Minister Podzic: BiH is on the Final Step for NATO Membership

Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is the last step for full membership, but this process, especially in the last three years, is extremely politicized.

The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sifet Podzic, said that today, speaking as an introductory speaker at the regular Sunday session of the Association of Independent Intellectuals Circle 99 on the topic "NATO and Security of BiH".

He assessed that in BiH, more time should be dedicated to spreading understanding and real facts about NATO, and to encourage reasoned appearances of the academic and scientific community, as well as young people, to make decisions concerning their future.

He appealed to talk more about the benefits and what is good about bringing membership in the NATO alliance, and not to constantly insist on shootings, since NATO is the most serious multinational organization.

"BiH is in the MAP. We have terrible controversies about that and we have been having unnecessary discussions for three years, whoever is not clear should intervene with NATO to change that. MAP is the last program that NATO has in its genesis before full membership," he underlined.

He explained that the MAP is a plan that the state enters into and shapes itself what tasks, reforms and processes it will do in that plan. However, BiH lost the whole of 2019 in discussions on what the ANP (Annual National Plan) would be called, after which it was decided that BiH would call the program the Reform Program.

BiH Presidency members Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic, Podzic says, insisted at the time that BiH must continue NATO integration and that a compromise solution be found and a Reform Program adopted, which was eventually sent to Brussels.

That document specifies what should be done in a period of one year. At the beginning of the year, reports of planned measures from the program were sent to Brussels, and at the beginning of July, an invitation is expected to Podzic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, Bisera Turkovic, in order to present the assessment of that report.

"The most important thing is that NATO's path has not been stopped and we are on the last step before full membership. For all our activities in this area, we have relevant decisions of BiH political bodies. How long will we be in MAP and when will the allies say yes? We have fulfilled the conditions and to invite us to apply for membership depends on us ", added Podzic.

He reminds that this will require a decision that can be made in the Presidency because that institution is responsible for security policy, also the Presidency can make a decision and ask for confirmation from the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, and a referendum on that issue may be required. 

The Minister of Defense says that BiH still has a lot of work to do, but emphasizes that the Ministry of Defense is doing quite well because there are people who understand the process and make efforts, but the problem is that BiH still has not adopted this year's budget and fulfillment of obligations is questionable. 

However, he expressed hope that BiH will become a member, but it depends on it how long that process will last. 

The President of Circle 99, Adil Kulenovic, mentioned today that the issue of NATO membership is an important topic for the security and prosperity of the country, emphasizing that trust in NATO is not unreasonable and dates back to the days when "destruction and death were commonplace in BiH".

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