Tegeltija confirmed to the local media that he had received a letter from Dubrovnik Mayor Mate Franković requesting that all preparations for the construction of the Trebinje airport be suspended until the possible impact of the project on the environment, including the River Ombla, was assessed.
In his letter, Franković reminded Tegeltija that Bosnia and Herzegovina, just like Croatia and Serbia as a potential investor, was a signatory to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and that the airport construction should be suspended until it was confirmed that there would be no risk to the source of the River Ombla, which is situated only eight kilometres from the planned construction site.
The airport would be built in highly porous karst terrain.
Tegeltija said he was ready to discuss all unresolved issues with the Croatian government, including its plan to build a nuclear waste facility on Mount Trgovska Gora at Dvor na Uni, near the Bosnian border.
“I do not understand why the mayor of Dubrovnik is not happy about the construction of the airport at Trebinje, given its economic importance not just for Trebinje, but for the whole of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Tegeltija said, avoiding a comment on Dubrovnik’s concern about the possible pollution of the Ombla.
Trebinje Mayor Mirko Ćuk said that Franković should not be interfering in this project. “I am in favour of all conditions being met, but without political interference. It is superfluous to comment on the claim that the construction of the Trebinje airport will affect the source of the river.”
Earlier this week, the Council of Ministers formulated a proposal to open talks with Serbia on a memorandum of understanding for the construction of an airport at Trebinje. The opening of talks requires the approval of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The idea to build the Trebine airport was first floated two years ago by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who said that the project was important for connecting Eastern Herzegovina to Serbia and the region and that it would be fully financed by Belgrade.
The airport would serve a town of barely 30,000 inhabitants and would be situated in a sparsely populated region. There are already three airports within a 50-km radius of Trebinje — at Mostar, Dubrovnik and Tivat.
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