The Annual National Programme (ANP) is a basic element for the NATO to prepare the aspirant countries for possible membership and it is sad that Bosnia's moving closer to the Alliance is being blocked, a former State Department and Pentagon official, Michael Carpenter, said in an exclusive interview for N1.
“It is incredibly important for the aspirant countries to take the ANP for serious. Its military part deals with the procurement of weapon and other equipment which is necessary for the membership in the Alliance and interoperability of the equipment of those countries with other allies. Its civilian part establishes procedures and military reforms in order to enable participation in the NATO exercises and operations. That's why it is a very important instrument, it is actually a basic element to prepare aspirant countries for the membership,” said Carpenter, who currently acts as the Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
Moving Bosnia closer towards NATO would be a very good move, according to him, and it is sad that moving the country closer to the Alliance is being blocked.
“I have been advocating for Bosnia's membership in the NATO for a long time and I believe there is a huge number of Bosnian citizens who want their country to be part of the NATO for clear historic reasons. The fact that the tripartite Presidency has no consensus on this at the moment is unfortunate but this is the reality we are faced with today. I think it will be very hard for Bosnia to make progress towards the NATO membership as long as any of the Presidency members has something against that,” he stressed.
NATO won't insist on it if the countries of this region don't want to move closer to the membership, according to him.
“If Serbia wants to be military neutral, that's completely fine given their circumstances. NATO shouldn't try to bring Serbia to the membership, we can cooperate well with them while they are out of the NATO too,” added Carpenter.
Asked to comment allegations about Bosnia being a “dysfunctional country,” he replied that he could agree with that but that he rejects putting that burden on Bosnian citizens.
“I think you described Bosnia well, it is a dysfunctional country but not because of its citizens. That's, unfortunately, the result of political structures which were established in Dayton and after that,” emphasised former Pentagon official, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control.
He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Previously, Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.
Commenting on media allegations on possible territory swap between Serbia and Kosovo, he argued that such an idea stands no serious chance because not many of Serbia's and Kosovo's residents would support that.
However, he added, if Serbia and Kosovo reached such agreement, that could be used to make some “unilateral moves” in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“If Republika Srpska (Bosnia's Serb-dominated part) decides to unilaterally make some changes without agreement with the Federation (Bosnia's entity shared by the Bosniaks and the Croats) that wouldn't be an analogy,” Carpenter warned.