Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) path towards membership in NATO can be slowed down, but it cannot be stopped, and parties from the Republika Srpska (RS) entity are participating in fulfilling the conditions, despite the intimidation coming from Russia towards the Serbian people, according to analysts.
“We made a legal commitment to join the European Union (EU) and NATO. From the summit in Tallinn in 2010 until today, we have fulfilled most of what NATO asked of BiH,” said Dijana Gupta, professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the University “Dzemal Bijedic” in Mostar and president of the Atlantic Council of BiH.
The president of the Atlantic Council in BiH believes that the arrival of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in BiH, announced for today, November 20th, “is an important signal to a small country and a confirmation of partnership relations at the time of Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
“We cannot ignore the Russian influence on BiH. That is why it is important that we join NATO. Even big countries like the United States (U.S.) can no longer preserve security alone. Why would anyone, including the Serbian people, refuse to live in the certainty that there will be no new war, in a good economic standard and in community with other countries in the Balkans,” Gupta believes.
RS’s contribution to the NATO path
According to the Law on Defense, which was adopted in 2005, the institutions are obliged to carry out “all necessary activities for the admission of BiH to NATO membership”. The law integrated the three armies and created a single Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH).
The parties from the RS entity, the SNSD, which was the opposition at the time, and the Serb Democratic Party, which had the Minister of Defense of BiH, also voted for the law. Today, these parties accuse each other of “treason”.
For the past ten years, the position and opposition from the RS entity have opposed membership in NATO and advocated the position that BiH should follow Serbia, which has declared military neutrality, in this matter.
In October 2017, the National Assembly of the RS (NARS) passed a resolution on the military neutrality of that entity, almost identical in content to that of Serbia ten years earlier.
NATO is already in BiH
Neven Kazazovic, a military-political commentator from Sarajevo, also believes that BiH’s path towards membership is unstoppable “even though the official policy in the RS entity denies the NATO concept”.
“Even Serbia, which has these relations with Russia, cooperates with NATO. BiH is surrounded by NATO countries. NATO is in Kosovo. In BiH, we have EUFOR, which consists of soldiers from NATO countries. We also have a NATO command in Sarajevo. It’s not just a story, it’s something concrete,” said Kazazovic, Slobodna Evropa reports.