UK appoints a Special Envoy for the Western Balkans
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has appointed a Special Envoy to the Western Balkans as part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to stability and prosperity in the region. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has been appointed Special Envoy to the Western Balkans. Sir Stuart Peach will take on the role after stepping down as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee earlier this year, a role he held since 2018. He also formerly served as the UK Chief of the Defence Staff.
As the PM’s Special Envoy, Sir Stuart will work with Western Balkans leaders, others across the region and UK 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 organised crime and other joint security challenges, and encouraging resolution of legacy issues such as War Crimes and Missing Persons. 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, the UK Government explained in a press statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “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. Sir Stuart’s extensive experience and expertise will reinforce international efforts to protect peace and promote Euro-Atlantic integration in this crucial region.”
Sir Stuart is an experienced military officer. He was the 32nd Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); the most senior and longest standing military structure in the Alliance. His operational services includes Belize, Hong Kong and Germany in the 1980s. After several staff tours he was Air Commander (Forward) in HQ KFOR (NATO) in Kosovo and was Deputy Senior British Military Adviser in US HQ Central Command 2001-2002. He was Chief of the Defence Staff from July 2016 to June 2018 and assumed the role of Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO in June 2018, his fourth four-star appointment.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that “Sir Stuart’s appointment is a clear demonstration of Britain’s commitment to the Western Balkans and to the defence and promotion of freedom and democracy in the region.”
Welcome news of increased Flag of United Kingdom engagement both in Flag of Kosovo and the wider region, wrote UK Ambassador to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott.
The political situation in the Western Balkans was discussed at the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Riga, and will be on the agenda at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Liverpool, which was announced earlier this week.