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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Defense Reform Legislation

U.S. Welcomes Defense Reform Legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Calls passage of law "significant step" toward Euro-Atlantic integration

The United States welcomes the October 5 passage of a defense reform law by the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the “most significant step towards Euro-Atlantic integration taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords” in 1995.

The reform effectively fuses the military forces of the Serbian, Croatian and Muslim communities of Bosnia into a single army.

Bosnia’s defense institutions have been striving to meet the benchmarks established for its candidacy for membership in NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP). The new law ends the separate military institutions in the Republika Srpska and the Croat-Muslim federation left over from the wars of the 1990s when the former Yugoslavia broke up.

“The United States looks forward to Bosnia and Herzegovina's admission into the Partnership for Peace, and eventually NATO, once all conditions, including full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, are met,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack October 5 in a statement welcoming the reforms.

Following is the text of McCormack’s statement:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
October 5, 2005

Statement by Sean McCormack, Spokesman

PASSAGE OF DEFENSE REFORM LEGISLATION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

The United States welcomes the October 5 passage of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Defense Law and Law on Service in the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the state parliament. This is the most significant step towards Euro-Atlantic integration taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords ten years ago, putting to rest once and for all Bosnia and Herzegovina's wartime legacy of separate military institutions. We have already witnessed the fruits of this labor in the deployment of an interethnic Bosnian Explosive Ordinance Disposal team to Iraq in June. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns intends to congratulate all concerned on the progress in defense reform when he travels to the region next week. He will raise, as an equal priority, the need for similar progress on police reform.

The United States looks forward to Bosnia and Herzegovina's admission into the Partnership for Peace, and eventually NATO, once all conditions, including full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, are met.

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