NATO is key to BiH stability
Foreign and European Affairs Minister of Croatia Vesna Pusic in an exclusive interview with Anatolia says that she supports a strong diplomatic initiative for including BiH in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the North Atlantic alliance's upcoming summit in Chicago, 20 and 21 May, which was initiated by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Moreover, Pusic reveals that she and Minister Davutoglu "jointly cooperated in this initiative." As she says, they met on the margins of a meeting of the foreign ministers of NATO in Brussels last month, and discussed support for BiH with the aim of advancing the country on the path to NATO.
"We concluded - and this is absolutely the Croatian position - that with the fact of the agreement between the six key parties in BiH on the method of resolving the military materiel issue, important and serious progress has been made. Of course, BiH needs this agreement and formal decisions, and needs to start with the procedures of registering materiel. But it is important that NATO recognize progress where there is progress! We think that for the stability of BiH, it is very important that it advance toward membership and as soon as possible be admitted to NATO. In this sense, Croatia will absolutely pledge itself to that," Pusic told.
Pusic sees the importance of BiH's entrance into NATO in the fact that the country is key for the stability of the South East Europe region. She believes that, inarguably, no country in the region can count on its own stability without stability in BiH.
"In that sense, I think that BiH's progress is extremely important on these two plans. First, on the path to NATO, second, on the path to the EU. Not because of membership as such, but rather that it brings stabilization of institutions. Our experience in NATO accession says that through the procedure of accession, we built our institutions. That serves us as a way of laying the foundations of institutions. I think that in this sense, the countries of the region have that joint interest. Croatia, of course, believes in active cooperation with BiH, including in some kind of formalization of that cooperation. Whether with the establishment of some kind of center or Euro-Atlantic strategy, or formal partnership in this progress toward Euro-Atlantic
integration", Pusic explains.
Referring to the ever-stronger positive engagement of the Republic of Turkey in the Balkans, Pusic said that "Turkey is, for the whole region and beyond, a very important country."
"Turkey is a country that is a very interesting and relevant partner. Our three countries that directly border in the region - BiH, Croatia, and Serbia - are key for the stabilization of the region. We, who live in the region, must make the first initiatives and sensible moves. In this sense the support of Turkey, the EU, the US, and Russia is important and welcome. I believe that it is absolutely useful that in that sense we have the support of these very relevant countries and political factors. It is my belief, however, that no one can help if you don't help yourself first. The fundamental proposals and solutions must come from those who live here. And then external support is very, very significant. And Turkey is, like the other political factors I
mentioned, a very important partner", Pusic analyzed.
Commenting on the recently-held general elections in Serbia, and in anticipation of the second round of the presidential election there on 19 May, the chief of Croatian diplomacy underlined that "it would be good for Serbia itself, and all the countries around it, that the option who wins advocate for European reforms."
"I do not want to prejudge the results of the elections. For now, we should see what will happen in the second round. In any case, whoever wins in Serbia must have the ability to lead his country, must be willing to cooperate in resolving problems in the region", Pusic believes.
On the issue of how she sees the position of Croats in BiH, since after a tense interethnic relationship in the Federation, Croat
Vjekoslav Bevanda was named Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Pusic noted that it is important that all three nation participate in the activities that are important for the future of BiH.
"I believe it is important that authority is established at the state level and that it functions. There is no other way than to define
common interests, to define the way in which all participate equally in government. So there simply must be ethnic representation, that is, representation by ethnic criteria. In that way, all can identify with the future of the country. That will not lead to warfare. That is not the right way. The right way is inclusion of representatives of all three nations, in that their fate depends on the common fate of the whole country", Pusic concluded.