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NATO chief visits Bosnia-Herzegovina for military talks

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From 21 to 22 September 2023, the Director General of the DGIMS, Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he met with the Chief of Joint Staff of the Bosnian Armed Forces -Herzegovina, the Minister of Defense as well as various senior military and high-level political officials. The visit was a welcome opportunity to discuss a stronger partnership between NATO and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as security priorities in the Western Balkans, particularly in the context of the current security environment. most complex and unpredictable since the end of the Cold War.

Group photo at the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina

On the first day of the visit, Lieutenant General Adamczak met with the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lieutenant General Senad Mašović. Discussing the country’s contributions to the Alliance since becoming a partner in 2006, the Director General expressed appreciation for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s contributions to shared Euro-Atlantic security, including providing troops to NATO missions. NATO; training NATO and partner troops during its annual disaster preparedness exercise; and provide specialized explosive ordnance disposal and military police units to the NATO Response Force.

En route to Camp Butmir later in the morning, the NATO military delegation had the opportunity to visit the Peace Support Operations Training Center (PSTOC), a training and education center. training accredited by NATO. Lieutenant General Adamczak gave a lecture to the staff present, providing an overview of NATO’s main threats and challenges. He also discussed the new Defense Capacity Building Program for Bosnia and Herzegovina, approved by Allies in February 2023, as part of NATO’s intensified efforts to help build partners’ capabilities and build their resilience . This assistance program will strengthen the country’s defense and security capabilities, particularly in areas such as crisis management, cyber defense, air medical evacuation and the fight against terrorism.

The program continued with a visit to NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, whose main mission is to advise and assist the institutions and authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the reform of the defense and security sector as well as as well as other NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) activities. The meeting with its commander, Brigadier General Pamela McGaha, was an opportunity to discuss the key role played by the HQ in the region. “A stable and secure Bosnia and Herzegovina and a peaceful Western Balkans are of strategic interest to the Alliance,” he stressed, emphasizing that “NATO’s commitment to helping bring peace, security and prosperity in the region is unshakeable.” Lieutenant General Adamczak then spoke about the long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership between NATO and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is based on constructive dialogue, mutual respect and practical cooperation. He added that NATO’s partnership with the European Union also plays a key role in this commitment: “Together we contribute to stability and security in the Western Balkans.”

This point was reiterated during his exchange with EUFOR Commander Major General Helmut Habermayer at EUFOR headquarters in Sarajevo: “EUFOR, like NATO forces in Kosovo, has been a stabilizing force in the Western Balkans – preserving peace and security in the region.” said the general manager. He further underlined NATO’s full support for the important role of the EU-led Operation Althea under the Berlin Plus arrangements as well as the work of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Back in Sarajevo, the visit ended the next day with a meeting between Lieutenant General Adamczak and the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Zukan Helez. During their talks, the Director General praised Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ongoing reforms in its defense sector, including in its armed forces, one of the country’s strongest multi-ethnic institutions. He further encouraged the country to take this important progress even further, emphasizing NATO’s continued commitment to strong dialogue and practical cooperation as we move forward. The country’s reform agenda with NATO currently constitutes the main framework for cooperation, intended to guide the country’s reform efforts as it pursues its Euro-Atlantic path.

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