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News 18 Apr 12

Bosnian Serbs Criticise Minister's Stand on NATO

After Bosnia's Foreign Minister in Brussels said he hoped the country would join NATO by 2014, officials from the mainly Serb entity said the minister spoke only for himself.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The ruling party in the Republika Srpska, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, on Tuesday said Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija was spreading his own personal views rather than the country's agreed foreign policy in predicting Bosnia's NATO membership.

Serb criticism followed Lagumdzija's statement on Monday, when he said he hoped Bosnia would join NATO by 2014, marking a hundred years since World War I started in Sarajevo.

Rajko Vasic of the SNSD said Lagumdzija's statement violated the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which allocated conduct of foreign policy to the State Presidency.

“He is using his European tour to give out his personal ideas and not to implement a foreign policy created and led by the State Presidency,” Vasic said on Tuesday.

Lagumdzija said that it would be good if in 2014 Bosnia also hosted the NATO summit and raised NATO's flag in the capital, referring to the alliance as a symbol of security.

He said he saw Euro-Atlantic integration as an instrument of Bosnia's transformation into a functional country.

But, “There are political obstacles to NATO membership in contrast to EU integration,” Lagumdzija added, referring to Bosnian Serb resistance to the idea of joining the Alliance.

During his two-day visit to Brussels, Lagumdzija met EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule.

Fule said Bosnia had to ensure implementation of the 2008 Stabilisation and Association Agreement, SAA, and make a more credible effort to pursue reforms.

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