Palmer: Full NATO membership of BiH is a long-term goal

Matthew Palmer; Photo: Flickr / Bled Strategic Forum

SARAJEVO – US Special Envoy for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer stated that the US strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH and that the goal is to strengthen BiH’s capacity to move towards its goal of EU membership.

When it comes to NATO membership, Palmer stressed that the current focus is not on BiH full membership but strengthening and partnership.

„It is the official policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the path to membership of the NATO. This is the goal that the US supports. However, it is a long-term goal. What we are focusing on right now is not a NATO membership issue which is causing great tension here”, Palmer said.

He added that the focus is currently on working with partners from BiH to strengthen the security and defence sector, to make BiH a better partner for NATO and the US.

„When the membership is mature, BiH will be qualified to decide that case,” Palmer said.

Holding an election in Mostar is crucial

US Special Representative for the Western Balkans, US Ambassador Eric Nelson, EU Head of Delegation to Bosnia Johann Sattler met with Bosniak and Croat leaders Bakir Izetbegović and Dragan Čović on Wednesday to discuss the pressing need for elections in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar, US Embassy stated in a press release.

The Embassy stated that all interlocutors agreed that Mostar citizens have been deprived of their right to vote for too long and that urgent action is necessary to ensure that citizens of the city can vote in the 2020 municipal election.

“The representatives of the International Community in this meeting expressed their readiness to support locally-led initiatives to find such a compromise solution that would restore the right of Mostar citizens to vote, address violations established by The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and BiH Constitutional Court ruling, and maintain Mostar as unified, multi-ethnic city,” the statement from the US Embassy concluded.

The last local election in Mostar was held in 2008. Two years later, the Constitutional Court Acted upon a motion by Croat representatives in the state Parliament, concluding that parts of the state Election Law referring to Mostar are unconstitutional.

In its ruling on the Mostar election, the European Court of Human Rights made clear that State Parliament was responsible for addressing this deadlock. As two parties that are significantly represented in Parliament and have a strong base in Mostar, the SDA and the HDZ play an important role in finding a politically acceptable solution that can be turned into law before the May 2020 elections, Nezavisne reported.