NATO has been committed to building peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years. This relationship has expanded from the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (GFAP, sometimes referred to as the Dayton Peace Agreement or Dayton Accords) to the current focus on advising institutions on defence and security sector reforms and building sustainable capacities to achieve the long-term objective of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
At the 2004 NATO Istanbul Summit, NATO Allies confirmed their long-term commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina with the establishment of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo. The Headquarters was established at the end of that year and focused initially on facilitating the defence reform agreement that led to the replacement of the post-conflict entity armies with the unified Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is unique in that NATO Allies have decided to maintain a large presence in the country, working in partnership with the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Armed Forces, and other institutions to provide assistance in reform efforts.
NATO is fully committed to supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s defence and security sector reforms. The defence and security landscape has changed dramatically over the years. Although some of these reform processes were facilitated by NATO, these courageous changes were made possible by commitment and compromise among political leaders and institutional officials of this country.
Progress in defence reform has been substantial, ranging from the establishment of a state-level Ministry of Defence and Joint Staff; to the creation of today’s unified Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Progress in Euro-Atlantic integration has been equally substantial, from joining the Partnership for Peace (PfP) to working steadily within PfP programmes.
Whilst NATO has provided support in all of these efforts, these milestones would not have been possible without the cooperation and collective will of political and institutional leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cooperation and partnership is the cornerstone of all of our joint activities.