Bosnia’s Deputy prime minister and Minister of Defence Zukan Helez hosted Klaudia Tanner, the Austrian Minister of Defence on Monday, Anadolu Agency reported, adding that Helez was joined by his deputies Slaven Galic and Aleksandar Goganovic.
The Austrian delegation included the Ambassador of Austria to BiH Ulrike Hartmann, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defence Major General Friedrich Schroetter, Assistant Brigadier General of the Ministry Martin Selzer, as well as the military attaché of this country in BiH Brigadier Erich Simburger.
Bosnia’s Defence Ministry stated that the interlocutors exchanged opinions on the current political and security situation in BiH and stated that the mandate of the Althea EUFOR mission in BiH was recently extended in a time of increased security challenges, which is extremely important for preserving a safe and stable environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At the meeting, members of the BiH Defence Ministry delegation thanked Tanner for the overall help and assistance that the Republic of Austria provides to BiH on the way to European integration, as well as through numerous projects, the most important of which are education of cadets at the prestigious Teresian Military Academy of the Armed Forces of Austria.
They also praised the contribution to the EUFOR mission where Austria plays a leading role, as well as the country's significant assistance in training of members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dealing with surplus weapons and munitions, and other important forms of assistance.
Helez informed Tanner about the most significant activities of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of BiH, with an emphasis on the issue of development and modernization of the BiH Armed Forces, dealing with armaments and munitions, with unpromising military assets, as well as the importance of the NATO “Support Package for Strengthening the Defence and Security Capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina” (DCB), which was approved at the NATO summit in Madrid last year. It’s implementation has begun, the Ministry said, adding that the results are already visible and beneficial for the Armed Forces of BiH.
Interlocutors also discussed Bosnia’s progress on the Euro-Atlantic path, especially in light of the announced meeting of the BiH delegations in Brussels with the highest officials of the European Union, where they will discuss the country’s progress in fulfilling the set conditions and priorities, which could be a good sign for the opening of negotiations for membership.
Minister Tanner praised the efforts and activities carried out by the BiH Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of and said that Austria will remain committed to BiH in the future, not only because of the shared history and friendly relations, but also because of the security challenges that the two countries will face together.
“That's why the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire Western Balkans region into the European Union is an important priority of the Republic of Austria,” Tanner said during the meeting.
In the end, it was concluded that the current level of bilateral defense cooperation is at an enviable level and said that it will be continued in the future for mutual benefit and satisfaction.
In addition to the Minister and Deputies, the delegation of the BiH Ministry included the Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Major General Gojko Knezevic, the Minister's military adviser, Brigadier Muhamed Dautovic, the Minister's Chief of Staff, Salko Beba, and the desk for cooperation with Austria, Violeta Kuljanin.