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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Officials Agree On Uniting Separate Armies

Sarajevo, 26 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Bosnian military and political leaders have reached an agreement on establishing a unified command for the separate armies of Bosnia's two entities, Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. A spokesman, Julian Braithwaite, for Bosnia's top international representative, Paddy Ashdown, today congratulated the Commission for Defense Reform for reaching agreement in negotiations late yesterday. The reform must still be approved by Bosnia's parliament.

Under the agreement, the two armies will have a central command headquarters and will share the same flag and uniform, but will retain some independence. A state-level defense ministry would also be established.

Reforms uniting the two armies are key to securing Bosnia's entry into NATO's Partnership for Peace program, a security arrangement promoting cooperation between the alliance and nonmember countries.

Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation have been administratively divided since the end of Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.