Borrell: Unless efforts are made to preserve peace, conflict is always possible

NEWS 21.11.2020 18:43
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Source: N1

Commemorating the loss of innocent lives during the war means understanding that unless efforts are made to keep the peace, conflict will always be possible, EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, said during his visit to Sarajevo’s War Child Museum on Saturday, the 25th anniversary of the signing of Bosnia’s peace agreement in Dayton, Ohio.

“Commemorating is accepting that the past echoes until today,” said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.                       

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“Commemorating is understanding that the seeds of conflict will always be fertile, unless continuous steps are taken to preserve peace,” he added.              

The 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina took more that 100,000 lives and turned over one million people into refugees. It is “one of the most shameful episodes in the modern history of Europe,” Borrell said, saying he was paying tribute to all victims.                  

The Spaniard drew a parallel between the Spanish Civil War and the conflict in Bosnia, saying that after the conflict, his country rebuilt a community based on reconciliation, democracy and freedom in hope to join the European Union.                 

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the same goal as “the European Union is a project of peace and reconciliation,” he said. “The path to collective healing requires an understanding that the source of your pride may be deeply hurtful to others.”            

This requires political leaders who acknowledge the suffering caused, instead of exploiting conflict and who “help ensure that the crimes of individuals are not painted as a collective responsibility. Instead of focusing on the lack of actions by others, courageous leaders take a first step, so that others will follow,” he said.            

The EU’s key values are human rights, the rule of law and mutual cooperation and the best way to disarm toxic nationalism is to boost cross-border cooperation and pluralism, Borrell said.      

“Young people in particular deserve to be given opportunities to grow and to contribute to the Bosnia and Herzegovina of tomorrow,” he said.