NATO gives Bosnia green light to advance on membership path

NATO gives Bosnia green light to advance on membership path
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, speaks with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, and Croatian Foreign Minister Majija Pejcinovic Buric, right, during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and the Balkans at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO has given Bosnia-Herzegovina the green light to take a major step forward on its path toward joining the world’s biggest military alliance, despite Bosnian Serb objections to membership.

NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels Wednesday, invited the ethnically-divided Balkans country to submit its first annual program of reforms aimed at bringing it into line with the alliance’s standards.

The move is part of NATO’s Membership Action Plan, or MAP, process, which helps aspiring countries prepare for membership. It doesn’t mean that Bosnia will join anytime soon, and it’s unclear whether Sarajevo will accept the MAP invitation.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We made our decision. We are ready to receive their annual national program. But let them decide and we are ready if they are ready.”