The Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zukan Helez, is on an official visit to Washington on Wednesday. He held a series of meetings with American officials in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, Anadolia reports.
On the second day of his stay, Minister of Defense Helez met at the White House with the National Security Council coordinator for defense policy and arms control, Cara Abercrombie.
Helez informed the interlocutor about the current political and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, current events in the defense department, and about the negative Russian influence on the collective security of BiH and beyond.
“It is encouraging that the Republic of Serbia is organizing a military exercise with NATO forces on its territory, but it is also a bad message that the Presidency of BiH did not give consent to hold the exercise ‘Immediate Response-23’ at the military training ground of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Manjaca, in the second half of May this year. years. Also, the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH does not prosecute those responsible for denying the genocide in Srebrenica is discouraging, which results in general insecurity and the departure of young people from the country,” Helez emphasized.
National Security Council Coordinator Cara Abercrombie emphasized the firm commitment of the US Government to support BiH on its way to the EU and NATO.
“We will support all reform processes in the MoD and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we welcome the agreed proposal for the structure of the new general corps. I will forward to the Pentagon for consideration the initiative to increase the presence of American forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Helez emphasized.
On the same day, Helez met at the State Department with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Stan Brown, with whom he exchanged opinions on the current political and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the blockages of certain members of the collective head of state on our path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
Brown congratulated the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the formation of the new Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the quick adoption of the budget. He expressed his concern that in the Republika Srpska entity “they are trying to introduce a Russian type of government, and to shut down free and independent media.”
Brown positively evaluated the realized project “Sarajevo without mines” and asked for support for a new project called “Mostar without mines” nominated by the Marshal Legacy Institute Foundation.
“The US government is ready to support the strengthening of the state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, primarily the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through new projects for their equipment, which will soon be considered by Congress. We will continue to support the process of dealing with surplus weapons and mine explosive devices,” he said. Brown.
Brown emphasized full support for the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in reaching NATO standards and achieving the strategic goal of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At the end of the day, Helez also visited the Pentagon, where he met with Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of the Department of Defense for US policy, the highest-ranking official of the American administration with whom Helez met.
Helez also introduced Kahl to the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is largely conditioned by the influence of Russian aggression on Ukraine.
Kahl emphasized the firm commitment of the US Government to support the preservation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and uniqueness of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing that he has dedicated his entire career to security issues in the Balkans, and therefore Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Referring to US President Joe Biden’s statement that the future and stability of the Balkans depend on NATO, Kahl emphasized:
“The US government and the Pentagon continue to consider all options regarding increased support to BiH, especially the implementation of reforms in the area of the judiciary and the rule of law. Our determination is to intensify support and expand the level of cooperation between BiH and NATO, and we will ask European partners to increase their military presence in to the ALTEA mission”.
Helez thanked for the support that the US Government selflessly provides to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I am pleased by the fact that our American partners and friends are determined to support Bosnia and Herzegovina even more and more strongly on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration and that new modalities for expanding cooperation in the field of defense have been agreed upon,” Helez said.
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