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Croatia Wins Vote for UN Security Council Seat. Political and diplomatic influence
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
Published on 10/18/2007

Should be good news for the further recognition of the region's new political and diplomatic influence on a range of issues where not only Croatia, but Bosnia & Herzegovina could impact a progressive influence. The UN Security Council offers such an opportunity. The influence of Croatia's Diaspora

Factor that significantly aided Croatia’s triumph was the influence of its Diaspora

Croatia Wins Vote for UN Security Council Seat

Can be Good News for Bosnia & Herzegovina and Region

Will BiH Win Its Own UN Security Council Seat?


Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey


First, let me congratulate President Stepe Mesic and all Croatians on their state's electoral victory to the United Nations Security Council. Croatia's should be good news for the further recognition of the region's new political and diplomatic influence on a range of issues where not only Croatia, but Bosnia & Herzegovina could impact a progressive influence. Whether it is welcomed as a positive result by all states of the former Yugoslavia is more a matter if those states have moved beyond the agenda of the early 1990s.


For Bosnia & Herzegovina it has several implications. Croatia was elected due to the support provided by many of Bosnia & Herzegovina's friends around the globe, particularly states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Many of Sarajevo's leadership were openly or behind the scenes supportive of Zagreb's candidacy.


Croatia's Responsibility and Shared Vision of Future

Croatia is a signatory of the Dayton Accords. From my conversation with President Mesic, he also impressed me that he was not shying from this responsibility, but to the contrary. Dayton has to be progressively implemented or all had to move beyond it. Currently, it is a regressively applied document not reflecting either the spirit or letter of the Accords or the vision that is necessary for the benefit of BiH and the region. If Dayton is not working or has been fatally flawed from the outset, then all signatories have an obligation to seek out the progressive path and firmly put behind the recent past by remedying the consequences of genocide rather than acceding to it.


Belgrade has continued an active involvement, interference in BiH's internal affairs, and overwhelmingly with nationalist agendas and regressive consequences. Some Bosnians and Herzegovinians may feel that they have a reason to fear Zagreb's enhanced involvement. However, Croatia has moved beyond the syndrome of more than a decade earlier. The overwhelming focus is economic advancement and institutional equality with most of the rest of Europe. Zagreb's reengagement would be selfish, but this time to bring constancy and stability to the neighbor with whom Croatia's future is most intertwined. Croatia's momentum could also pull BiH economically and politically forward.


Till now, President Mesic has spoken the insightful as well as correct words regarding BiH. However, there needs to be a platform to match the language. The UN Security Council offers such an opportunity.


The ICTY's Future and Commitment

Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina have met all their commitments to the ICTY. Belgrade and Banja Luka have not, and are acting as if they can wait out the Tribunal and never have to deliver on their often repeated promises.


There is also a question of the Hague Tribunal's future. Judging by the past, (just read Florence Hartmann's insider's book, "Peace and Punishment"), then there is also need to provide protection so that the Tribunal does not continue to be abused by those who established themselves as its supposed guardians. In 1992, as BiH's Ambassador, I saw that the promise of establishing the Tribunal was not entirely sincere and held out in lieu of immediate action to save the victims of genocide, many of whom who would continue to perish over the following three years. When it became impossible to resist the establishment of a mechanism for application of international justice and the ICTY, the big powers, simply converted to a strategy of trying to control it to make legality a servant of political expediency and to have justice fit their mold of history.


Compliance with ICJ Judgment

An early litmus test for Zagreb's tenure and independence in the Security Council will be the continued failure of Belgrade to meet its obligations under the ICJ judgment of February 2007. Time has already expired for compliance, but with no consequence. Banja Luka, but also the apologists for Belgrade from the big powers have tried to squelch Sarajevo's calls for even these minimalist demands of the judgment.


Bosnia & Herzegovina: Candidate for UN Security Council

Bosnia & Herzegovina is still a candidate for the same Security Council seat in a couple of years. We actually submitted our candidacy during my tenure as BiH's Ambassador to the UN. Then, around 2000, I was looking ahead 10 years, but I was hopeful that BiH would have matured beyond Dayton and into a state that could set a positive and independent tone. Well, I'm not certain that BiH has at least met my expectations, and I believe that Sarajevo's diplomacy has been stymied by the overall lack of direction within the state's institutions and the exploitive influence of outside factors.


One of the factors that favored Croatia's election is that it was perceived more independent that its opponent, the Czech Republic, from the big states of NATO and EU.


Bosnia & Herzegovina is now, more than even anytime during my tenure, perceived as being dependent. Nonetheless, BiH does still have a positive legacy at the UN as an effective activist on its own behalf and state that has become empowered to help others by its own experience.


Another factor that significantly aided Croatia's triumph was the influence of its Diaspora within many of the other voting UN member states. This could be a factor also for BiH. Poland, though, will be a more formidable opponent than the Czech Republic was. Still, BiH's continued subservience to big power politics in Sarajevo will make it suspicious in New York as a candidate. Some of these big powers might even try to dissuade Bosnia & Herzegovina from this candidacy. Conversely, it is such a responsibility, as well as race at the UN, that might help Bosnians and Herzegovinians define their future and conscientiousness in a global community.    

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