Serbia is Committed to Balkan Peace

Serbia is Committed to Balkan Peace

Belgrade continues to work toward resolving historical disputes and misunderstandings to prevent conflicts that could destabilize the region.

The recent National Interest article, “Serbian Officials Threaten Violence If UN Adopts Srebrenica Resolution,” misunderstands and misrepresents the situation in the region. As a guarantor of the Dayton Agreement, Serbia remains committed to preserving peace and promoting reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider Balkan region.

And Serbia has proven this through deeds—by reliably and religiously supporting and upholding the Dayton agreement over the past three decades. Precisely because of this, we feel the responsibility to sound the alarm when we see it being undermined through unilateral actions outside of the scope of the Dayton agreement and aimed at stoking ethnic tensions—such is the case with the unilaterally submitted resolution proposal. All victims of the civil war in Bosnia should have equal and fair treatment. And there should be no hierarchy of victims.

The article mischaracterizes the intent and content of a letter sent by Željka Cvijanović, a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, and subsequently forwarded to the United Nations by the Serbian Permanent Mission to the UN. The letter addresses specific procedural and constitutional concerns about how the Srebrenica resolution was being advanced. The letter does not make any threats. Rather, it points out that the actions of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Permanent Representative to the UN concerning the draft resolution on Srebrenica were unilateral and independent from the Bosnian Presidency in contravention of constitutional norms, which stipulate the requisite authorization from the three-member Presidency. By taking such unilateral action, the Permanent Representative has aggravated ethnic tensions in a region where ethnic harmony is delicately maintained.

Furthermore, the intent to push the resolution related to Bosnia and Herzegovina forward in the UN General Assembly rather than in the Security Council represents a clear violation of the UN Charter, which states that all matters of peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina are exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Security Council.

In light of the 1995 Dayton Agreement (which recognized the equal status and rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three constitutional peoples, Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats), the proposed UN resolution risks being perceived as selective and disrespectful to over 100,000 victims of all three constitutional peoples since it focuses solely on the Bosniak victims in Srebrenica.

Serbia is committed to promoting lasting peace in the Balkans and continues to work toward resolving historical disputes and misunderstandings to prevent conflicts that could destabilize the region. The Serbian Permanent Mission to the UN’s forwarding of the letter was intended to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of these breaches of both the UN Charter and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Constitution and was aimed at maintaining peace and stability, not as an incitement as suggested by the article.

Marko Djuric is the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the United States of America.