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NATO Chief Reiterates Alliance's Commitment To Bosnia

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a visit to Sarajevo on Wednesday expressed condolences for the lives lost in the recent devastating floods that hit Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"My thoughts are with the families and communities affected," the NATO Secretary General said. "We stand ready to help in any way we can if requested."

Incidentally, NATO's disaster response coordination center has already received requests for help from Bosnia.

Rasmussen stressed Wednesday that many allies and partners are responding by sending helicopters, emergency response teams, boats, drinking water, food, shelter and funds. NATO is also in close contact with the European Union to see where the Alliance can be of further assistance.

In Sarajevo for long-planned talks with senior political leaders, Rasmussen said NATO remains committed to the future of the Western Balkans.

"Your security, your stability and your future matter to us," he said.

Rasmussen met the Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic and other members of the Presidency, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda, Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zlatko Lagumdzija, Defense Minister Zekerijah Osmic and leaders of the country's political parties.

"We count on you to show the unity, leadership and political courage needed to move forward in your commitment to Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the same qualities that are needed today in dealing with this terrible natural disaster. And rest assured that you can continue to count on NATO's support," the NATO Secretary General said.

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