UK appoints senior military officer as special envoy to Western Balkans

NEWS 02.12.2021 13:11
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Source: Tatyana ZENKOVICH / POOL / AFP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Sir Stuart Peach, the former UK Chief of the Defence Staff, as his government's special envoy to the Western Balkans, the Foreign Office announced in a press release on Thursday.

The appointment is confirmation of the UK’s ongoing commitment to stability and prosperity in the region.

“As the PM’s Special Envoy, Sir Stuart will work with Western Balkans leaders, others across the region and our allies in the US and Europe to support and strengthen regional stability. His work will also involve promoting strong democratic institutions and open societies, helping to tackle serious and organized crime and other joint security challenges, and encouraging resolution of legacy issues such as War Crimes and Missing Persons,” the Foreign Office said.

“In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sir Stuart’s work will support that of the international High Representative, Christian Schmidt, who continues to have the full support of the UK. On Serbia and Kosovo, he will work with our partners in support of the EU-facilitated Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue,” it added.

The High Representative has warned that Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently facing the greatest existential threat in its post-war period, and that there is a real prospect of further division and conflict, the Foreign Office said.

“The UK is deeply committed to European security. The Western Balkans are experiencing the biggest threat to their stability and security in over two decades. We have a responsibility to do all we can to preserve the gains achieved through peace and dialogue – we cannot allow any return to the violence and division of the past,” Prime Minister Johnson said.

The United Kingdom did not have a special envoy to the Western Balkans until now. Sir Stuart Peach is the UK’s Air Chief Marshal, and earlier this year he completed his term as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.

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