In a conversation with the Commander of the US Armed Forces Europe Command (USEUCOM), Colonel General Christopher G. Cavoli and General Senad Masovic on Friday presented the preparations of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina so far regarding the implementation of NATO military exercise.
He also informed him about the situation in BiH and the activities of the Armed Forces BiH during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as the assistance of the BiH Armed Forces to the civilian population and institutions in BiH in the fight against the spread of the pandemic.
During the talks, strong support was expressed by the US Armed Forces to the BiH Armed Forces in order to further develop and strengthen the capabilities of the AF BiH, and strengthen the interoperability and compatibility of the AF BiH in accordance with NATO standards.
Also, General Cavoli expressed readiness to continue the successful cooperation so far, and the US assistance and support to Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and full membership in NATO. In this regard, the possibility of General Cavoli’s visit to the Joint Staff of the AF BiH was announced in order to discuss the possibilities of new types of cooperation.
Exercise “Immediate Response 21” is planned to be realized next year, in addition to four more exercises organized by the US Armed Forces Command for Europe (USEUCOM). The participating countries are: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania (as host countries), then the USA, Greece, Northern Macedonia, Slovenia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Armed Forces of BiH will host one part of the exercise, and so far, the Initial and Main Planning Conference have been realized within the preparations.
The participation of the Armed Forces of BiH has been approved by the Presidency of BiH, and only the Armed Forces of BiH and the Armed Forces of the United States will participate in the exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The arrival of the USAREUR Team (Ground Forces Command of the US Armed Forces for Europe) is also expected to get acquainted with the preparations for the exercise.
The military exercise on Manjaca near Banja Luka, in which 800 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina are participating under the watchful eye of NATO assessors, represents a potential epidemiological bomb for the entire country, said SDS Executive Board member Sasa Lovric, N1 reports.
At a press conference in Banja Luka, Lovric asked why the decision of the entity headquarters to ban the gathering of more than 50 people indoors and outdoors is not respected in this case.
He said that a part of NATO countries did not send their evaluators to this exercise “so as not to expose their citizens to the risk of infection”.
A member of the SDS Banja Luka City Board, Daniel Jakovljevic, appealed to those responsible to take the only reasonable measures, and that is to stop the exercise on Manjaca immediately and to test all members of the armed forces for the virus before returning to their homes and families.