ZAGREB, August 4, 2018 – The chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency Bakir Izetbegović said on Friday it was not his intention to stop the construction of the Pelješac Bridge but to secure a document that would guarantee his country unobstructed access to international waters in the Adriatic Sea.
“We need a piece of paper defining the border and an international corridor to the open sea. This can also be accomplished after the bridge has been built,” Izetbegović told a press conference on Mount Igman overlooking Sarajevo.
Izetbegović said that Bosnia and Herzegovina was now facing “a long game of chess” with Croatia to secure its interests. He added that this did not mean stopping the construction of the bridge or taking any steps that would harm Croatia’s interests.
Unlike Bosnian Serb and Croat politicians, Bosniak politicians led by Izetbegović have been opposed to the construction of the Pelješac Bridge for quite some time, threatening legal action. They tie this project to border demarcation and the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s access to the open sea.
The Serb member of the presidency Mladen Ivanić and the head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said on Friday they saw nothing disputable about Croatia building the bridge and that this project should not be connected with border demarcation between the two countries.
Wigemark called on the Bosnian authorities to solve the border demarcation issue through dialogue with Croatia. He dismissed Izetbegovic’s claims that the EU’s decision to co-fund the bridge construction was the result of Croatia’s lobbying.