International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

NATO Commander McGaha stresses importance of strengthening partnership with NATO

November 14, 2023

NATO has recognized that Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing additional security threats due to newly emerging geopolitical circumstances and has approved an aid package to strengthen its defence capacities. This, as well as numerous other support projects, testify to NATO's strong partnership and dedication to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This was highlighted today in the continuation of the Rose-Roth seminar, which is being held in Sarajevo that was organized by the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO (NATO PA) in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH PA).

Bosnia's Deputy Minister of Defense Slaven Galic pointed out that the fundamental determinants of the new strategic concept of the NATO alliance are deterrence, crisis management and prevention, which is particularly important for the Western Balkan region.

Referring to the reflections of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, as part of the panel ‘BiH and NATO,’ Galic said that the commitment to the security and stability of the Western Balkans region was confirmed at that summit, and the reforms that improve the aspirations of the countries for joining NATO and the European Union were underlined.

He said that the messages from Vilnius were materialized through a specific aid package, assessing that this aid was welcome in the circumstances of the limited defence budget.

As part of the same panel, Olav Reinersten, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in BiH, which is also NATO's contact embassy, greeted the meeting participants, referring to the recent initiatives of NATO in Bosnia, i.e. the role of the NATO contact embassy and the international community.

He explained that the contact embassy is, among other things, in charge of distributing information from NATO to counter misinformation and malignant influences.

Reinersten, also recalled that the idea of the Rose-Roth seminar is to help transition countries in reform processes and expressed the expectation that the meeting in Sarajevo will contribute to BiH being on the radar of NATO member states, ready to support its efforts.

Commander of the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, Brigadier General Pamela McGaha stressed the importance of strengthening the partnership and cooperation with NATO, while talking about practical examples and experiences in cooperation between NATO and Bosnia.

She said that the long partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina includes almost all NATO programs expressing her belief that this contributes to reform processes and good governance in BiH.

She praised the achieved level of cooperation with the BiH defence structures, as well as the professionalism of their members, emphasizing the readiness of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo to continue to provide support in this regard.

Brigadier General McGaha pointed to Bosnia's insufficient defence budget, stating that it has been less than one percent of GDP for decades.

She also said that the BiH Armed Forces are the most trusted institution in the country, calling on the partner countries to continue to support them.

”Investing in partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina is investing in our security,” said, among others, Brigadier General McGaha.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/nato-commander-mcgaha-stresses-importance-of-strengthening-partnership-with-nato/

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