NATO chief begins tour of Western Balkans – EURACTIV.com

NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Sarajevo on Sunday, kicking off a mini tour of 4 Western Balkan nations, three of which aren’t members of the navy alliance and are seen as posing potential safety dangers.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been in NATO’s Membership Motion Plan since 2010. Nonetheless, it has not taken concrete steps in the direction of membership due to a sluggish tempo of reforms and political blockades by Bosnian Serb leaders, who oppose NATO membership and have additionally blocked makes an attempt to hitch worldwide sanctions in opposition to Moscow.

In mild of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the modified safety atmosphere in Europe, NATO elevated its help for Bosnia and in 2023 endorsed a brand new Defence Capability Constructing bundle for the nation.

After assembly the Bosniak, Croat, and Serb members of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s collective presidency on Sunday, Stoltenberg will on Monday go to Kosovo, a former province of Serbia that declared independence in 2008 and continues to be patrolled by NATO-led peacekeeping troops, KFOR.

The go to comes after a breakdown in political talks and elevated tensions between Serbia and Kosovo in current months, culminating in an assault by armed gunmen on a Kosovo police patrol in September, which the EU dubbed a “terrorist assault”.

On Tuesday, Stoltenberg will journey to Serbia – a rustic NATO bombed in 1999 to halt the ethnic cleaning of Albanians in Kosovo. Whereas Belgrade has since set its sights on EU membership, it has declared that becoming a member of the navy alliance just isn’t its strategic purpose. It has additionally to this point refused to endorse sanctions in opposition to Moscow.

The final on the listing is North Macedonia, which joined NATO in 2022.

In response to N1, Stoltenberg will maintain a gathering on Wednesday with regional leaders, together with these from NATO members Albania and Montenegro, in addition to NATO and EU members Croatia and Slovenia.

(Zoran Radosavljevic | Euractiv.com)

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