Expert: NATO, EUFOR would react in case of BiH Armed Forces dismantling

NEWS 18.10.2021 13:43
Source: N1

Any movement that could hint at some military organization or self-organization in terms of threatening the military facilities and systems of the BiH Armed Forces (AF BiH), would cause a direct EUFOR and NATO intervention in the country, Alija Kozljak, the former head of the military unit of the BiH Mission to NATO told N1, adding that such actions would directly challenge the international community’s legitimacy and credibility.

His statement comes in light of Bosnian Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik’s claims that the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity would adopt laws and amendments annulling all the previous laws imposed by the High Representative in the country, some 140 of them, and withdraw its previous consent on all the major reforms in the country such as the army reform, the reform of the fiscal council, the Indirect Taxation Authority, state police, state intelligence agency and others, returning the competencies earlier transferred to the state back to the entity.

The head of the International Relations and European Studies Department at Burch International University noted that should the EU or anyone else introduce any sanctions against him or the entity, the entity leadership would declare the RS’ independence from Bosnia.

“I think that with his reckless statements, or to be more direct with his unconstitutional statements, Mr Dodik causes unrest among the citizens, but also among professionals in the AF BiH because they made the most significant reforms in BiH and it is no coincidence that he directed his actions against the armed forces. But the announcements about the withdrawal of forces are not realistic and Dodik knows that. He has already withdrawn his statement that he would surround the barracks, as was done in Slovenia [in the early 90s]. If he started blocking the barracks, EUFOR forces on the ground would be used immediately and military facilities would be protected. If deemed necessary, reserve forces would also be requested. Exercises have already been done on this matter. In the case of setting up any checkpoints at any location, the legitimacy of the RS institutions would definitely be further undermined, which would jeopardize this entity. They have already been warned about that,” Kozljak said, adding that in the case of neighbouring countries’ involvement, NATO would react.

Speaking about the EUFOR’s mandate and whether it can be jeopardized in the Security Council by the veto of the Russian Federation, Kozljak noted that Russia will think about this move very hard, “because if the EUFOR mandate is not extended, it would automatically give a mandate to NATO because that mandate was renewed in 2004 and it is still in force.”

In his opinion, sanctions for politicians and entrepreneurs in BiH have already been prepared and will be announced in the coming days.

“At the international level, sanctions against politicians and other individuals supporting them, are already being implemented. The list has been reduced over the summer, but it was expanding again due to recent events. Their goal is not only the fight against crime but also threats to Bosnia’s territorial integrity,” Kozljak told N1.

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