NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: Mr. President, it is indeed a great pleasure to welcome you to NATO Headquarters. I attach great importance to having a close dialogue with Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of our aspirant partners. And we thank you for your country’s contribution to our mission in Afghanistan. That contribution shows your commitment to becoming a provider of security.
In recent months, we have seen significant progress in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In December, after a long period of political negotiations, your main political parties recently reached an agreement to form a government. And in March, you reached an agreement on the questions of immovable defence properties which has hampered your progress towards NATO for so long.
I very much welcome these agreements. And I look forward to the decision on defence properties being implemented swiftly and smoothly. The sooner that is done, the sooner you will be able to draw the full benefits of the Membership Action Plan, just as NATO Foreign ministers agreed two years ago.
NATO is fully behind your aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration. The stability and long-term prosperity of Bosnia-Herzegovina are crucial for your region and crucial for Europe.
That will take political efforts, determination and dialogue. But it will be worth the effort. Because all the countries of this region belong in the Euro-Atlantic community. And let me stress that NATO’s door is open to those who share our values, and are ready to share our responsibilities.
Bakir Izetbegović (Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina): Thank you very much General Secretary. Thank you for the invitation. I'm really happy to be here today with you. I was in Brussels, a few weeks ago, meeting the leadership of the European Union. And I'm very happy to be so frequently here in Brussels, sending messages that this is the most important address for Bosnia and Herzegovina, actually those two processes of integration: integration to EU and integration to NATO.
This is what guarantees to us security, stability, prosperity, better life in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the whole region, Bosnia and Herzegovina, its past, painful recent history. And I think that those painful pages of our history it's behind of us.
It is not only the territory that we share here in Europe. Bosnia is of course part of European territory. But we share first of all values. We share the goals. And our wish is to use this open door policy. We will pass soon through this door, I think so. And we did our best to solve the stalemate that we've had in the last 16 months. And as I said to you, in this meeting, it was finally our domestic product. Before this, we've always had a strong support and push by international community.
This time, we did it by ourselves. We established government, council of ministers. We fulfil some obligations like census law, like stated law, like fiscal frameworks. It is our own product. And next time, I think it will not last 16 months; it will last 16 days.
So Bosnia also started to solve the problem with telling precondition. So there's Membership Action Plan, an annual plan waiting for Bosnia-Herzegovina. But there is condition about this movable property. The main thing is sought: political decision is there. And there is a list done by our Minister of Defence and our Chief Commander. So I think in the framework of 60 days we will make it then. We will go with that result to Chicago. So these are our main messages. Thank you very much for inviting us.
Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): We have time for one or two questions. Bosnian TV.
Q: Yes, a reporter of Bosnian State Television. I have a question for the Secretary General. I'd like to hear your opinion. How realistic are expectations from the Bosnian side that they'll in Chicago get the green light for the Membership Action Plan?
Anders Fogh Rasmussen: The timeline as regards the activation of the Membership Action Plan is very much dependent on Bosnia-Herzegovina herself.
We welcome that a political agreement has been reached as regards the defence property. Now, we need to see the full implementation of that political agreement. And once the implementation, the practical implementation of the agreement has been completed, NATO Allies stand ready to activate the Membership Action Plan. So the answer to your question is that it's very much dependent on Bosnia-Herzegovina herself. We have decided to grant the Membership Action Plan provided that the defence property issue has been resolved. And once it has been resolved also in practical terms, the Membership Action Plan will be activated.
Oana Lungescu: Thank you very much.