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Updated: 16-Jan-2002 Week of 14-20 January 2002

16 Jan. 2001

The democratisation process
in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The High Representative of the International Community for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wolfgang Petritsch, came to NATO headquarters on 16 January amid speculations on the reduction of SFOR troops and discussions on a follow-on mission to the United Nations when its mandate to support the civil implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord runs out at the end of the year.

Wolfgang Petritsch briefed NATO Ambassadors on current developments in the country and expressed his overall satisfaction on the progress made so far in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as his concern over unresolved issues such as the country's need for united armed forces. He also stressed the importance of close cooperation between civilian and military agencies working in the country, especially at a time when the United Nations is gradually streamlining its personnel in the field. Discussions on a follow-on mission are taking place at the moment and the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are involved in examining what would need to be done.

During a joint press conference with Lord Robertson, Wolfgang Petritsch clearly expressed his resolve to see the necessary capabilities maintained for the establishment of a multiethnic democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lord Robertson explained that NATO would continue its close collaboration with civilian personnel from the UN, or any other organisation, and would keep forces in the country for as long as necessary. In response to recent speculations on troop levels, he added that numbers are determined by the requirements of the missions and that the only foreseeable reductions would stem from a rationalisation of NATO operations in the region.

When questioned on Bosnia's interest in joining NATO's Partnership for Peace programme, Ambassador Petritsch declared that this was in Bosnia's hands. "PfP criteria is very clear", he stated. Bosnia must introduce defence reforms and, more importantly, restructure the three entity armed forces, which are currently detrimental to the security of its population.

Additional information:
  • Transcript of the Press point by by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson and Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative of the International Community for Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Audio file of the press point by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson and Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative of the International Community for Bosnia and Herzegovina (.MP3/2.550Kb)
  • High Resolution photos of the visit to NATO by Mr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative of the International Community for Bosnia and Herzegovina
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