The Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) has no objections to Bosnia’s cooperating with NATO as long as that cooperation does not lead towards Bosnia’s membership, the spokesperson of the ruling Bosnian Serb party said on Saturday.
NATO remains unpopular with Serbs in both Serbia and Republika Srpska since the alliance launched airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and against the Serbian military in 1999 during the conflict between Belgrade and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Despite the resentment, the SNSD once supported Bosnia’s NATO aspirations but changed its mind and is now strongly opposed to Bosnia becoming part of the military alliance.
The parliament of the Bosnian Serb semi-autonomous entity within the country, Republika Srpska (RS), has in 2017 adopted a Resolution on Military Neutrality, in line with neighbouring Serbia. The SNSD spokesperson, Radovan Kovacevic, said on Saturday that his party, which is both the ruling party in the RS and represents Serb at the state level, will stick to the Resolution.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has already been cooperating with NATO through the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is expiring in December this year,” Kovacevic said.
“Our position is clear - we have nothing against cooperation with NATO, but we think that that cooperation should not go towards us becoming a NATO member country,” he said.
The SNSD proposes that Bosnia continues cooperating with NATO through the Individual Partnership Action Plan, IPAP, but that the agreement must emphasise that this does not imply activating the Membership Action Plan, MAP - the last step towards NATO membership - he said.
“That is the SNSD proposal and the type of cooperation that is acceptable for the SNSD. It implies that cooperation with NATO remains at the level at which the Republic of Serbia is currently cooperating with NATO, and we don’t have a problem with that,” he said.