Senior NATO official Javier Colomina, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy (DASG) visited Bosnia and Herzegovina in the week of the Council of Ministers of BiH adoption of BiH Reform Programs for 2021 and 2022, the process led by the BiH Commission for Cooperation with NATO.
Summing up the visit, Colomina said that it was a very productive visit, as part of his regular political consultations with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He met with a range of high-level officials, including, among others, the Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josip Brkić.
He exchanged opinions with them on an array of topics of mutual interest. They discussed the continued development of long-lasting partnership, which has been in existence since 2006, when Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Partnership for Peace Program with NATO.
Colomina welcomed the recent adoption of the Reform Program and the renewal of the UN Security Council mandate of the EU-led Operation Althea, which plays a key role in ensuring a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that NATO continues to provide support to the EU-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Berlin Plus agreement.
He emphasized that the adoption of the Reform Program is a very important step in the consolidation of the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO, as well as in strengthening the partnership, adding that NATO remains committed to political dialogue and practical cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the NATO Headquarters in BiH announced.
He noted that cooperation could be improved in the areas of the fight against terrorism, emergency management and cyber security, and also by reinforcing the Headquarters in Sarajevo with more personnel and financial resources and provide more resources to support expert team visits to the country and counter-disinformation efforts.
“We fully respect every nation’s sovereign right to choose their own political and security arrangements, including whenthis means having and implementing a policy of military neutrality. This very principle informs our partnerships with many countries across the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond,” said Colomina.
He underlined that NATO’s partnerships are based on sovereign decisions made by individual countries to formalize their own relationships with NATO – although not a full NATO membership – by choosing individual activities that best fit with their ambitions and security needs.
Activities on offer under the Partnership for Peace programme touch on virtually every field of NATO activity, including defence-related work, defence reform, defence policy and planning, civil-military relations, education and training, military-to-military cooperation and exercises, civil emergency response, and cooperation on science and environmental issues.
Such activities inform our relations with many partners, including with countries that pursue a policy of military neutrality, including for instance, Serbia, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland and – until a recent time – Finland and Sweden which are now in the process of becoming fully fledged NATO members.