NATO is preparing an aid package for BiH

24.05.2023. / 16:53

SARAJEVO – Commander of the NATO Headquarters in BiH, Brigadier General Pamela McGaha, said today that NATO, together with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Security of BiH, is preparing an aid package for BiH with the aim of better supporting the needs, equipping and modernization of these institutions.

PHOTO: Dnevni avaz

The panel was held in the House of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in addition to the commander of the NATO headquarters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the panelists included the ambassadors of Norway Olav Reinersten, Germany Thomas Fishen, Great Britain Julian Riley and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chairman of the Commission for Cooperation with NATO Josip Brkić.

In her introductory speech, Brigadier General McGaha said that the NATO team in Sarajevo has been working together with the ministries of defense and security of Bosnia and Herzegovina for 20 years, to help build a security network that citizens and Bosnia and Herzegovina can trust.

“I am proud that the Alliance is a partner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the security, stability and prosperity that this partnership brings to everyone”Mekgaha said.

Answering a journalist’s question whether NATO will take over the EUFOR mandate if China and Russia in the UN Security Council veto the extension of the mandate of the “Altea” Mission, Makgaha said that she could not speculate on the decision, which will be voted on only in November.

“I can say that the international community is committed to maintaining the safe environment of BiH and that together with that it prefers that the mandate of Eufor be renewed”Mekgaha pointed out.

Pro-Russian influence

When it comes to pro-Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Commander of the NATO Headquarters in Bosnia and Herzegovina Pamela McGaha said that it is clear that there are several foreign actors who want to impede the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries of the Western Balkans.

“These actors are undermining the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to weaken the institutions that ensure the safety of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is precisely the reason why the Alliance decided to provide additional support to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We believe that the strong security base in BiH, as well as the regional one, will continue to encourage investments”said Mekgaha.

Norwegian Ambassador Olav Rejnertsen said that Norway has always pursued a balanced policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on mutual respect, and stated that the decision on NATO membership rests only with Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, with the people who live here and the politicians.

“We don’t want to impose solutions, nor do we tell politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina what to do. We are here as equal partners. We actively work with non-governmental organizations, students, journalists… Everything that, in fact, NATO represents. As a result of our active involvement in NATO, we assumed the role of NATO contact point with BiH”says Rejnertsen.

He added that Norway is one of the founders of NATO, adding that partnerships have shown them that the best solutions cannot be found individually.

“We encourage NATO support to the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What we want is to explain what NATO has brought to Norway. Membership was crucial for stability, but also for economic prosperity. I repeated that to the citizens of BiH several times”the Norwegian ambassador pointed out.

German Ambassador to BiH Tomas Fitchen reminded that BiH has been a partner for 17 years, emphasizing that NATO is interested in security outside its territories, including dialogue and cooperation.

“The partnership has been growing for years and it is very important for NATO. The advantage of our partners is that NATO can provide support. “Germany believes that NATO partnerships are beneficial for all involved and that they improve security for the wider community”Fičen stated.

PHOTO: Dnevni avaz

Great Britain’s Ambassador to BiH, Julian Riley, said that BiH is a sovereign country that has the right to choose its future, but that NATO ensures the general stability and security of its members, as well as economic development and prosperity.

“BiH is a sovereign state and will make decisions as it wishes. We support its future on the Euro-Atlantic route. Great Britain, together with our allies, is a partner and friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are proud of the partnership and look forward to supporting your journey to NATO, to work and strengthen together,” Riley said.

In response to the journalist’s statement that for some citizens of BiH the association with NATO bombing with depleted uranium, Riley made the claim that “in 1995 and in 1999, civilians were not the target”, but military leaders and forces in order to “reach peace”.

“Where there have been civilian casualties, there is always great regret, and Great Britain and NATO have said that many times, and that cannot be changed.”Riley says.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH and Chairman of the Commission for Cooperation with NATO Josip Brkić thanked the participants of the panel discussion, emphasizing that BiH has become a country that contributes to world security with experience in NATO-led missions abroad.

“We have recently become someone who contributes more to the world security order than as a user as we were before. For us in BiH, NATO’s open door policy is very important, that it be very active and alive until the moment when we in BiH ourselves, with our sovereign and independent decision, decide whether or not we want to transfer part of our sovereignty to both the EU and NATO”said Brkić.


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