International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

German Def Min in BiH- We want to prevent Russia from destabilizing the region

February 6, 2024

The Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany, Boris Pistorius, arrived on Tuesday for an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, during which he met with the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zukan Helez, and his deputies.

After the meeting, Helez said that he and his German colleague discussed the implementation of reforms, support for BiH towards NATO integration, the aid package approved at the NATO Summit in Madrid in 2022, and the upcoming NATO meetings which will be held in Bosnia.

“Germany is one of Bosnia’s key friends on the foreign policy level. Also, the Federal Republic of Germany gives full support to BiH on its path to the European Union and NATO and I want to thank them for that, as well as for everything they have done so far for BiH and the Armed Forces of BiH. From 2021 to 2025, Germany has invested and will invest more than 20 million Bosnian marks (some €10 million) in the BiH Armed Forces. This improves the accommodation and conditions of the members of the Armed Forces and raises the standard and mobilization of the Armed Forces,” Helez said.

The German Minister of Defence stated that his country is making great efforts in the stability of BiH and the Western Balkans and that they show this through long-term and successful support.

“We have significantly expanded our relations and this includes rehabilitation initiatives, as well as bilateral programs that contribute to this. We contribute to the strengthening of appropriate capacities, related to logistics, artillery, elimination of excess ammunition, but also in language learning. From 2021 to this year, we will invest a total of 14 million euros from these purposes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and these are really important signals,” said Pistorius.

He added that during his visit to the country, he was convinced that the investment was appreciated and that it paid off and that they want to continue investing in the future because it is important for the stability of the region, but also for Europe itself.

“We notice that there are certain tensions. It's about having to decide which wedding to dance at. We cannot be in two places at the same time. If you want to join the EU, that's welcome and you have to want it together in order to achieve it,” said Pistorius.

The German Minister also spoke about Russian influence in BiH and a possible crisis and destabilization.

“We want to prevent Russia from causing an additional crisis, destabilization, from abusing this region to expand its influence, hoping to destabilize the West in this way. Germany will support the engagement of EUFOR Althea. It is very important that the forces can remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I am looking forward to how they are welcomed here because they also contribute to a safe environment for the necessary reforms,” said Pistorius and added:

“NATO and the EU have a clear position when we talk about Russia's aggressive actions. The most important thing is that the partnership between NATO and Bosnia and Herzegovina has been very successful since 2006.”

He also added that Germany will support BiH on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/german-def-min-in-bih-we-want-to-prevent-russia-from-destabilizing-the-region/

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