Both Bosniak and Croat BiH Presidency members, Sefid Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic condemned the statement by the Russian Ambassador to Bosnia saying should Bosnia join NATO, Russia would have to react to that hostile act.
“Bosnia’s foreign policy goals are defined by the BiH Foreign Policy Strategy. When it comes to its NATO membership, things are defined by the Law on Defence and the decisions of the Presidency of BiH. Bosnia will continue on that path, regardless of the views and opinions of the Embassy of the Russian Federation,” Dzaferovic’s Cabinet stated.
The Croat member of the tripartite Presidency said the Russian Embassy should be well aware of several facts based on the decisions of BiH institutions, which the embassy should respect, especially knowing the recently stated Russian position on the respect of decisions made by BiH institutions.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted an official request for participation in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for NATO in 2009 in accordance with the decision of the then BiH Presidency. The following year, 2010, at the NATO session in Tallinn, Bosnia was invited to the MAP, where a condition was set – the registration of military real estate. That condition was lifted at the NATO session on December 5, 2018, when Bosnia was invited to participate in the MAP. I would like to remind you that the MAP, NATO's plan for countries with aspirations for membership, was started in 1999, with the aim of preparing those countries aspiring for NATO membership. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia have gone through it,” Komsic said.
He added that, for its part, Bosnia and Herzegovina began its participation in the MAP by submitting the first Reform Program, adopted in November 2019, which was immediately submitted to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
“As for the announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, it is certainly the continuity of their activities towards all aspiring countries for NATO membership, and, unfortunately, most often such activities are manifested through causing greater and lesser difficulties. This was the case in Montenegro, and later in Northern Macedonia, during their journey towards NATO membership. It is obviously a Russian geopolitical game that aims to stop the expansion of NATO in Europe. However, this is not only a message to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also to our NATO allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and others. Political speech that abounds in ‘twisted’ threats is certainly not acceptable to them, nor to us in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Komsic concluded.