MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. Supporting the new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Christian Schmidt, who does not enjoy legitimacy, will have a negative effect on the road to a peace settlement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement Friday.
The diplomat expressed regrets that the Russian-Chinese draft resolution on Schmidt’s appointment was not adopted during the July 22 UN Security Council vote.
"By doing so, an opportunity was missed to ensure the required international legitimacy of the German candidate for this position," she pointed out. "Supporting a High Representative by the international community, who does not enjoy the required legitimacy, is filled with negative consequences for the post-conflict settlement process in Bosnia and Herzegovina and may undermine all achievement made on this track over the last quarter of a century. It directly contradicts the Dayton principles and jeopardizes their implementation."
Zakharova pointed out that, in accordance with Appendix 10 to the 1995 Dayton Agreement, the UN Security Council must approve each new High Representative for BiH.
"Therefore, in the absence of an approval for the Council’s resolution, Schmidt does not become the High Representative, in the context of the agreement. There is also no consensus between Bosnia’s own sides regarding Schmidt’s appointment to this position," she explained.
According to Zakharova, Russia, being a guarantor state for the BiH peace agreement and a member of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council, reiterates it unwavering support for this document.
"We are certain that the obsolete external trusteeship over a sovereign and independent Bosnia and Herzegovina is counterproductive; its destiny must be defined only by its peoples without any intervention or preaching from the outside," she stressed. "We are ready for constructive interaction with all interested sides in order to promote a positive agenda for Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of the Dayton [accords]."
Battle for UN’s BiH envoy
Earlier, Russia and China introduced a resolution that suggested terminating the High Representative’s mandate as of July 31, 2022. The two countries agreed to support the election of Christian Schmidt, a German diplomat, until this date, on condition that his powers would be limited and would remain within the earlier documents on the peaceful settlement, approved by the Security Council. However, the proposal did not garner enough votes in the Security Council - it was only supported by Russia and China.
On May 27, ambassadors of the Steering Board states decided to appoint Schmidt as the new High Representative. Russia voted against this decision. In this regard, the leadership of Republika Srpska requested emergency consultations with the President of Serbia, which took place with the republics’ top officials. After the consultations in Belgrade, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik demanded to shut down the UN High Representative Office in BiH, branding the appointment of the new High Representative without the UN Security Council’s resolution a violation of the Dayton Accords, international law and the BiH Constitution.