Deputy Secretary General encourages Bosnia and Herzegovina to remove obstacle to NATO integration

  • 19 Jul. 2012 - 20 Jul. 2012
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  • Last updated: 20 Jul. 2012 18:08

The NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on 19 and 20 July 2012. The purpose of the visit was to exchange views with representatives of the Government on the country's commitment to the NATO accession process.

Meeting between NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija

Ambassador Vershbow highlighted a concern regarding the failure of Bosnia and Herzegovina to resolve the issue of immovable defence property, despite an encouraging political agreement earlier this year.

"Allied leaders had been encouraged by the political agreement on 9 March. But we regret the loss of momentum since then."

All immovable defence property must be registered as state property before further progress can be made in the country's admission to the NATO Membership Action Plan, in line with a decision taken by NATO Foreign Ministers in Tallinn in 2010.

Ambassador Vershbow stated, "Membership in NATO is not just about security, it promotes regional stability, fosters prosperity and instils confidence. NATO's door remains open, but walking through it requires effort from the leadership here."

"There are no shortcuts on the road. Countries that aspire to membership must demonstrate political commitment, a track record of reforms, and new resolve to settle old conflicts," he added.

"The sooner this issue is resolved, the sooner Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to draw on the full benefits of the Membership Action Plan. We hope this can be settled in the coming weeks," he concluded.

The Deputy Secretary General praised Bosnia and Herzegovina's contribution to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, highlighting the additional contribution to the Afghan Military Police training school in Kabul, alongside regional partners from the Adriatic Charter.

During his visit, he met with the members of the Presidency, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda, the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs Zlatko Lagumdžija. Ambassador Vershbow had a working lunch with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Ana Trisic Babic and with the Deputy Minister of Defence, Marina Pendeš.

The Deputy Secretary General also met with the Commander of the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo and Senior Military Representative of NATO, Brigadier General Walter T. Lord and with other senior members of the international community.