Izetbegoviĉ wants Bosnia to join "NATO elite"

SARAJEVO -- Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegoviĉ has spoken in favor of that country joining NATO.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Izetbegoviĉ, who represents Bosniaks - one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia - said "elite countries" were members of the western military alliance.

"They are well organized and prosperous countries, it is actually an elite group of countries, and this is where Bosnia should go," he said, stressing that "decisions about this were made by the presidency 11 years ago, and then confirmed in 2009."

He pointed out that the requirement for joining NATO was to register 63 military sites, and that this has not been done during the past four years. Referring to politicians from Bosnia's Serb entity, the RS, Izetbegoviĉ said that "irresponsible people, those who want to halt the road to NATO" wanted to "tie this one permille of state assets to other state resources and divide it between the two entities."

"That will certainly not happen, we will never agree to a division of state property in such a way... Certainly we will put into function all state property and even this, military kind," he told a conference organized in Sarajevo by the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

He believes that Bosnia's delay on the road to NATO membership is "one of the reasons for the halting of the economy."

"The message that Bosnia-Herzegovina is a member of NATO, a safe country where investments can be made could lead to intense investment and inflow of foreign capital. Thanks to irresponsible people, we had a delay in Bosnia and the matter should be concluded in the coming months," said Izetbegoviĉ.

Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO Ted Whiteside stressed that NATO chose Bosnia-Herzegovina to organize the gathering "because they noticed that there was a genuine interest in the subject among its politicians and diplomats."