Minister Podzic: Changing the Name of the Commission will not have an Impact on Cooperation with NATO

”The Commission for Cooperation with NATO had its first meeting on Wednesday and I know that they concluded that they should make the program by April 15th, that is, that we all submit reports, and the Commission will consolidate the Program for 2021, ” said Sifet Podzic, Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

He told that he would be together with Bisera Turkovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, in Brussels in mid-April and would be able to answer any unclear questions there.

Podzic stated that changing the name of the Commission, previously ‘for ‘NATO integration”, and now ”for cooperation with NATO”, will not have an impact on the content of the document.

He referred to the different approaches that different parties in BiH have towards the relations between BiH and NATO.

“Whenever NATO integration is mentioned, I see that the right words are being carefully chosen, depending on the political option. We have nothing to hide – we know that we have some political parties in BiH that support an accelerated NATO path, then we have others that are against it, and the third group that is for some kind of cooperation, etc. Here, the words are being chosen carefully. I would like to finally clarify something  – the Council of Ministers of BiH adopted the Report on the implementation of the Reform Program from 2020 and it was a problem about who will reveal it and forward it to Brussels, ” said Podzic, recalling the history of relations between BiH and NATO, and the fact that a few years ago, after a long crisis, the Presidency of BiH managed to reach a consensus and send a Reform Program to Brussels instead of the National Plan. According to Podzic, it is fortunate that NATO accepted that in the end.

“In that Reform Program it was said, I quote: ‘For many years, the coordination of relevant ministries and agencies at the state level has been implemented through the Commission for NATO Integration Process of BiH with the Council of Ministers and this approach will be continued.’ And now, all of a sudden, we get into this odd situation where it is said that it is no longer the Commission for NATO Integration, but the Commission for NATO Cooperation. I know that the essence of it does not change and we continue with the NATO path, but I just don’t like to be put in a situation where we send something to such a serious organization, but then we play and say: Well, we don’t want it to be called like this now, let’s call it that, ” Sifet explained his decision not to vote to change the name of the Commission.

“The most important thing of all – all documents regarding our full membership in NATO were adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, the Presidency of BiH, and the Council of Ministers as well, and, most importantly, they were not imposed by the High Representative but voted in parliament. It is very important that the Reform Program says that all documents voted on at the state level – remain in force “, the Minister of Defense of BiH, Sifet Podzic, concluded.

When asked by the host of the show where he was the guest, Podzic commented on the offer for the import of Russian vaccines, about which the BiH ambassador in Moscow spoke earlier in the same show. He answered in the negative when asked if he was familiar with it.

“No, I am not and I do not have that information. I know that we have not seen that offer at the Council of Ministers. I know that yesterday we discussed the organization of a telephone session on the distribution of vaccines donated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but we did not mention Russian vaccines, ” he said yesterday.

Podzic told that a telephone session of the BiH Council of Ministers should be held today, at which an agreement on the distribution of those vaccines should be reached, BHRT writes.

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