What lies behind Dodik’s Support for EUFOR: the Desire for Peace or the Fear of NATO?

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Milorad Dodik, surprised the public the other night when they said that they support the extension of the EUFOR mission in our country.

Within the EUFOR Althea peacekeeping mission in BiH, there are currently 600 soldiers from 19 countries who guarantee a safe environment in this country.

The mission of EUFOR, ie the European military forces, is based on the mandate of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and it is extended every year. It expires in November.

Considering Milorad Dodik’s earlier views, which are strongly opposed to the presence of foreigners in BiH, it was expected that the Security Council would be asked not to extend EUFOR’s mandate, similar to the termination of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the departure of foreign judges from the Constitutional Court of BIH, etc.

In addition, EUFOR is providing strong support to the Armed Forces (AF) of BiH, which Dodik plans to abolish to build an RS army.

It is important to mention that EUFOR made it clear a few days ago that it did not intend to peacefully observe the activities of the Republika Srpska (RS) security forces when the plane of the international mission unannouncedly observed the exercise of the entity police on Jahorina.

The RS police even said that this activity somewhat hindered the performance of the exercise, ie the lifting of another helicopter.

Let us add that it was feared that Russia, which has a veto in the Security Council, will not vote for the extension of the mission this year because its views have been ignored when it comes to the election of High Representative (HR) to BiH, Christian Schmidt.

Therefore, it is clear that there is a certain game behind Dodik’s support for extending EUFOR’s mandate. First of all, it is obvious that Dodik and Vucic have no role in whether the mission will be extended, so with this support, they are trying to present themselves as peacekeepers and as a constructive factor.

But there is another important aspect. According to the statements of experts, in the event of the withdrawal of EUFOR from BiH, the mandate to preserve stability in our country will be taken over by NATO itself. Former BiH military representative to NATO Alija Kozljak recently spoke about this.

“NATO continuously monitors the situation in BiH, thus has the necessary information to take on the role of security guarantor under the Dayton Agreement in the event of a security breach, in accordance with a 2004 UN Security Council resolution, if EUFOR is unable to do it, ” Kozljak told.

He assumed that this could be a reason for Russia to support the continuation of the EUFOR mission.

“I’m not sure that Russia will stick to its position (not to extend the mission) because they are now aware that if EUFOR is not supported, NATO will take responsibility for security. So these days this issue is being communicated. In any case, the outcome will generally follow in the next month, and I think that this outcome will take place before the decision on the extension of EUFOR’s mandate is made, which covers much broader issues. Also, there are intensive talks on relation Brussels-Moscow, Berlin-Moscow, London-Moscow, and Paris-Moscow, and those talks include this, among other things, ” concluded Kozljak.

When asked whether a new decision of NATO members is needed to initiate intervention in BiH, Kozljak stressed that decisions in NATO are made by consensus and that such a decision has already been made.

“NATO already has the mandate to act and no new decision is needed in that regard. A decision will be made to determine what is a trigger for NATO action and a consensus will be reached on that. There is already a decision to activate NATO in case of security breaches. In the case that this happens, it will be determined what is that moment. Not all NATO members need to engage in this issue. It is not necessary, it is enough that in accordance with the decision that was already made, the countries that are ready to act will act under the auspices of NATO, ” claims Kozljak.

Dodik’s support for the extension of the EUFOR mission, apparently, is a consequence of the understanding that NATO has a clear mandate to operate in our country, and that the withdrawal of European forces even opens the door for it. With his act, Dodik wants to present himself as a pacifist and a constructive factor.


Source: Klix.ba

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