The Commander of NATO HQ Sarajevo Brigadier General David Enyeart

{gallery}newsletters/7/1/{/gallery} “It is impossible to expect progress when there is no readiness to reach agreement“, said the new Commander of NATO HQ Sarajevo Brigadier General David Enyeart in a quick response to the couple of our questions.

We got the opportunity to contact him shortly after the official visit of Bosnia and Herzegovina delegation to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

How does NATO see the position of BiH in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) process given the latest news following the meeting of NATO Secretary General and ambassadors of North-Atlantic Council (NAC) with Defense Ministers Selmo Cikotic and Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj in Brussels?

The NATO members made an offer to Bosnia and Herzegovina at Tallin to bring the country one step closer to NATO accession. We want to see this country within NATO. It would be good for the alliance, good for regional security and good for BiH. The one condition to ‘activate’ the Membership Action Plan was to solve the problem of ownership of defence property. This is a practical and reasonable condition. Not only is it essential to the future of the Armed Forces to settle this issue but the ability of the country to achieve political consensus will demonstrate a functionality of governance that will re assure the allies.

NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has recently stated that NATO will not give up on its condition for activation of the MAP. Mr. Rasmussen also reiterated that everything now depended on the BiH political leadership. Should BiH not meet the requirement related to the military property issue by September the country would continue with the process of reforms in accordance with the existing IPAP framework that will run from 2010-2012.

Do you think that BiH will join the MAP in September?

We are not optimistic that progress will be made in time for the MAP to be activated in September. Both sides in this political dispute hold firmly to positions that are irreconcilable. It is impossible to expect progress when there is no readiness to reach agreement. Political leaders have turned the ownership of military property into a political issue when it should be a matter of law. With the elections approaching no-one seems willing to give up those positions, even if this inaction is detrimental to the international standing and domestic development of BiH as a whole.

The draft Republika Srpska law that proposes to give the RS the right to dispose of all state property, including defence property, is not helpful. Unilateral actions harden positions and do not contribute to the spirit of compromise needed to reach consensus. The draft law represents a violation of the High Representative’s Decision on the disposal of state property. Not only does it constitute a breach of Annex 10 of the Dayton Agreement but it ignores several directives of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board and complicates the prospects of BiH compliance with NATO’s Tallinn condition.

NATO HQ Sarajevo has been working with the Ministry of Defence and other parties to help resolve this issue. Together we have done all that we can, and we remain ready to assist, however the responsibility now lies with the political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Željka ŠULC

Photo by NHQSa

General Enyear in his recent visit to the BiH Air Force Brigade.