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5 Nov, 2009 18:17

Bosnia & Herzegovina should decide on NATO themselves – Lavrov

A decision on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to NATO is up to that country’s people to make, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference in Sarajevo.

However, he added, this should be preceded by the closing of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lavrov added.

“I have congratulated Bosnia and Herzegovina on the election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Bosnia and Herzegovina will vote independently. I hope it will make sovereign decisions rather than wait for approval from higher representatives,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

The Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina unanimously voted for the country’s accession to NATO, according to Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj.

He said there is no alternative to integration into NATO and 75% of the country’s population support this, he noted.

“Within this council, decisions were made, upheld by both Bosnian entities and the three state-forming nations, which contain the principles and criteria required to transform the office of the High Representative, abolish the Bonn Accords, and let the Bosnians decide on all issues pertaining to Bosnia's future, without any external supervision. It is a long-overdue step that is necessary for strengthening Bosnian statehood and putting the fate of Bosnia in the hands of the Bosnians.

As for Bosnia's future accession to any international structures, this is up to the Bosnian parties to decide. Before addressing that, however, it would be logical to urgently settle the matter of canceling the mandate of the High Representative and canceling the Bonn Accords, which have started to become an obstacle in the way of Bosnian statehood. This is necessary to allow the Bosnians to take their own, sovereign, not internationally imposed, decisions on their foreign policy.

This doesn’t mean that the international community will forget Bosnia. There is a coordinated scheme for establishing the office of a special EU representative, which will ensure smooth transition to such a model of interaction with the international community that will not imply interference in the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.