Russian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Petr Ivantsov has said that Russia is against BiH's possible NATO entry as that would cause "a new line of division in Europe."
In an interview with Sarajevo's "Oslobodjenje" daily of Wednesday, he said that for BiH it was sufficient that it was a member of the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council of Europe, and that it was heading for European Union membership. He said NATO membership would not contribute to the country's stability.
"I don't believe it can happen that one of the neighbouring states may threaten the stability and security of BiH," he was quoted as saying, adding that he did not see any possibility of an outside danger to BiH.
He said the assumption that Russia might threaten BiH's stability was "ridiculous". He suggested that instead of with NATO, BiH should cooperate with Russia when faced with natural disasters. He said the Serbian-Russian emergency aid centre set up in Nis, Serbia would be perfect for that.
Ivantsov said that BiH, by possibly joining NATO, risked being dragged into armed conflicts.
BiH is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace programme and hopes to get the green light for activating a Membership Action Plan, the last step before NATO accession, by a NATO summit in Warsaw in the summer.