10 March 1999

Statement by the Secretary General of NATO,
Dr. Javier Solana on the Removal of Mr. Poplasen and
on the Brcko Arbitration Decision

I reiterate my full support for the decision of the High Representative to remove Mr Poplasen from the Office of President of Republika Srpska.

The responsibility for this outcome rests with nobody other than Mr Poplasen himself. His abuse of authority and attempts to obstruct implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords created political and social instability and harmed the interests of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I therefore urge responsible RS authorities to accept the dismissal of Mr Poplasen in the wider interests of the people of Republika Srpska and in accordance with the High Representative's decision.

SFOR will continue to ensure a secure environment throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and support the full implementation of the Peace Accords, the decisions of the Peace Implementation Council and of the High Representative.

I would also like to reaffirm my full support for the arbitration Award on the status of Brcko, announced by the High Representative on 5 March. The decision to create a neutral Brcko District is the best solution for the country, its two entities and its citizens.

The new arrangement guarantees freedom of movement for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Brcko area. SFOR will ensure full respect for this provision.

The Award also improves prospects for the return of displaced persons to and from Brcko and offers the best chance for revitalising the economy of the Brcko area.

SFOR will continue to ensure a secure environment in and around Brcko and is committed to the full implementation of the Brcko arbitration Award.

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