Due to the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West, more and more things are happening so that Moscow could use its veto right at the United Nations (UN) Security Council session in November and block the extension of the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH). It was announced by NATO that intensive consultations are underway on how to solve this problem if it arises. BiH Defense Minister Sifet Podzic also said that at the recent NATO summit held in Madrid, he received firm assurances that the alliance will react if the Russians use the veto in the UN and that in that case, NATO will take over the role of EUFOR.
Podzic pointed out that at the recently held NATO summit in Madrid, it was clearly stated that in case of a Russian veto and if the EUFOR mandate extension is not voted, NATO will intervene, which is its obligation under the Dayton Peace Agreement. On the other hand, his deputy Mirko Okolic says that by talking about the Russian veto, someone seems to want to introduce NATO in BiH instead of EUFOR, without the consent of Republika Srpska (RS).
”I got the impression that the allies are ready for a possible veto by Russia or someone else in the Security Council in November. We will not be alone. So the impression is very strong and it is literally said that the allies are ready to take responsibility in that case,” said Sifet Podzic, Minister of Defense of BiH.
”As far as we are concerned, the number of soldiers or members of EUFOR can be as much as necessary and as much as they estimate because we from the RS have never advocated anything other than peace, peaceful solutions through agreements. We don’t have anything against the ALTEA mission or the EUFOR mission in BiH. On the contrary, it is welcome, because it is the guarantor of peace, that is, that there will be no conflict in BiH,” Mirko Okolic stated, Deputy Minister of Defense of BiH.
Military analysts do not believe that Russia, despite earlier threats, will prevent the extension of the EUFOR peacekeeping mission, as this would pave the way for NATO to enter BiH.
The European Union (EU) took over the peacekeeping mission in BiH from NATO in 2004, when Operation Althea was launched, which is carried out by a contingent of soldiers from European countries called EUFOR. Currently, there are more than a thousand soldiers in the composition of these forces, that is, 500 more than before the crisis caused by the Russian intervention in Ukraine.