NATO decision-makers visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

Posted in NATO | 02-Jun-04

The North Atlantic Council, the Alliance’s top decision-making body, reiterated NATO’s commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina during a visit to Sarajevo on 28 May.

In meetings with the country’s leadership, the Council praised the progress achieved to date, saying that it was now possible to contemplate a termination of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission, SFOR.

The next steps forward, such as Bosnia joining NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, depended on the country’s leadership NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters.

The arrest of Radovan Karadic and other persons indicted of war crimes remains a vital precondition, he said.

Istanbul decisions

The visit took place less than a month ahead of the NATO Summit in Istanbul, 28 and 29 June, where NATO’s operations, in Afghanistan and in the Balkans, will be reviewed.

It is expected that Heads of State and Government could announce that SFOR can be successfully terminated at the end of this year.

The Council was briefed on the security situation in the country by the commander of the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR), Major General Virgil L. Packett II. Council members also discussed the political situation in the country and the reform process with members of the Tri-Presidency, Prime Minsiter Terzic, Foreign Minister Ivanic, Defence Minister Radovanovic, other members of the Standing Committee on Military Matters, parliamentarians, and representatives of the international community.

The North Atlantic Council is the senior decision-making body of NATO, comprising the Secretary General and the Permanent Representatives of the 26 NATO member countries.