Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces Day

Article excerpt

As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Washington, DC, Thursday, November 30, 2006

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces Day Bosnian Embassy Washington, DC 30 November 2006

Thanks you.... My good friend, Bisera, Colonel Sinisa ... Distinguished Guests ... Good evening! It is a privilege and honor to join you this evening to celebrate Bosnia and Herzegovina's Armed Forces Day!

To the leadership, to the Armed Forces, to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina--warmest congratulations on the Riga Summit invitation to join NATO's Partnership for Peace program! This is a most welcome recognition of remarkable progress to date.

This month also marks the 11th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords--the landmark negotiations that gave birth to the modern state of Bosnia and Herzegovina--and introduced full sovereignty, peace, reconciliation, and great hope for the future.

The Ambassador has just described the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina's defense reform so far--and it is an extraordinary success story! The country is now blessed with a single, unified Ministry of Defense and a single Unified Armed Forces under full civilian control, and progress is being made toward a truly integrated force structure.

The greatest challenge for Bosnia's newly elected leaders will be to consolidate these important transformations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has made a great start--but there is still a lot of hard work ahead, and it is important to keep up the momentum.

In the United States, it was the American Armed Forces that boldly led the way to integration--and laid the groundwork for giving Americans of all ethnic backgrounds and in all walks of life equal access and opportunity. Today, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Unified Armed Forces are also leading the way toward integration--including providing the nation's first national holiday! …