American senators from both parties have proposed a draft law aimed, in addition to the fight against corruption in the Western Balkans, at solving possible problems with the extension of the European peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The senators requested that, in the event that Russia blocks the extension of the EUFOR mission in BiH, which should be decided at the United Nations Security Council in November 2022, NATO strengthens its capacities in the country.
“Using the voice of the United States of America in NATO to encourage alliance planning and the support of international military forces to maintain a peaceful and safe environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” reads the bill of six senators.
They also propose strengthening the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, in the event that Russia does not support peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the UN.
They also suggest encouraging NATO and the European Union to review their missions and positions in BiH and ensure that they play a proactive role in establishing peace.
EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina has an executive mandate that includes the use of force, especially in order to defend European forces against attacks or threats of attacks.
The EU and NATO, according to the 2003 agreement, can deploy an additional number of soldiers in BiH at any time in the short term in case of a threat to the security of this country.
Earlier, NATO repeatedly warned of possible harmful Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially after the invasion of Ukraine.
Because of all this, there is concern that Russia, which does not even recognize the high representative of the international community in BiH, Christian Schmidt, would withdraw its right of veto at the session of the UN Security Council on the extension of the mandate of the EUFOR mission in November.
The draft states that the US will continue to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in its efforts to become a candidate in the EU by encouraging the reform program.
The bill, otherwise known as the Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act, was introduced by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
The initiative comes amid heightened concern in the region over the war in Ukraine.
Senator Shaheen led a group of US senators who visited Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in April due to concerns about the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the Western Balkans.