On Monday, a demonstration of support for Bosnia’s unity against the growing separatist policies of Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik will occur as two U.S. fighter jets fly over the country.
The U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons will engage in joint air-to-ground training alongside American and Bosnian forces. These flights are scheduled over the eastern town of Tuzla and northern Brcko, as confirmed by the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.
This bilateral training is hailed as an example of advanced military cooperation that contributes to peace and security in the Western Balkans. The U.S. Embassy reiterates the United States’ commitment to safeguarding Bosnia-Herzegovina’s territorial integrity amidst increasing secessionist activities.
The statement underscores that the BiH Constitution does not grant the right to secession and pledges action against any attempts to modify this fundamental aspect, which is a pivotal element of the Dayton peace agreements that ended the 1992-1995 conflict in the country.
The ethnic conflict of the 1990s stemmed from Bosnian Serbs’ desire to establish an independent state aligned with Serbia. This conflict was resolved through a U.S.-brokered peace accord that established Serb and Bosniak-Croat entities, unified by joint institutions, and concluded a conflict resulting in the loss of over 100,000 lives.
Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb entity Republika Srpska, has challenged U.S. and British sanctions while advocating for the separation of the Serb-run region from Bosnia, with backing from Russia.
Despite the U.S. jets’ flyover, Dodik plans to celebrate on Tuesday a contentious national holiday declared unlawful by Bosnia’s top court. This holiday marks the 1992 declaration by Bosnian Serbs of an independent state within Bosnia, preceding the conflict.
The U.S. Embassy has disclosed that a KC-135 Stratotanker will support the mission by providing aerial refueling for the F-16s. Highlighting U.S. military capabilities, the statement emphasizes the ability to rapidly deploy, engage, and return, showcasing readiness to operate alongside allies and partners.
In light of concerns about potential Russian intervention in the Balkans to divert attention from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy reaffirms Bosnia and Herzegovina’s significance as a key partner in ensuring regional stability.
Bosnia’s aspirations to join the European Union face obstacles due to internal divisions and slow reform despite active efforts to seek entry into the EU.