The UK has underlined its support for the integrity of the Bosnian state during a meeting today between defence ministers from both countries.
UK Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, hosted the Minister of Defence for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Zukan Helez and Deputy Minister Slaven Galić in London to discuss bilateral defence relations and the current security situation in country.
Minister Heappey made clear the UK is committed to supporting the defence reforms and the continued development of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as backing BiH’s ambition for Euro-Atlantic accession.
Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said:
It was a pleasure to welcome Minister Helez to London today following our meeting in Sarajevo in May, building on our combined work to strengthen our bilateral defence relations.
I shared my concerns regarding the developing situation in Bosnia, making clear the UK fully supports the unity and integrity of the Bosnia and Herzegovina state
The ministers discussed a range of issues including the UK and BiH’s bilateral defence relationship, with both ministers expressing an interest to further deepen defence engagement.
During his visit to the UK, Minister Helez attended the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition and was also hosted by Lord Peach, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, in Parliament’s House of Lords.
The UK will continue to work closely with international partners to secure the European Union Force’s (EUFOR) mandate renewal in the UN and our Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, Lord Peach, recently issued a statement confirming the UK’s support for the High Representative. That came after the Prime Minister hosted BiH Presidency member, Dr Denis Bećirović, in July to underline the UK’s support.
The UK also supports Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH), including through joint training, and the provision of military equipment including live fire targets, urban training facilities, search and rescue gear; as well as the exchange of expertise.
Personnel from 1 Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment of the British Army will also be deploying to BiH in October to train alongside AFBiH personnel .
This will help to build the overall capability of the AFBiH and their ability to operate alongside other international forces. More than ever in the wake of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, these kinds of defence and security partnerships help to underpin the stability and security of a sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina.