Stoltenberg: 25 years after Dayton Agreement, Bosnia is a security contributor

NEWS 13.12.2020 13:03
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Source: N1

One of the most significant achievements in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement was signed was the creation of the joint armed forces, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said in a video message marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the agreement, adding that the alliance will continue to support Bosnia.

Stoltenberg spoke at a ceremony marking the anniversary organised at Sarajevo’s landmark City Hall on Saturday evening.

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He said that the presence of NATO troops played “a central role in bringing the warring parties in Bosnia to the negotiating table” and that once the agreement was signed, “NATO forces oversaw its implementation, and we have remained on the ground ever since to help maintain peace and security in the Western Balkans.”

NATO helped Bosnia reform its security institutions, he said, stressing that the creation of a single army in the country was the biggest achievement.

He explained that there were more than 400,000 troops, “bitterly divided between three armies” in Bosnia at the end of the war, while today, there is a single professional army of around 10,000 soldiers and 5,000 in reserve “under a unified chain of command.”

“Indeed, Bosnia and Herzegovina is now a security contributor with its forces taking part in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. This is truly remarkable. It shows what is possible when difficult issues are tackled with ambition and a spirit of consensus,” he said.

However, Stoltenberg stressed that there is still a lot to be done.

“We can not and must not return to the past. Compromise may be difficult, but it is vital if the citizens of this country are to have the lives that they deserve,” he said.

“NATO will continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the future is in your own hands. With unity, determination and with compromise, great things can be achieved. A quarter of a century after Dayton it is time to recommit to peace, to reform and to a prosperous future for all,” the NATO Secretary General concluded.