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President Pahor's address at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement

Ljubljana, 12. 12. 2020 | press release

At the special invitation of Dr Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor and 25 world leaders addressed guests at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement held at 20:00 in Sarajevo City Hall.

Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, Alexander van der Bellen, President of the Republic of Austria, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and other high representatives of the international community also addressed the international community via video messages.

In his address, President Pahor called on the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to pull together and focus on economic and social challenges. He stressed that the task of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political leaders is to build trust, invest more into reconciliation and focus on matters truly important for the citizens, and on this basis show them the way forward.

Below is the Slovenian President's address.

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

I sincerely thank High Representative Valentin Inzko for the invitation to deliver a message on the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement. Valentin, Slovenia appreciates your work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is very close to our hearts and minds and we follow the situation very closely. I have regular contact with the political leadership of the country, both bilaterally and in the framework of the Brdo–Brijuni Process, which is marking its 10th anniversary, and I hope to host a meeting in Slovenia before the end of the year.

Twenty-five years ago, the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A lot of effort has been invested since then in lasting peace and prosperous development, but not enough.

Building sustainable peace is a very challenging task that demands wisdom, courage and a sincere wish to overcome differences and divisions.

Our own, Slovenian experiences show that no transition is easy, flawless or fully just. We know how difficult it is to reconcile one’s own demons of the past.

In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the wounds of war are even more difficult to heal, and we all feel the pain of those who suffered during the war. This we should never forget.

Yet, there is no better way to pay respects to the victims of war than commit to lasting peace, stability and reconciliation.

I wish to use this opportunity to call on the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to pull together and focus on the economic and social challenges of the country.

All the challenges we face are also the challenges of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

All the buzzwords of today, such as green transition, sustainable development and digitalisation, are equally relevant to my country as they are to yours.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a wonderful country with a rich tradition and great potential.

One day, sooner rather than later, I hope it will become a member of the European Union.

It is up to its political leadership to build trust, invest more into reconciliation and focus on matters truly important for the citizens, and in doing so to show them the way forward.

Slovenia will always stand by your side."