NATO is concerned about the increased tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as any attempts to undermine multi-ethnic institutions such as Bosnian Armed Forces, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said prior to the beginning of the NATO summit in Riga starting on Tuesday.
NATO foreign ministers will meet in a two-day meeting, with the situation in Bosnia as one of the topics of the meeting agenda.
Asked to comment on political tensions in the country and what would be the “red line” for NATO to act regarding the separatist rhetoric that comes from Bosnia's Serb-majority region Republika Srpska, Stoltenberg recalled that NATO is already strongly present in the region, particularly in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Of course we are concerned about the increased tensions we see. Therefore, we welcome that the NATO and European Union are working very closely together in the region, both in Kosovo but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he stressed.
However, he expressed the concern over attempts to undermine multi-ethnic institutions, especially the Armed Forces as “one of the most successful multi-ethnic institutions in BiH.”
“NATO has been important in helping to build the Armed Forces of BiH into a strong, multi-ethnic institution. Therefore we are concerned about inflammatory rhetoric of Mr (Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Milorad) Dodik and Republika Srpska. We continue to support all efforts to reduce tensions, and to continue to provide support, capacity building for BiH,” he added.