|Updated: 11-Apr-2003||April 2003|
During a visit on 10 April, representatives of NATO’s 19 member countries and the Secretary General told Bosnia’s authorities military reform is a precondition for closer ties with the Alliance.
The North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top decision-making body, travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina to underline the Alliance’s commitment to maintain peace and stability throughout the country and the Balkans as whole.
The Council was briefed by General William Ward, the commander of the NATO-led peacekeeping force SFOR, and met for talks with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Ambassadors strongly condemned the latest developments in the Republika Srpska, in particular the sale of weapons to Iraq by the ORAO factory and the intelligence operations against the international community. The Council expressed its full support for recent decisions by the international community’s High Representative Paddy Ashdown and reiterated the need for Bosnia to create a unified state-level defence structure in order to ensure proper civilian oversight of the military.
These reforms and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia remain the prerequisites for any closer cooperation, such as participation in the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace programme, NATO officials said.