The BiH Presidency members Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović received Admiral James Foggo, Commander of the Joint Command of NATO Allied Forces in Naples.
Two BiH Presidency members informed Admiral Foggo about the aspirations and meeting the conditions for BiH Euro-Atlantic integration, which equally imply the EU and NATO accession, stressing that the refusal of this path does not lead to stability and security of BiH.
They thanked NATO’s decisive role in stopping the war in BiH, establishing peace and reforming the defence and security sector in BiH.
They pointed out that the submission of the Annual National Program (ANP) means respect for the adopted laws in the domain of defence and that this is a question of the respect for the rule of law.
Admiral Foggo believes that the time has come for BiH to submit the ANP and he believes that the delay would cause a risk of creating a “bad image” for the European Bank for Regional Development (EBRD) bankers who are coming to Sarajevo this week as part of the 3rd EBRD summit.
He also pointed out that the BiH authorities are the ones who are to prepare the ANP and that they have full control over its content.
Foggo added that this is the best opportunity for BiH to present its positions to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, its ideas and visions when it comes to the further reform of the BiH Armed Forces and its needs in that regard.
Foggo told the media that BiH plays a crucial role in the peace in Europe and stability in the Western Balkans.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with BiH Defence Minister Marina Pendeš, Admiral Foggo said NATO is committed to continuing a strong partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“NATO is grateful for this country’s long-standing contribution to the peace support operations in the world”, he said, pointing out that BiH’s contribution has great significance in collective stability.
He recalled that the country and the alliance started working together on defence reform in 2006, the year when BiH entered the Partnership for Peace.
That partnership has developed and it is important to continue it, said the NATO official.
“NATO offered Bosnia and Herzegovina in December to submit its Annual National Programme. That is a design of how Bosnia and Herzegovina see the development of its Armed Forces, not how Brussels is telling you it should look like. We have seen many discussions; I entirely support the program and want it to be submitted. Once that happens, you will get stability and security, and Armed Forces that would lead to prosperity”, said the official.
Adviser Dragan Vuković attended the meeting on behalf of the Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik and reiterated the views of Dodik that he was against the activation of MAP, and therefore against NATO membership, and that the cooperation within the Individual Partnership Program (IPP) should be at the highest level, stressing that “the path to full EU membership is a priority and that it must be viewed separately from the NATO path of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.