NATO integration is the top priority for Bosnia and Herzegovina beside its European integration, said Bosnia's Defence Minister Marina Pendes, and according to her, the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Bosnia may be activated by end of the year.
Speaking for N1, Pendes recalled of a recent statement by NATO Secretary General, who said ahead of the Macedonia referendum on the name dispute with Greece that the NATO door is open for that country but that citizens will be the one to decide to pass through that door.
“I expect the people of Macedonia to recognise the importance of that referendum and the NATO membership, which will take it to the membership in the European Union. I expect a positive outcome of that referendum, which will help Macedonia, but I am convinced Bosnia and Herzegovina will activate the MAP by end of the year, which will help us to do in the next few years what Macedonia did,” said Pendes adding she was an optimist.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently one of the NATO partner countries, which demonstrated aspirations to become a member state. The country was set a number of conditions with the registration of the military property posing the most problematic one due to the objection of Bosnia's Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity to transfer the ownership over the property on its territory to the state level.
According to Pendes, adoption of a state property law would solve the matter and she is convinced there is a political will to pass this law.
“We demonstrated a credible effort and did a maximum because the state property hasn't been registered before 2015. No location was registered but now we have 31 of 57 locations put in the record,” she stressed.
“Majority of partners and NATO member states showed readiness to have the MAP for Bosnia and Herzegovina activated but some were sceptical as they thought that doing it before the election (in October this year) would give power to some political parties. I believe all obstacles will be removed after the election,” according to Pendes.
“MAP doesn't mean the membership in NATO. By having the MAP activated, Bosnia and Herzegovina takes over certain obligations to undergo certain reforms not only in the defence sector but in the sectors of justice, human rights, economy....”, she added.
Minister Pendes also recalled that the German Chancellor expressed support this summer to the MAP activation for Bosnia.