14:18 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Bundeswehr troops operating as part of a NATO mission Bosnia, 2001.

    NATO's Balkan Dream: 'Gaining Access to Key Strategic Facilities'

    © AP Photo / Sava Radovanovic
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    The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has ruled that the Veliki Zep military facility in the country’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska is owned by the state. In an interview with Sputnik, Serbian political analyst Andjelko Kozomara said the decision could help Bosnia move toward NATO membership

    “NATO wants to gain access to key strategic facilities. The Yugoslav Army always deployed its bases at strategic locations and by registering them as “prospective military property,” the Bosnian authorities are making them available to NATO, which plans to station its forces there,” he said.

    He added that the Constitutional Court’s ruling violates the terms of the 1995 Dayton Accordspeace accord under which 49 percent of the country’s territory belongs to Republika Srpska.

    By re-registering Veliki Zep and other military installations the Court is actually downsizing the territory of the country’s Serb-dominated entity.

    Re-registration of the so-called “prospective military property” is the final step in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s bid to join NATO, the so-called “Membership Action Plan.”

    “Just like Serbia, the majority of Bosnian Serbs do not want to join NATO. If Serbia does not want to join NATO, then Republika Srpska will not let Bosnia and Herzegovina join this military alliance. We fear, however, that things may develop just as they did in 1992 when Croats and Bosnians voted in a referendum to break away from Yugoslavia. The Bosnian Serbs did not vote, but the international community still recognized the results of that plebiscite,” Andjelko Kozomara continued.

    Meanwhile, the vice speaker of Republika Srpska’s parliament, Nenad Stevandic said that the re-registration of military property will by no means facilitate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into NATO because the Bosnian Serb Republic will not abide by the Court’s ruling, which violates the terms of the Dayton Accords and creates a new crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    He added that in a situation like this Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be able to join any alliances.

    “They are pressuring us to set off a new crisis and blame it all on the Serbs. They have been using this practice since 1992 by making decisions we can’t subscribe to because they deprive us of our legitimate rights, and then blaming us for ‘destabilizing the situation’”, Nenad Stevandic told Sputnik.

    Commenting on the situation in an interview with Republika Srpska’s news agency, the Russian ambassador to Sarajevo Pyotr Ivantsov said that matters directly pertaining to one of the country’s entities cannot be decided without its consent.

    “This is a fundamental principle of the federal makeup of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Ivantsov emphasized.

    Sarajevo and Brussels have been discussing Bosnia’s NATO membership since the mid-2000s.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 2006. It was expected to join NATO by 2011, but the plan hit a snag over the need to hand over more than 60 military facilities to the federal government.


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