NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a Nov. 20 visit to Sarajevo that he was concerned not only about secessionist rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Russian influence in the country.
“This undermines the stability and hampers reform. All political leaders must work to preserve unity, and achieve progress,” Stoltenberg said to reporters after a meeting with a delegation of the Bosnian Council of Ministers.
The NATO secretary general underlined that NATO remained committed to protecting security and stability in the Western Balkans, and that the allies strongly supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stoltenberg also said that the Alliance supported a new defense capacity building package to help Bosnia respond to natural and other disasters, and solidify cyber defense.
Stoltenberg also said that every country had the right to choose its security arrangements, without foreign interference.
The NATO secretary general arrived in Sarajevo on Nov. 19, where he had a working dinner with members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Earlier today he met with High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt. Stoltenberg supported the high representative, saying that he was pleased the Security Council had decided to extend the EUFOR mission in Bosnia, underlining that the Alliance “cannot and will not allow a security vacuum in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
“Any attempt to undermine your position will push Bosnia and Herzegovina back, instead of forward,” Stoltenberg said.