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Bosnia-Herzegovina Decoration Ceremony (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina)

As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Army House, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Good morning! …  It’s great to be here in the beautiful country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

Minister Cikotic thank you for your strong leadership and for hosting this very special event … I am deeply honored by this recognition. 

And, thanks to the other government leaders and diplomats joining us today.  My wife Dotty and I are grateful for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality you have shown to us during our visit. 

Ambassador English—thanks to you, your wife Betty and your staff for the great job you are doing in the important work of representing the United States of America.

It’s also good to be here with my good friend Ambassador Bisera Turovich, the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. Thank you for all you do for to build the strong relations between the people of our nations.   

It is wonderful to be able to experience firsthand the beauty and rich cultural heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the kindness and welcoming spirit of the Bosnian people. 

Today, the United States and Bosnia share a strong partnership and a warm friendship.  In the U.S., we are fortunate to have many Americans of Bosnian origins living and working in our communities and businesses.  They are contributing to our country in so many ways. 

For more than a decade, Bosnia and Herzogovina and the United States have worked closely together to help your people overcome atrocities suffered during the war.  We’ve worked hard at implementing military and diplomatic aspects of the 1995 Dayton Accords. 

Considerable progress has been made in rebuilding your nation’s infrastructure and military, and in defense reforms.  New opportunities have been made available to Bosnia and Herzegovina through its entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Partnership for Peace Program and its signing of the Stabilization Association Agreement with the European Union. 

It’s important for the political leadership to seize these opportunities to provide a better future for all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The United States supports your country’s endeavor to join NATO and the European Union in the future and we are committed to helping in our shared goal of furthering peace and prosperity in the region.

The United States and Bosnia also share a strong partnership in the global war on terror.  Bosnian troops deployed to Iraq have done an outstanding job … the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, in particular, has helped save countless lives. 

The United States of America is deeply grateful for the many contributions and sacrifices Bosnia is making in support of stability, peace, and freedom around the world.  As I’ve stated in the past, America remains committed to an on-going long-term partnership with your country.

Minister Cikotic, I thank you for this great honor and for your personal friendship.  I look forward to further strengthening the bonds between our two countries in the years ahead. 

Thank you!

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