Bosnia’s Defence Minister Sifet Podzic said from Madrid, Spain, that NATO decided to significantly help BiH, and that the country is considered part of a single European security structure. Podzic is the only defense minister from Membership Action Plan (MAP) member states to attend the NATO summit in Madrid. He pointed out that there was some concern in NATO about the EUFOR mission and its mandate and the potential veto, but that NATO had made it clear that they were ready to take a role in BiH if that happened.
“Last night I was very proud and I am glad that the allies are united in supporting and helping Bosnia and Herzegovina. The topic of the dinner was the Western Balkans and NATO, but it turned into BiH and NATO because I was the only non-NATO Defence Minister present,” Podzic said.
Regarding a possible Russian veto in the Security Council concerning the European peacekeeping force (EUFOR) mission in BiH, Podzic stated that the allies have a plan for a strong response.
“The allies are preparing a strong response to this possibility, and that is their obligation under the Dayton Peace Agreement, according to Annexes 1a and 1b, because they are in charge of implementing peace in the Balkans,” Podzic explained. Podzic elaborated that Bosnia has already started implementing measures from the new NATO package to help the country.
“NATO decided at an extraordinary summit last month to allocate this aid and equipment package. This was confirmed here yesterday and it is the most important thing for us. We are practically placed in the full architecture of future European security as if we were NATO member states. This will enable BiH to quickly conduct defense reviews, and modernize the armed forces, but it will also help due to the problems that BiH has with the budget,” Podzic said.
The Minister also said that any objections coming from the Republika Srpska (RS) entity will not prevent the implementation of this plan, as there are already documents that have traced BiH’s path towards the Alliance.