Despite the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina being worrying, it is a political issue, not a security crisis, British envoy to the Western Balkans Stuart Peach told Hina news agency, adding that Russia's war in Ukraine is a "challenge" that must not spill over in the Balkans.
While stressing that the situation in BiH is a political, not a security issue, Peach welcomed the recent increase in the number of EUFOR troops in BiH from 600 to 1,100. He called it a “visible demonstration of presence.”
“The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is worrying. Of course, it is a political situation, a political issue, not a security crisis. We have to work together to prevent that from happening,” Peach said.
the former senior commander of the British Air Force and former chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Peach was appointed British envoy to the Western Balkans in December 2021.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently a potential candidate for EU membership, while neighbouring Serbia has been in accession talks with the EU for eight years, but with reforms to bring the country closer to the Union, Belgrade's relations with Pristina will be key he said.
However, Peach pointed out that the United Kingdom “encourages all governments in the region on their Euro-Atlantic path and the path towards the EU because they think it provides the best hope for the people in the region for a better future, free from war.”
“We respect if the countries in the region do not want to join NATO, but those who want to should get that opportunity,” Peach said, adding that the same goes for joining the EU.