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Minister Nusrat Ghani is embarking on her first visit to the Western Balkans amid growing threats to regional peace and stability. Her trip includes visits to Serbia and

Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a focus on promoting peace and reconciliation.

Minister Ghani will be the first UK minister to meet with the new Serbian government, where she will highlight the increasing trade between the UK and Serbia and their cooperation in combating illegal migration. She will also encourage Serbia to take a constructive approach towards fostering peace and reconciliation with its neighbors.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Minister Ghani will reaffirm the UK's support for the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially in light of ongoing secessionist activities.

With escalating risks of instability and external political interference in the Western Balkans, Minister Ghani's visit underscores the UK's commitment to strengthening relationships in the region. The ongoing war in Ukraine has highlighted the fragility of European security, prompting Minister Ghani to urge the leadership in both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to work towards a stable and prosperous future.

Ahead of her visit, Minister Ghani stated:

“The Western Balkans has seen its share of conflict and insecurity. We cannot allow hard-won peace to be put at risk. Countries like Russia are actively seeking to capitalise on divisions to destabilise the region for their own objectives.

That’s why the UK is providing long-term investment for the region – growing our trading links, standing up for sovereignty and forging closer security partnerships to crack down on organised crime groups.

A stable and prosperous Western Balkans is vital to our economic prosperity and collective security”.

In her meetings with senior officials from the new Serbian government, Minister Ghani will celebrate the milestone of UK-Serbia trade reaching £1 billion annually. She will commend Serbia's efforts to address organized immigration crime, following the partnership established with the UK at the European Political Community meeting last October. Minister Ghani will also stress the importance of Serbia playing a constructive role in improving relations with its neighbors, particularly through the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue.

In Sarajevo, Minister Ghani will highlight the opportunities ahead for Bosnia and Herzegovina and encourage its leaders to focus on key reforms aligned with the country's Euro-Atlantic aspirations. She will reaffirm the UK's strong support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemning any secessionist rhetoric and actions that violate the country's constitution. The Minister will emphasize that the UK will continue to take action against those who seek to destabilize the country, as evidenced by recent UK sanctions. Photo by Chris McAndrew, Wikimedia commons.