Bosnia plays a crucial role in the peace in Europe and stability in the Western Balkans, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command, Naples-based NATO command, James Foggo told media in Sarajevo on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with Bosnia's Defence Minister Marina Pendes, Admiral Foggo said NATO is committed to continuing a strong partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“NATO is grateful for this country's long-standing contribution to the peace support operations in the world,” he said pointing out that Bosnia's contribution has great significance in collective stability.
He recalled that the country and the alliance started working together on defence reform in 2006, the year when Bosnia entered the Partnership for Peace.
That partnership has developed and it is important to continue it, said the NATO official.
“NATO offered Bosnia and Herzegovina in December (last year) to submit its Annual National Programme. That's a design of how Bosnia and Herzegovina sees the development of its Armed Forces, not what Brussels is telling you how it should look like. We have seen many discussions, I entirely support the program and want it to be submitted. Once that happens, you will get stability and security, and the Armed Forces that would lead to prosperity,” said the official.
But according to the Defence Minister, a decision which would lead to the Annual National Plan submission has not been made yet.
“You know very well how the Defence Ministry functions and how decisions are made, and that the minister can submit the annual program to the NATO based on the conclusions passed in the Presidency and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That decision has not been made yet,” Pendes told reporters.