“You have come far. And the journey continues”
UN Secretary General encourages BiH on its way to a prosper future
For the past week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has travelled extensively through the region and visited Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina was his final stop. This was Ban's first official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the visit the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon met the Members of the BiH Presidency, Leaders of Political Parties and International Community, addressed the Parliament, and visited the Memorial Center Potocari.
Secretary General congratulated Bosnia and Herzegovina for its progress from the war-torn country to a society with a steady progress in the year when BiH marks 20 years of membership in United Nations.
“I see it all around me as I make my first visit to Sarajevo – a scene of such devastation that is today a city restored, renewed and full of life. Democratic transitions are difficult and uneven in any country. The challenges loom larger in the aftermath of war. But Bosnia and Herzegovina is entering a new and important chapter.”
The Secretary General stressed out that by keeping a firm focus on reconciliation, while strengthening the rule of law, human rights and democratic institutions the Bosnia and Herzegovina would become a functioning, effective state that would ensure greater prosperity, stability and progress to all its citizens.
In addition to his remarks on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Secretary General made a strong statement on the importance of the country’s road to European Union while addressing to the Parliament.
“There is consensus among all political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina that European integration is the best route for ensuring the country’s future stability and prosperity. Your common priorities are clear: EU integration, decent work, and more broadly economic opportunity. ” said the Secretary General.
Before carrying the torch in London, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went for a symbolic run in the Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, the city that hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and ran alongside Sarajevo's marathon runner Islam Djugum.
As a part of his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon together with his wife Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, and the Chairman of BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic and Mrs. Izetbegović, paid visit to the Memorial Centre Potočari and met genocide victims’ families. Mr. and Mrs. Ban wanted to pay their deepest respects to the victims and their families.
Responding to a numerous questions, the UN Secretary General has stated that The United Nations did not live up to its responsibility and that the international community failed to do what has to be done.
“Today, I am here, in Srebrenica, a name that resonates as one of the darkest chapters in modern history. In a tragedy of such epic proportions, there was so much blood and so much blame. Too many men and boys died in Srebrencia – needlessly, savagely. But we have learned from the horror, and we are learning still. But Srebrenica also gave birth to a new international resolve for justice, accountability, for a responsibility to protect civilians. Together with our Member States, we are doing more to prevent atrocities. We are bringing perpetrators to justice, and we are working to match words with deeds.”
The Secretary General has come to the region to highlight progress, look to the future and support regional countries in the process to the EU integration.
By sharing the words of encouragement the Secretary General concluded his visit to the region by the following: “In a fast moving region, no one can afford to be left behind. That will take collective leadership. That will take unity. That will take a commitment to work and move forward, together. The countries of the region share linguistic, cultural and historical space. We must work together to make sure there is also space for jobs and investment, for truth and justice. You can count on the United Nations to be your partner every step of the way.”