NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern on Monday about the “secessionist rhetoric” in Bosnia, along with foreign interference, notably from Russia. During his initial stop on the Western Balkans tour in Sarajevo, Stoltenberg highlighted the issue, citing Milorad Dodik, the Bosnian Serb separatist leader, and his repeated declarations of the autonomous Serb Republic’s intention to secede and align with Serbia.
Stoltenberg emphasized that such rhetoric undermines stability and impedes reform, stressing the importance of political leaders working collectively to preserve unity, establish national institutions, and foster reconciliation. Bosnia and Herzegovina, nearly three decades after the devastating 1992-1995 war that claimed 100,000 lives, continues to grapple with division, economic stagnation, and widespread emigration.
NATO has consistently cautioned against the risks of foreign interference in Bosnia, particularly from Russia. Stoltenberg affirmed NATO’s commitment to supporting Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic path, asserting every country’s right to choose its security arrangements free from external interference. This statement followed Stoltenberg’s meeting with Borjana Kristo, the chairwoman of Bosnia’s Council of Ministers.