Updated: 06-Dec-2004 NATO Speeches


2 Dec. 2004


by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, M. Borislav Paravac at the SFOR transfer of authority ceremony

Excellencies, generals, officers, soldiers of SFOR and EUFOR and the Armed Forces of BiH, ladies and gentlemen, I have the honour to greet you on behalf of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am particularly pleased to have this opportunity to address you on the occasion of the transfer of authority between SFOR and EUFOR which is being conducted under the auspices of European Union and NATO.

Today's ceremony is another in a series of important events for Bosnia and Herzegovina; this is an important date for the United Nations, the European Union and the entire international community in terms of their role in military peacekeeping operations--the biggest challenge of the modern world. This event undoubtedly represents another huge step forward by Bosnia and Herzegovina in pursuing a lasting and sustainable peace on its path towards European integration.

I refer to the missions of the Implementation Force and the Stabilization Force with pleasure; the missions that were performed in the period between 1995 and the present. The Implementation Force which had 60,000 troops from NATO and other troop contributing countries at the beginning played an important and critical role in the implementation of the military aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace.

The Stabilization Force organized and led by NATO consisted of 7,500 soldiers at present have fully stabilized peace in BiH, while carrying out their peacekeeping mission in cooperation with the peoples and authorities of BiH, they built confidence among the parties and the peoples of the country. The overall security situation in BiH and the region improved, conditions were set for radical reform in defence and security sectors as well as other fields.

Today nine years after, we may conclude that the dangerous and demanding military peacekeeping operation was completed with success and that its most valuable resource was a lasting and sustainable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The peoples and the authorities of BiH are fully aware that brave IFOR and SFOR members have made an enormous contribution to peace. On behalf of the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina I thank all IFOR and SFOR soldiers, their nations, NATO and the United Nations Security Council. We cannot forget the soldiers that have lost their lives in this mission and to them and their families we owe a debt of gratitude and respect.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be able to look at a new future and a European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be able to welcome EUFOR led by the European Union. This transfer of authority reflects the reality in BiH, a country adamant in paving its path towards a better future, a path leading to integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. We welcome EUFOR's mission and offer our full support and cooperation based on partnership.

We also find NATO's continued presence extremely important and useful bearing in mind its role in defence and security reform, (inaudible) operations and counterterrorism. We fully support NATO's commitment and assistance and offer our full support and cooperation.

It is our conviction that the future missions of EUFOR and NATO will substantially improve the results in defence and security reform, provide conditions for BiH accession to the PfP in NATO and enable BiH institutions and Forces to assume full responsibility in these matters.

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