25 September 2010The restoration of a pluralist society is the greatest challenge facing Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country’s leader told the General Assembly today, voicing hope that a new, younger generation can help to bridge the cultural divide still remaining after the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. The restoration of a pluralist society is the greatest challenge facing Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country’s leader told the General Assembly today, voicing hope that a new, younger generation can help to bridge the cultural divide still remaining after the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.Haris Silajdzic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that while his country largely completed the physical reconstruction of infrastructure relatively quickly, “the rebuilding of our devastated society proved to be much more difficult.”About 1.3 million people who fled their homes during the war still remain outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.“Systematic obstructions were the cause of failure of return programmes, and they are still an obstacle to those who want to return. Those who made it back to their homes are often confronted with a wall of blockades or with outright violations of basic rights.“That makes the restoration of our pluralist society the single most difficult task ahead of us. But hope remains that the upcoming constitutional changes will lay a foundation for the new generation to bridge the divides.“No matter what we will continue to revive the pluralist character and tolerant spirit of our society because we strongly believe that cultural pluralism is mankind’s most precious treasure.”Mr. Silajdzic said a key way to promote pluralism was to build a stronger economy with greater opportunities for development, saying his country was making efforts to better harness its supplies of water and other energy-generating resources.“We have made studies and have invited international investors to participate in developing these resources. Once completed, these projects will be the driving engine of our economy, enabling us to make progress in other areas, such as health care and social services.”

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