The leader of the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Bakir Izetbegovic, confirmed on Thursday that the future cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO would be "reduced" if the agreement on the formation of the country's new government he signed earlier this week with HDZ BiH leader Dragan Covic and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik was implemented but added that it was a compromise that had to be made to enable the implementation of the results of the October 2018 election.
Addressing reporters in Sarajevo, Izetbegovic commented, for the first time after the signing of the agreement on the formation of a coalition government with the HDZ and the SNSD, on criticism from the opposition that he had given in to Dodik, jeopardising the country's prospect of NATO membership, saying that neither he nor Dodik had been defeated by signing the agreement.
"My defeat is out of the question. Maybe I did not specify everything," Izetbegovic said in a comment on the fact that the coalition agreement made no mention whatsoever about Bosnia and Herzegovina adopting and sending to Brussels the Annual National Reform Programme (ANP), a document necessary to activate the country's action plan for membership in NATO.
Dodik's SNSD party is claiming that this means that the ANP will not be adopted while Izetbegovic now claims that it is a detail that still needs to be elaborated.
"The situation is very clear. Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the Membership Action Plan. We have said that plans will be forwarded to Brussels. That is one framework. Further work is now up to others who need to make those plans," Izetbegovic said.
The SDA leader did, however, confirm that Dodik had resolutely opposed the coalition agreement including any guideline referring to the ANP, which was eventually left out so that the agreement could be signed.
Izetbegovic also said that US Ambassador Eric Nelson had conveyed to him his concern over the latest developments since the USA insists on the continuation of efforts to bring Bosnia and Herzegovina closer to NATO, but he claimed that the diplomat eventually accepted his assurances that the compromise reached was acceptable.
The Izetbegovic-Covic-Dodik agreement envisages the appointment of a new state-level government in the next 30 days, but for now, there are no indications as to when the state-level presidency could meet to appoint a prime minister-designate.
That post will probably be occupied by Zoran Tegeltija of Dodik's SNSD party and his appointment is to be confirmed by the state parliament's House of Representatives.
The three biggest political parties have a majority in the House of Representatives and they will be joined by the Democratic Front (DF) of Zeljko Komsic and the SBB party of Fahrudin Radoncic, which previously agreed to be coalition partners to the SDA.
Dodik's SNSD can count on additional support from two or three smaller Serb parties that have seats in the state parliament.