Stoltenberg: Schmidt's role in BiH should not be undermined

The role of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt for the security of the region is very important and should not be undermined, it will set Bosnia and Herzegovina back, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the meeting with Schmidt.

Schmidt spoke briefly, stating that the NATO Secretary General's visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina is extremely important, N1 reported.

"Cooperation between the Dayton institutions, NATO and all who protect security in Bosnia and Herzegovina is important. We must restore confidence in the rule of law. This is our joint work, as well as that of the local politicians. We are working on it and we need the support of the EU and NATO," Schmidt said.

"We support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH. We want to see a peaceful state in the heart of a stable region," added Stoltenberg.

After the conversation with Schmidt, Stoltenberg says that NATO "cannot and will not allow a security vacuum in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

"NATO has a history of presence in BiH and a history of cooperation with the Office of the High Representative. The efforts of the High Representative are vital for unity and reconciliation. Any attempt to undermine your position is taking Bosnia and Herzegovina back, not forward," the NATO leader said.

Stoltenberg is referring to Republika Srpska's efforts to portray the high representative as illegitimate.

Stoltenberg thanked Schmidt for "his important work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and his commitment to stability in the region."

The NATO Secretary General, in addition to Schmidt, met today with the delegation of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and last night held a working dinner with the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is planned that he will also visit the NATO base in Butmir today. /BGNES