|Updated: 14-Dec-2006||NATO Update|
|14 Dec. 2006||
and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia
NATO gained three new partners on 14 December 2006, with the accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace Programme.
Speaking of the new relationship with the three countries, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, “This marks a moment and a beginning of much wider cooperation.”
The accession of the new Partner countries comes as a result of invitations issued on 29 November at the Riga Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government.
Expanding the Euro-Atlantic Community
The move is a significant step to integrating the three Balkan states into the Euro-Atlantic community.
Leaders from the three countries visited NATO Headquarters on 14 December to sign the Framework Document of the Partnership for Peace Programme.
For Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ceremony had special significance. The Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the conflict in that country, were signed in Paris exactly eleven years ago.
“The fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is joined the Partnership for Peace Programme is probably one of the biggest steps that Bosnia and Herzegovina has undertaken in its past with Euro-Atlantic integration,” said Mr. Nebojša Radmanović the Chairman of the Tripresidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We are quite aware that this is the first step and that it means that we have to take more effort towards going to Euro-Atlantic integration, and we want to do so.”
“This is a really historical moment for Montenegro,” said Mr. Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro. “Montenegro will continue to implement its reforms in a highly responsible and accountable way.”
The President of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadić described the accession of Serbia as “the end of isolation.“
“We are going to bring the values of NATO, of the European Union, to the region,” he said.
Cooperation with the international tribunal
The Secretary General stressed that NATO expects Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to fulfill their obligations towards the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
“Entry into Partnership for Peace does not mean that there is now no more need for full cooperation with the Tribunal in the Hague, full cooperation for the ICTY," he said.
With the three new Partners, 23 countries are now participating in NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme.