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17 May 2005
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-(To be checked against delivered speech)

Adress of H. E. Borislav PAVARAC, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mr Chairman,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the President and the Government of Poland for their hospitality and excellent organisation of this third Summit, for their initiative in bringing us together, in the historic city of Warsaw and affording us this opportunity to plan for the future of the Council of Europe.

We gathered here in times when the picture of Europe is changing, enlargement of the European Union is redrawing it, and our task is to reassert the Council of Europe's role as guardian of the fundamental values common to the whole continent. I see it as a victory over the division of Europe, the opportunity to create a continent of shared, common conceptions of rights and values. Council of Europe is indeed the place we all consider our home, our family, responsible to watch over the preservation of our values, a true guardian of modem European civilisation.

* * *

The Warsaw Summit, is bringing together 46 countries of Europe, a family that was growing bigger on the fast track during two last decades. United under one roof, we are responsible to build the inside of the house with enough place for everyone.

Fundamental values are built in the foundation of our house and we share common sincere commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, social cohesion, education and culture, as well as protecting and promoting long-term success, stability and overall prosperity of all Europeans.

As you know my country has become the member of this family only three years ago. Council of Europe remains the most important co-operation organisation on the European scene-for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On our path to achieving European standards and implement norms and conventions, CoE assisted to Bosnia and Herzegovina to promote a model of democratic culture, actively involving civil society and citizens and to combat all forms of exclusion and discrimination.

The importance we attach to our accession to the Council of Europe is proved by fulfilling of our post-accession commitments, showing that we are on a good track in respect to reaching the European standards of democratic societies and our further integration in Europe. There has been a strong political will and full determination of all political subjects in Bosnia and Herzegovina to embrace the highest democratic values, and on that path we were supported by this organisation and its considerable constructive contribution to the process.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, as other countries that still remain outside the Union, needs the CoE to upgrade its democracy and develop a self-sustainable society, rule of law and respect for human rights, in years to come, at the level needed for the membership in the Union. This means promoting the observance of human rights, producing legal instruments and encouraging intergovernmental cooperation, in order to help establishing and maintaining the stability of our Continent, the hope of enduring peace and the well-being of our citizens.

We expect the third Summit to provide the answer in which direction this organisation should go in the future having in mind the challenges we are facing.

I believe, Mr President, that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the example of the society based on the shared values. Its cultural diversity, melting pot of different religions, cultures, traditions, languages, dialects, folklores, architecture, historic heritage, natural resources, persevered throughout centuries, have been endangered during the years of dissolution of Yugoslavia. It is rightly said, building inclusive, stable, and peaceful societies based on shared values means that these values need to be reborn in the minds and hearts of every generation. That is what we are doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina right now, and with a welcomed assistance of our organisation.

Experience of the Western Balkans countries shows how too often were we told that our youngsters and young professionals have so many abilities and so few, or no at all opportunities. This is our historic chance to correct this injustice. To achieve real unity of our continent we should provide environment of equal opportunities for everyone. Every one of our 800 million fellow Europeans should have the same opportunities. Council of Europe is the place to be educated, and phenomena like extreme nationalism and xenophobia come from ignorance. We should let young people travel and learn from meeting each other and enriching their knowledge and experience.

The main challenges have important educational and cultural dimensions. The understanding of democratic values and the value of cultural diversity are fundamental elements in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and co-operation in Europe To strengthen the European identity we have to enhance our cooperation in the sphere of culture, education and intercultural dialogue, and that is the only way to successfully combat intolerance, xenophobia and signs of racism. We must teach our children that our diversity, our common and our individual cultural heritage are a gift to us all. That is the least we have to do.

* * *

What we are witnessing here today is the beginning of the century of a new, united Europe, undivided and united in its commitment to democracy and respect for human rights, Europe united in pledging a better future for its citizens, and making respect for human rights an integrated part of the daily lives of people living in Europe.

We believe that this Summit should reiterate the role of the CoE as a true Pan-European body which can create a framework for initiatives of our common interest and make the concrete steps in the fight against international terrorism, corruption and organised crime, and in combating trafficking in human beings. We all want to better the world today to provide our children with a healthy basis to develop stability and prosperity and promote European values beyond the borders of this continent. That is what we owe to our children, but to the founders of this organisation as well.

The fight against the corruption and organised crime is the field in which we still need the assistance from the international bodies, and especially through more efficient regional cooperation. In this regard we warmly welcome P ACO and CARDS programmes aimed at strengthening of our own capabilities to fight corruption and organised crime.

Bosnia and Herzegovina therefore endorses the three conventions concerning the prevention of terrorism, actions against the trafficking in human beings as well as money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Mr President, Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the proposed Action Plan for this Summit and will actively cooperate in its implementation, as well as we endorse all parts of the draft Declaration. We do so in the firm belief that the Council of Europe is and will continue to be indispensable to the peoples of Europe as the guardian of stability, democratic security and respect of human rights.

* * *

We are aware that the region of major attention for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is the Western Balkans. We appreciate their last decision in regard with the Monitoring reports on the compliance of post-accession obligations and cooperation programmes, which from now on are going to be issued twice a year. This represents a clear positive message from Strasbourg to Brussels, and we all know that the road to Brussels goes exclusively through Strasbourg.

We understand that full and unconditional cooperation with the ICTY remains an important task and obligation for the states in the region, and we continue with our efforts in proving our cooperation is full and sincere. This is a visible sign of our progress towards European Union structures and the all-European family of nations.

In the end, Mr President, let me conclude with expressing my firm belief that Europe should establish its unity exactly in our diversity, and that Europe should gather its wealth to produce well-being for all.

We must go beyond all narrow bounds and look forward to the exciting decades of our common prosperity in this century of the united Europe.

Thank you.