'NATO is not part of Bosnia's political process and will not impose solutions'

Source: Nevena Bogdanović / Radio Slobodna Evropa

Bosnia and Herzegovina received NATO's offer to join the Alliance and it's up to her to accept or decline it, Senior Officer for Russia and the Western Balkans Robert Pszczel told Radio Free Europe during an interview in Belgrade.

Pszczel, who is in a keynote speaker at a panel discussion on Russia's impact in the Western Balkans in the Serbian capital, said that NATO will not impose a decision on Bosnia's accession to the Alliance and that this issue is something that must be addressed by the official Sarajevo and Bosnian citizens themselves.

He said that this is a very complex issue which implies additional questions.

According to the NATO official, the accession process cannot be dictated and it is not a decision brought by somebody else, but each candidate country must first achieve a broad consensus on the matter after which the Alliance decides whether to accept a new member or not.

He noted that NATO has been present in the region for a long time now and it does not see it as some kind of backyard, but that it has done a lot to stabilise it.

Speaking about Bosnia, Pszczel said NATO will not impose anything and that they are not part of the political process in the country, and are thus not responsible for its government formation process.

What happened in December last year, he added, is that NATO member states reached a consensus to offer the authorities in Sarajevo the possibility to submit Bosnia's Annual National Programme (ANP) should it wish to continue the NATO integration process.

This is an offer, he pointed out, and it is up to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens to decide whether they will accept it or not.