Co-operation between the two countries' militaries is crucial for bilateral relations, as well as for anti-terrorism efforts, one expert said.
By Ivana Jovanovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 17/10/13
The BiH and Serbia militaries will collaborate on anti-terrorism plans. [AFP]
Co-operation between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia's militaries on anti-terrorism, education and building citizens' trust will help to establish peace and security in the region, officials said.
Chief of the BiH Defence Forces Joint Staff Major General Ante Jelec, and Chief of the Serbian Army General Staff General Ljubisa Dikovic discussed ways to co-operate last month in a meeting in Sarajevo.
"Military co-operation is necessary in order to solve all the important issues, establish better understanding and improve overall relations," Dikovic said. BiH and Serbia defence forces have the capacities to train and specialise the staff, control and store the ordinance and achieve co-operation in military-medical assistance, he added.
Joint projects in the field of anti-terrorism will be based on local legal framework, allowing both countries to engage their armed forces to support and help international efforts in accordance with bilateral adopted principles and plans.
According to Milan Mijalkovski, a professor at the Serbian Faculty for Security, the collaboration is crucial for anti-terrorism efforts.
"This kind of co-operation is the most important model of conflict prevention since it gives confidence to the citizens. When citizens see that their army is co-operating with a country that it was at war with before, they'll be able to boost the will for peace and stability with the other side's citizens as well," Mijalkovski told SETimes.
He added that the co-operation is also crucial for disrupting extremist ideas.
"This is the sign that both countries are ready to fight against terrorism signals in the region, and to be a part of international efforts against it as well," Milajkovski said.
Another main topic at the meeting was the education of BiH armed forces members at military institutions in Serbia.
"Until now, BiH has been sending officers for training at the levels of command headquarters and general staff. It was noted that there is interest for education on the level of primary faculty studies, so it was agreed that expert delegation of BiH defence ministry is going to visit the Military Academy in Belgrade in order to discuss opportunities for education," the ministry told SETimes in a statement.
Dikovic and Jelec emphasised that the ministries and armies of two countries will intensively work on boosting co-operation, including assisting civilian authorities in natural and other disasters, according to Uma Sinanovic, head of public relations at the BiH Defence Ministry.
She stressed that past co-operation by the two countries, their defence ministries and armed forces has been successful.
Jelec sees additional opportunities.
"The recent training provided by the Serbian Army has achieved good results and has created a precondition for joint action, maybe in United Nations missions," Jelec said after the meeting.
How effective do you believe that BiH and Serbia's co-operative anti-terror efforts will be? Tell us your thoughts below.