The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zukan Helez, together with Deputy Ministers Slaven Galić and Aleksandar Goganović, on Friday, December 1, 2023, received NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Commander of the European Command of the United States Armed Forces for an official visit. of American States (USEUCOM) by General Christopher Cavoli.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Supreme Allied Command in Europe (SHAPE) and at the same time the operational commander of the European Union operation “Althea” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lieutenant General Hubert Cottereau, Deputy US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Deborah Mennuti, Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo Brigadier General Pamela McGaha, Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Brigadier General Mirsad Ahmić, assistants to the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zoran Šajinović and Dženan Redžo, heads of the cabinet of the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina and deputies and other associates, discussed the path of Bosnia and Herzegovina towards Euro-Atlantic integration and bilateral military cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the USA .
General Cavoli congratulated the hosts on the Day of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and emphasized that NATO, as well as the USA, will continue to be committed to strengthening the capacities of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He emphasized that he came to visit the MoD and the Armed Forces of BiH in order to give a sign of encouragement to continue with reforms and further development of operational capabilities and interoperability with NATO. In doing so, he offered all the help from his side, as a high-ranking NATO military official, but also as the commander of American forces in Europe.
Minister Helez pointed out that cooperation with NATO is crucial for the development of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for maintaining peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with EUFOR forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He emphasized that the USA is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s number one partner on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration. He presented to General Cavoli the most important activities and plans for the further development of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also reminded the idea that deminers of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as leading experts in mine removal in the region, should be ready to lead the future demining of Ukraine, when the conditions are met.
Deputy Minister Galić emphasized the role of the USA as a strategic partnership of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the very beginning of the activities of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina until today. He emphasized that any further support from the American armed forces is welcome for strengthening the units of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to better develop their resistance to various modern threats.
Deputy Minister Goganović expressed satisfaction that the EUFOR mission in BiH continued. He praised the cooperation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with NATO, but also expressed regret that the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not approve the exercise plan in the past period, which included the exercise of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina with NATO and the Serbian Army. He stressed that such activities would have a positive impact on the development of good neighborly relations and peace and stability in the region.
After the meeting of the two delegations, Minister Helez and General Cavoli held a short face-to-face meeting. This was followed by a meeting of the delegation with General Cavoli headed by representatives of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was led by Chief Lieutenant General Senad Mašović and Deputy Chiefs Major Generals Gojko Knežević and Ivica Jerkić. They talked about the details of the further development of the interoperability of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina with NATO forces, as well as mutual cooperation on army-to-army activities.