None of the nine members of the Government Commission for NATO integration who come from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) part attended a Thursday meeting at which an essential step toward activating the membership plan for Bosnia’s NATO accession was discussed.
NATO foreign ministers approved the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a step forward in the country's aspiration to become a member of the alliance, beginning December.
But NATO membership is a topic where Bosniak, Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb representatives stand divided, with the former two groups wanting the country to join, while the Serbs firmly oppose it.
“We do not support the activation of the MAP, and in accordance with that, we ask of those people who sit or will be sitting in the Council of Ministers in the coming period to refrain from conducting any activities within the framework of the Commission which tends to this issue,” the President of the semi-autonomous Republika Srpska entity, Zeljka Cvijanovic, said last month.
Most Serbian and Bosnian Serb politicians dislike NATO because of the alliance’s bombing of Bosnian Serb artillery positions during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war and its airstrikes on Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo conflict.
The Commission, composed of 20 representatives, had the necessary quorum to hold the meeting and discuss sending the Annual national programme to Brussels, Belgium, with which Bosnia’s MAP would be activated, but not to make any decisions, the head of the Commission and Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkic, told N1.
Some Commission members have justified their absence, he said.
Outgoing Deputy Defence Minister and member of the Commission, Boris Jerenic, told N1 that he did not attend because he had resigned from the post and cannot participate in the meeting.