The Presidency of BiH adopted the Strategy of the Foreign Policy of BiH for the period 2018-2023. This strategy provides guidelines for foreign policy on the basis of changes on a global, regional and local level. The strategy should determine a broad framework and guidelines for the work of relevant institutions of BiH in the domain of foreign policy. The pillars of the foreign policy of BiH are security and stability, economic prosperity, the protection of interests of citizens of BiH abroad and international legal cooperation and promotion of BiH in the world. These are based on the global, regional and local changes, the analysis of the current position of BiH in Europe and the world, as well as on political consensus on the future of BiH in international relations. Full membership in the European Union is one of the main strategic goals of the country. BiH, as a signatory of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union and as a country that submitted a request for membership in the EU and responded to the European Commission’s Questionnaire, is striving to obtain candidate status as soon as possible. The continuation of activities in relation to NATO still represents the priority of BH institutions. Priority activities will be directed towards the activation and implementation of the MAP that will enable all subjects of defense in BiH to continue with activities in relation to NATO.
The NATO Security and Defense Committee adopted reports on work and state of affairs in the administrative areas within the competence of the Ministry of Defense and the situation in the Army of Montenegro (VCG) for the past year and submitted them to parliament. The report assessed that the admission of Montenegro to NATO represents recognition of the achieved level of defense system reform and achievement of one of Montenegro’s foreign policy goals.
The Board noted that VCG had achieved a significant degree of operational capability and interoperability, considering that a successful NATO integration process and the declaration of the forces for future engagement in international missions and operations resulted from the significant effort of the Army during 2017. The committee supported activities to overcome challenges that adversely affect the readiness of the Army, such as the lack of armored fighting vehicles for infantry units and military bases for exercising tactical units and firing with large caliber weapons.
Three NATO ships in the Black Sea are visiting Bourgas, in Bulgaria, from February 9 to 11. NATO’s Allied Maritime Command announced that these ships “are conducting a routine port visit to Bourgas as part of Nato’s increased presence in the Black Sea region to support national sovereignty through collective defense”.
In view of the participation of members of the Army of Montenegro in the KFOR mission in Kosovo, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin urged Montenegro not to send officers to because it did not ask Serbia for permission, and it would not help dialogue or stabilization in the region, nor improve relations with the state of Serbia. Vulin also reminded Montenegrin authorities that Kosovo and Metohija are part of the state of Serbia under UN Resolution 1244. Military analyst Aleksandar Radic stated that the participation in the KFOR mission in Kosovo would not be a problem in relations between Montenegro and Serbia and that Montenegro commits to participate in international missions due to the alliance with NATO.
The “secret-defense” occupies a central place in the French democracy: 400,000 people authorized in the state apparatus in 2017, 4,000 security officers in companies and administrations, 5 million classified documents and parsimonious access imposed on historical archives. It will be reformed by the end of 2019, announced the General Secretariat for Defense and National Security. This body dependent on the Prime Minister publishes his second report on the subject hoping to make “the pedagogy to Parliament and opinion”. Interdepartmental dialogue is underway to meet two priorities: “Facilitate data exchanges with allied countries by aligning classification levels” and “Improve the protection of classified information in the face of the cyber threat”. The leading allies of France, have equivalent classifications and the reform will aim to facilitate bilateral intelligence exchanges, but also in NATO and in the European Union, which have enacted common frameworks.
Of the three levels of classification – “confidential defense”, “secret defense” and “very secret defense” – only the last two will remain. In fact, the vast majority of information, classified “confidential defense” will be integrated at the top level “secret defense”. Most of the operational documents (military operations, encryption, cyber operations), as well as research data presenting a proliferation risk for weapons of mass destruction and the information of nuclear deterrence, are included in the highest classification. The government is also “thinking” about a way to facilitate access to historical archives, with a semi-automated opening system when prescription dates (50 years or 100 years depending on the case) are reached.
KFOR commander General Salvatore Cuoci said that NATO does not intend to reduce the presence of its peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. On Sunday he also said that “the overall situation in Kosovo is stable and peaceful despite the recent events in the north”, a reference to the recent murder of Oliver Ivanovic. Concerning the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into an army, Cuoci said that this should be implemented “through constitutional changes”.
NATO Director of Defense Planning Paul Savereux has praised Montenegro for the progress it has made in contributing to the achievement of the common goals established for collective security. The Director for Montenegrin Defense Policy, Ivica Ivanović, has reiterated how Montenegro’s membership works as an incentive for other states in the region to carry out the necessary reforms in the path of integration within NATO Alliance.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg starts a two-day visit to Skopje, and met for a working dinner with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Tomorrow Stoltenberg will have a series of relevant meetings among which: President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Zaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Sekerinska. On Monday, this last declared that NATO Secretary General’s visit to Macedonia means that the country has returned on Euro-Atlantic track.
The Macedonian, Bulgarian Defense Ministers and Albanian Deputy DM, Radmila Sekerinska, Krasimir Karakachanov and Petro Kochi respectively, discussed Friday in Ohrid on possibilities for fostering the cooperation in the sphere of defense.Today we have expressed political will to strengthen our cooperation in defense and our teams will begin to prepare plans for 2018, Sekerinska said after the meeting, which ‘voiced strong support for the Alliance’s open door policy and Macedonia’s full-fledged NATO membership.’ The closer cooperation between Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania doesn’t cover only the economic cooperation with respect to Corridor 8, but may also be extended to the sphere of defense, Karakachanov said.Kochi said that Albania and Bulgaria would be staunch advocates for Macedonia to join NATO as soon as possible, as the membership status is significant not only to the citizens of the country, but also to the region as a whole.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met with Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban at the sidelines of the Summit of Heads of Government of Central and Eastern European Countries and China in Budapest on Tuesday. Zaev thanked Orban for Hungary’s support to Macedonia’s efforts on the EU and NATO path, the Government said in a press release. The PM presented Plan 3-6-9 and the country’s steps for improvement of the economy and attraction of foreign investments. PM Zaev also highlighted the need for cooperation with the opposition on all issues related to Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.According to him, economic cooperation is on the rise and Hungary would continue to stimulate its companies to invest in the Western Balkans. Furthermore, Orban said next year’s Bulgarian EU Presidency should be utilized for intensification of the Western Balkans’ EU integration process, reads the press release.