The ceremonial academy on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the establishment of the unified Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held on Thursday evening in the House of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
The academy was hosted by Defense Minister Zukan Helez with Deputy Ministers Slaven Galić and Aleksandar Goganović, with the presence of BiH Presidency member Denis Bećirević, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of BiH, Colonel General Senad Mašović and Deputy Major Generals Gojko Knežević and Ivica Jerkić.
The ceremonial academy was attended by state and international officials and members of the military-diplomatic corps, representatives of cultural, public and religious life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other top officials of the defense structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced.
In his speech, Minister Helez pointed out that the Armed Forces of BiH are a pillar of BiH sovereignty, stability and security of all peoples and citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the entire region, and thanked the partner countries for their support in this regard.
“I can proudly say that we have a strong Armed Forces, stronger than ever before. We can be especially proud of the members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina who achieved significant results in training this year and managed to maintain and raise the demanding level of operational capability. I am convinced that we are on the right track and that every year the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina will strengthen and progress even more,” said Helez.
The minister reminded that with the new convocation of the BiH Council of Ministers and his arrival at the head of the BiH Ministry of Defense, the military budget has increased. Therefore, for the first time, the financial status of members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and employees of the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina has improved. He expressed the hope that the trend of increasing the base, and therefore income, will continue.
“Bearing in mind the complexity of the security environment on the global level, where a large number of conflicts can potentially turn into a global conflict, the modernization of our Armed Forces becomes imperative. Investing in the defense sector is not a luxury. This is a real need, because it is an investment in the safe future of all citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I hope that other fellow ministers will also see the need and importance of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and approve the increase in funds for the defense department ,” Minister Helez concluded.
The ceremony was attended by, among others, the chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić, member of the Presidency Denis Bećirović, as well as the Minister of Defense of BiH Zukan Helez.
“The fact that the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina exist is, in my opinion, first and foremost a political and security component in a country like Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also said that in my speech in front of the machine, that, unfortunately, I cannot promise them what would be logical that many people promised them, even without me, namely that the government institutions, that is, politics, will be aware of their role and their importance in BiH society and the state, and that they will be repaid in a way to improve their standard even more, to even better equipment, so that they can be more confident in carrying out their regular tasks, as well as the extraordinary ones that they perform on the order of the BiH Presidency,” said Komšić.
He emphasized that he is proud of the members of the Armed Forces and that they are one of the best segments of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s society.
“They show that in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can do great things that can sometimes seem like a miracle in the political circumstances we are in. We in Bosnia and Herzegovina have reason to be both proud and satisfied with our girls and boys who serve in the armed forces,” said Komšić.
Minister Helez pointed out that he will continue to provide better conditions for members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“It is no secret that the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were formed from three armies in Bosnia and Herzegovina that were at war with each other. Today, when you look at it, you cannot notice it, it is an integrated factor of BiH society. Today we have one more ceremony, one celebration, which is a donation from the European Union in the amount of 20 million euros of vehicles to help the demining battalion,” Helez said.
The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zukan Helez, together with the Deputy Ministers for Policies and Plans and Resource Management – Slaven Galić and Aleksandar Goganović, received today the delegation of the European Union (EU), led by the Director of the European External Affairs Service Angelina Eichhorst.
The meeting was also attended by the head of the Office for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European External Action Service, Peter Wagner, and the head of the EU Delegation and the EU’s special representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Johann Sattler.
The meeting between the leaders of the BiH Ministry of Defense and the EU Delegation precedes today’s handover ceremony of demining and medical vehicles, which will take place in the “Rajlovac” Barracks of the Armed Forces of BiH (OSBiH).
It is a donation that the European Union is donating to the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the first tranche of the European Instrument for Peace (EPF) in the amount of 10 million euros.
“The demining and medical vehicles that we receive today add additional value to our overall demining capacities and capabilities. The donation to our demining battalion is very important to us, especially since it came at a time when we are celebrating the Day of the BiH Armed Forces,” said Minister Helez, adding that the BiH Armed Forces want to be regional leaders in the demining process.
He praised the activities of the European Union, as well as NATO, which, through their military and political mechanisms, contributed to the extension of the Althea EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that EUFOR has an important role in preserving peace and security.
He also emphasized the necessity of strengthening the dynamics of fulfilling 14 priorities for the start of negotiations for EU membership.
“The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the best integrated part of society, and I would like the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina to function like the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” concluded Helez.
The Director of the European Service for Foreign Affairs, Angelina Eichhorst, emphasized that cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a candidate country, is at an excellent level, and expressed her desire to continue even greater and stronger engagement both with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Armed Forces of BiH.
“This aid instrument was used for the first time and I am glad that today we can provide this kind of support to the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Eichhorst and added that she was looking forward to today’s handover ceremony of demining and medical vehicles.
Deputy Ministers Galić and Goganović also expressed their gratitude to the Delegation of the European Union for the valuable donation, and concluded that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s path to the European Union has no alternative.
The meeting between the two delegations continues during the day at the “Rajlovac” barracks of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the handover ceremony of demining and medical vehicles will be held, announced the Public Relations Office of the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina.