The foreign ministers of NATO’s member states have gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, for a two-day meeting during which they are set to discuss when the alliance should extend a Membership Action Plan to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The informal meeting of foreign ministers will cover a variety of issues in addition to the question of Bosnia’s accession to the MAP, including the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, talks on a new Strategic Concept for the alliance, as well as NATO’s nuclear policy.
The Membership Action Plan is a key stepping stone towards full membership in NATO, and Bosnia has failed to join the plan in the past because of a lack of progress on required reforms. The MAP is a programme of advice and support specific to the country wishing to join NATO, and serves as a means to monitor the progress of the country and provide feedback on reforms.
The alliance has indicated that Bosnia’s future membership is not under question, but rather the date of its accession to MAP and eventual full membership has not yet been determined.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, when presenting the programme for the meeting, noted that: “it is not a matter of if, but when. The when is what Ministers will discuss in Tallinn.
“The place and future of Bosnia-Herzegovina is in the Euro-Atlantic structures,” he added.
Montenegro was accepted into the MAP programme in December last year, while Croatia and Albania became full members of the alliance in April 2009.