Reinertsen: Stoltenberg is carefully monitoring situation in the Western Balkans, especially in BiH

The announcement of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, although not yet confirmed, is another confirmation that he is carefully monitoring the situation in the Western Balkans, especially in BiH, said today in Sarajevo Norwegian Ambassador to BiH Olav Reinertsen, whose country is NATO Contact Point Embassy in BiH.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day conference on NATO’s security challenges, which the Norwegian Embassy organized together with the Atlantic Initiative, he announced that “absolutely everything” will be discussed in the next two days.

”We will discuss the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also the security situation on our continent, especially after the brutal Russian invasion and aggression against Ukraine,” he said.

Regarding the security of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said that NATO is currently focused on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it also applies to all allies.

He reminded that last year NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg defined which countries deserve special attention. Together with BiH, he defined Georgia and Moldova, especially after the brutal Russian aggression.

Asked about the announcement of a possible visit by Stoltenberg, also a Norwegian, to BiH this month, Reinertsen said that the NATO Secretary General is carefully monitoring the situation in the Western Balkans, especially in BiH.

”I see that there are some announcements about his visit. This has not been definitively confirmed, but I also know that he shows great interest in visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is ultimately a member of the Partnership for Peace program. But I think that such an announcement is another confirmation of his and NATO’s commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said.

President of the Atlantic Initiative, Edina Bećirović, announced that today, for the first time, the results of the research conducted by the Atlantic Initiative will be presented.

”It is interesting that the findings of these studies largely do not coincide with the political discourse. The discourse at the political level is intertwined with various conflicts. In public discourse, those who speak about NATO speak as if they were speaking on behalf of everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, our research told a different story and we see room for dialogue,” she said.

Sead Turčalo, vice-president of the Atlantic Initiative, added that the research was conducted on a representative sample throughout BiH and the results do not reflect the attitude that someone is against NATO in advance, that NATO cannot be discussed.

So, for example, when asked whether their strategic choice would be Russia and China or NATO, half of the respondents from Republika Srpska opted for NATO or were undecided about that choice, which is the opposite of the dominant perception.