Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, congratulated the Presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia for being the first signatories of a declaration on the issue of conflict-related missing persons.
Signing the “Declaration on the role of the State in addressing the issue of persons missing as a consequence of armed conflict and human rights abuses” prepared by the International Commission on Missing Persons, represented a courageous and important step in advancing reconciliation processes in the Western Balkans and paved the way for further improved relations among states and among citizens in the region, including, most importantly, the young generations, Burkhalter continued. By acknowledging the particular responsibility of states to address the issue of missing persons, governments could also contribute to reinforcing the development of democratic societies and accountability in governance, he underlined.
The OSCE Swiss Chairmanship supported this regional initiative and would encourage other states to follow suit, Burkhalter said. He added that his Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann, would continue to support the parties in translating their commitments into concrete actions and stressed that the OSCE and especially its field operations remained at the disposal of host governments to contribute to reconciliation efforts in the region and beyond.