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Ambassador Dr Andrej Benedejčič took part in the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ambassador Dr Andrej Benedejčič, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to NATO, took part in the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1-2 February 2024. Led by Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană, Allied Ambassadors and Invitee Sweden met with members of the Presidency, the Chairwoman and members of the Council of Ministers, the Foreign and Defence Ministers as well as members of the Collegium of House of Peoples and the House of Representatives of BiH. The programme included discussions with international community actors and civil society.

The NAC visit, which took place for the first time since 2010, confirmed the strategic importance that NATO and its Allies, including Slovenia, attach to security and stability in the Western Balkans and BiH. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long-standing NATO partner and an aspirant country. At the forefront of the talks was the situation in BiH, including in the context of the current geopolitical environment, the reform efforts and possibilities for further cooperation with NATO.

NATO and its Allies expressed firm commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH, as well as to supporting the country's ongoing reform efforts, including through NATO's Defence Capacity Building Package (DCB package). They expressed willingness to deepen practical cooperation and political dialogue with BiH and called on all key actors in BiH to refrain from divisive rhetoric and actions that are not in favour of the stability and progress of BiH.

Ambassador Dr Andrej Benedejčič, Slovenia's Permanent Representative to NATO, underscored the friendly relations between the two countries and voiced strong support for BiH's EU and Euro-Atlantic paths. In addressing the political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he called for constructive cooperation and further reform achievements in view of the strategic opportunity presented by the possibility of opening the EU accession negotiations. He highlighted the contribution of Slovenia to the DCB package for BiH in the field of military police as well as Slovenia's participation in EUFOR Althea operation and the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo. On this occasion, he thanked Bosnia and Herzegovina for the assistance it offered to Slovenia following the August floods.

During the second day of the visit, Ambassador Dr Benedejčič participated in a panel discussion with students and members of the University of Sarajevo on the topic of NATO-BiH relations.

Members of the North Atlantic Council also participated in an exchange with the Atlantic Initiative think tank and visited BiH Rajlovac military base, where they were informed about the implementation of the DCB package for BiH.

Ambassador Dr Benedejčič also met with Slovenian representatives serving in NATO Headquarters Sarajevo and EUFOR Althea, conveying gratitude for their service.

The visit concluded with a meeting with the Commander of the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, the Commander of the European Union forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Head of the EU and OSCE missions.