Bosnia has to register its military facilities as state property if it wants to progress on its path towards NATO membership, the Alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said at a meeting in Brussels today. This has been a touchy issue in the country.
Bosnian Serb leaders are refusing to allow the registration of former Yugoslav Army facilities on the territory of the Bosnian Serb sub-state of Republika Srpska (RS) as state property. They argue that whatever is located in the RS, belongs to the RS.
The country’s Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats are keen to proceed toward NATO membership as they believe it would stabilize the peace in the region but Bosnian Serbs are not in a hurry to meet this condition as they are opposing Bosnia’s NATO membership anyway. They said that as long as neighboring Serbia stays out of the alliance, Bosnia will too.
The registration of the military property in Bosnia remains the only condition the country needs to fulfill in order to activate Bosnia’s Membership Action Plan, an important step in the accession process. The condition was put forward at a NATO summit in Tallin, Estonia, in 2010.
“With regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the issue is still tied to the conditions from Tallinn. We expect Bosnia to register its military property,” he said.
“This may seem like an issue of bureaucracy, but it is in fact a problem in the country, so it can have full control over its armed forces. It remains a problem NATO allies are considering,” Stoltenberg said at the meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member countries.
The meeting today is an intro into the NATO summit that will take place in July this year. NATO foreign affairs ministers had gathered to speak about relations with Russia, the situation in Afghanistan and the south Mediterranean area, as well as about further expansion of the alliance.