the recent past remain in our memories, the countries of the region affirm and assume their responsibility for building a peaceful and stable future for the region.
We discussed regional issues with a particular emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We are of the opinion that in order to create an environment of lasting peace, stability and good neighborly relations in South Eastern Europe, a joint vision has to be developed, in which people of the region can live in peaceful co-existence and harmony.
We think that this broader vision could encapsulate, among others, principles such as providing security for all countries; maintaining high level political dialogue; encouraging economic cooperation with a view to creating maximum regional integration, and ensuring multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious societies. The ultimate objective of this broader vision has to be full integration with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. In this respect, initiatives aiming at the completion of the European integration of all Western Balkans, such as the Greek initiative “Agenda 2014”, are welcome.
We emphasize that Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a microcosm of the region lies at the center of this broader vision and should continue its efforts for attaining the already defined European and Euro-Atlantic objectives.
Having reviewed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Political Directors of the SEECP;
- Convey congratulations to Bosnia and Herzegovina for being elected to serve at the UN Security Council in the period 2010-2011.
- Recognize that important challenges and milestones, inter alia parliamentary elections, constitutional reform, further democratization process, human rights standards and relations with the EU and NATO, are ahead.
- Stress the utmost need for national reconciliation, through better understanding among the three constituent peoples: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.
Discussing in detail the current political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasize the requirement to meet the challenges throughout 2010, in particular the general elections period, with restraint and calm.
- Underline that a comprehensive and coordinated return of refugees and displaced persons continues to be crucial to lasting peace.
- Commend the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its reform process, in particular in the field of defense and call on the authorities to speed-up these efforts.
As for the region, the Political Directors;
- Emphasize their strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, equality of the three constituent peoples and others, within internationally recognized borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and express their full solidarity with its peoples.
- Highlight the importance of regional ownership and underline the role of the countries of the region.
- Underline the need for confidence building among stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the neighboring countries. In this respect, initiatives such as the trilateral dialogues initiated by Turkey, Serbia and Croatia with Bosnia and Herzegovina are welcome.
As far as the international community is concerned, the Political Directors;
- Support the determination of the international community to help Bosnia and Herzegovina towards integration with European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
While recognizing the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dayton Peace Agreement –DPA) and the Annexes thereto, as well as the relevant decisions of the Peace Implementation Council, reiterate their encouragement to continue searching for consensus on the constitutional amendments necessary for the sustainable functionality and strengthening of the state, which is a precondition for the advancement of the EU integration process and for the equality of the three constituent peoples and others.
- Express that the transition from the OHR to the EUSR should be carried out once the five objectives and two conditions set by the PIC-SB are completed, thus allowing for a fully functional state structure.
- Emphasize the importance of admitting Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens to the EU visa-free travel regime, hoping that its authorities will meet the necessary requirements in the first half of 2010.
- While reminding that NATO membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a question of if, but when, stress that NATO member states should help Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve the necessary progress in its reform efforts so that it can join MAP in 2010.
- Encourage the continuation of the international community’s commitment to support Bosnia and Herzegovina to build strong, functioning and sustainable institutions for effective governance, while preserving its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nature.
- Expect all states and international financial institutions to explore ways and means to alleviate the consequences of the current economic crisis on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to invest in and increase regional trade with it.
- Note the suggestion of the Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office for the international community to organize a conference in November 2010 on Bosnia and Herzegovina to mark the 15th Anniversary of DPA with a view to taking stock of the achievements therefore and discussing the way forward.
Present these conclusions to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SEECP Participating States for consideration in their deliberations.