Stoltenberg: NATO support to Bosnia will help prevent possible aggression

NEWS 25.05.2022 16:04
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Source: N1

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday when Stoltenberg said NATO strongly supports peace and stability in BiH and across the Western Balkans.

“Our political dialogue and cooperation are more important than ever, because of the war in Ukraine and its malign influence across the region. NATO will do more to stand by our partners … to further deepen our cooperation with BiH. This could include the developing of a new capacity-building package, enhancing our cooperation on small arms and light weapons, counter-terrorism, crisis management and cyber security,” Stoltenberg said.

He added, that the Sarajevo headquarters would be reinforced with additional personnel and financial resources and that they also support expert teams in the fight against disinformation.

“By stepping up both our political and practical support we can help build resilience and prevent any future aggression. Any future assistance would be tailored, demand-driven and fully coordinated with BiH. We talked about NATO's role in Operation Althea. Our cooperation with the EU on this remains essential and we will continue to support this important EU operation,” Stoltenberg said. “I urge all sides to stop the divisive rhetoric and move towards reconciliation.”

A meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), consisting of permanent representatives of all NATO member states, is also planned, at which the Chairman Dzaferovic, will speak.

BiH Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic thanked NATO for its great support.

“Our pretensions are the NATO alliance and BiH is determined in that. I came here to say that BiH institutions are important, but also that there are policies that slow it down. BiH is a country where NATO has done important things. It stopped the war, established peace, and worked diligently with us to sign the Dayton Accords. I am convinced that NATO will continue to protect the Dayton Peace Agreement. Russia's influence exists in BiH and there are open threats and that is what the Russian ambassador in Sarajevo is doing – threatening that BiH will feel the consequences if it joins NATO. We are going to the EU integration and NATO path and no one will stop us. We also ask for your support for the important role of preserving the Dayton Accords and peace,” Dzaferovic said after the meeting.

Dzaferovic pointed out that the secessionist policies of BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik could not be implemented peacefully, but that he hoped that would not happen and that these policies would end up in ” history’s garbage dump”.

When asked by an N1 journalist who recalled that there is talk in BiH about peaceful dissolution, but also from Croatia about new potential self-government, whether he believes that NATO will be a guarantor of security, Džaferović said:

“Both Dodik and everyone else should know that there is no, especially peaceful, dissolution in BiH, there are no additional ethnic or any other divisions in BiH,” Dzaferovic concluded.

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