Operation 'Althea' continues in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Operation 'Althea' continues in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Heads of EU diplomacy called on Bosnia's political leaders to "take the initiative, establish power at all levels of government" and promote reforms that will lead the country towards the EU path.

The conclusion of the Luxembourg session, according to the Council of Europe press release, said that the EU's Foreign ministers reiterate their unequivocal commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country.

"Following the elections on 7 October, and recalling the Conclusions of June 2018, the Council expects all leaders to engage constructively on government formation at all levels, in the interests of all citizens. The Council recalls that it expects the BiH authorities to prioritise taking forward the reforms needed to advance on in its EU path, ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Reform Agenda", the CoE conclusions say.

In this context, the Council welcomes the continued presence of Operation Althea, which, in the follow up of the Strategic Review 2017 has refocused on its core mandate, while retaining the elements of capacity, building and training deemed to be still necessary and phasing out the other elements no longer relevant.

In this framework, as part of the overall EU strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council confirms the bloc's readiness to continue, at this stage, the executive military mandate of Operation Althea to support state authorities to maintain the safe and secure environment, under a renewed UN mandate.

"The Council looks forward to the presentation of the next Strategic Review in 2019 as a basis for discussion with Member States on EUFOR's tasks and options for the future of the Operation, also bearing in mind the need to support Bosnia and Herzegovina's progress in its EU integration process and taking into account the security situation on the ground. The Council recognises the importance of continued coordination of EUFOR Althea with other international actors on the ground", stated press release.

CoE concludes that the bloc continues at the same time to urge Bosnian authorities, with the support of the international community, to accelerate their efforts to address the disposal of excess ammunition, weapons and explosive devices, as well as (the) de-mining process and other outstanding issues.... / IBNA

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