NATO Secretary General Urges Political Leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Implement Necessary Reforms

SARAJEVO–(ENWESPF)–7 February 2013.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Sarajevo on 7 February in order to discuss with political leaders how to take forward Bosnia and Herzegovina’s aspiration to move toward membership of the Alliance.

The NATO Secretary General met with the Chairman of the Presidency Nebojša Radmanović, with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Zlatko Lagumdžija and with Minister of Defence Zekerijah Osmic.  The Secretary General thanked his counterparts for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s contribution to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.

“This shows that you are committed to becoming a security provider, and contributing to international stability”, the Secretary General said.  “You aspire to join our Alliance. NATO stands ready to assist your reform efforts. But only Bosnia and Herzegovina can lead them”, the Secretary General said.  “Only you can implement the reforms which are necessary to achieve the goals you have chosen – goals that will benefit all people in this country, from all entities”.

The Secretary General also met with other members of the Presidency, of the Council of Ministers, with members of Parliament and with the leaders of the main political parties. He urged all communities to show the leadership that is needed to take Bosnia and Herzegovina forward on the way closer to NATO.

“This is a historic opportunity. And a historic responsibility”. The NATO Secretary General added: “NATO will be with you, every step of the way. But only you can walk that path – and take the next step”.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen told reporters at the end of the visit, “I leave Sarajevo a bit more optimistic than I came. I am encouraged to hear all political leaders reaffirm their commitment to the agreement on immovable defence property and their determination to implement it as soon as possible. Now I am looking forward to actual implementation.”