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I see progress in Sarajevo

(From left to right) U.K. Army General Sir James Everard,  Bosnia-Herzegovina's Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Anto Jelec,  Minister of Defense Marina (Zdravko) Pendes,  and Admiral James Foggo pose for a group photo on Feb. 21 in Sarajevo. Latin Bridge,  where Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife,  Sophie,  on June 28,  1914,  which is the event historians cite as the start of World War I.  The bridge spans Sarajevo’s Miljacka River and is a two-block walk from Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Ministry of Defense. Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Amber Sorsek.

It’s amazing what leadership, time and energy can do.

Yesterday, U.K. General Sir James Everard and I met up in Sarajevo to pay a visit to key Bosnia-Herzegovina leaders and the two commands we overee, EUFOR Operation Althea and NATO Headquarters Sarajevo.  Together these two teams partner to help the people of Bosnia-Hercegovina advance their country and move forward on their journey
towards Euro-Atlantic integration. 

The progress is very visible.  It has been almost 15 years since I last set foot in Sarajevo.  I clearly remember lingering signs of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.  But not yesterday.  I travelled down new roads much like we’d see in Berlin, Paris or London.  We viewed shops much like I’d see in Madrid, Athens or Rome.  The people dressed in fashions we’d see in New York, Ottawa or Amsterdam.

Sure, there are challenges.  Yet we face these problems to some extent in all of our countries. Point is, I see progress.  People are well informed, articulate and energized to improve themselves and their families.  And while the roots of ethnic-driven tensions remain, our EU and NATO teams are part of the solution.  As General Everard and I visited the Bosnia-Herzegovina Tri-Presidency, Minister and Chief of Defense, and EU Ambassador, we heard resounding gratitude for the NATO and EU teams’ efforts.

Bosnia-Herzegovina joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 2006, and aims to join the EU.  Our teams in Sarajevo are helping them in their journey.  Their steady advancement makes for a more safe, secure and prosperous region.

I encourage you to read more about our EU and NATO efforts to help the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina at:

Blog by Admiral Jamie Foggo

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