Bosnia would be welcomed into NATO: Rasmussen

10:59, March 24, 2010      

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed on Tuesday that the military alliance would welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina into its ranks, but added that the process came with conditions.

Rasmussen, along with the ambassadors of NATO member states in Bosnia, met in Sarajevo with the collective presidency of Bosnia to discuss NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP).

Earlier this month, NATO allies agreed to grant Bosnia participation in MAP, once progress on necessary reforms had begun.

Rasmussen addressing reporters at a press conference said: "The door was open" and that NATO was prepared to assist Bosnia on the path toward full membership.

However, a number of issues, not related directly to security questions, needed to be resolved before the Balkan country would be able to participate in the pre-membership process.

Rasmussen said institutional reform and respect for human rights were also of significant interest to NATO.

Haris Silajdzic, representing the presidency, said Bosnia had on the eve of the meeting with the NATO chief decided to destroy surplus arms and munitions.

He also said that the sending of Bosnian troops to Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would be on the next agenda of the presidency. A decision on whether to admit Bosnia into MAP is anticipated during the NATO ministers of defense meeting scheduled for April 22 in Tallinn, Estonia.

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