Bosnian Croat Leader Criticises Meeting Between Bosniak, Serbian and Turkish Leaders

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 30, 2018 – The Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Dragan Čović, who is the leader of Bosnian Croats, on Monday criticised the trilateral meeting that his Bosniak colleague Bakir Izetbegović held with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bosnian Serb entity president Milorad Dodik was also unhappy about the meeting.

Izetbegović, Vučić and Erdogan met in Istanbul earlier on Monday to discuss relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and a possible construction of a highway that would connect Belgrade and Sarajevo with the financial support of Turkey.

Čović and Dodik made separate statements to the press, claiming that Izetbegović travelled to Turkey without consulting anyone in the country.

Dodik said Izetbegović’s meeting with Erdogan and Vučić was “a dangerous precedent”, claiming that Izetbegović attempted to present himself as someone who spoke on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina, although he was not authorised to do so.

Vučić responded to that saying that Izetbegović insisted in Istanbul that he was only a Bosniak member of the Bosnian presidency, stressing that these talks can be useful for relations between the two country. He said that his meeting with Erdogan and Izetbegović was “good and open”, reiterating that Serbia respects Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity and expects Bosniaks to make sure Serbs in the Serb entity and elsewhere in the country feel safe.

“We have agreed that whatever happens and however it happens – peace and stability must be preserved,” Vučić told the Serbian public broadcaster RTS after the trilateral meeting in Istanbul.

Stressing that he and Izetbegovic talked primarily about overall relations between Serbs and Bosniaks, relations within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and relations between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vučić said that lasting peace and safety for all were of the utmost importance. “I’m confident that with joint efforts we will manage to ensure a lasting peace for the Serb people as well as for Bosniaks and Croats and all other people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Vučić.

He noted that Serbia respected the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Dayton peace agreement and in return wanted Bosniaks to make sure Serbs in the Serb entity and elsewhere in the country felt safe. “We don’t want to undermine your territorial integrity and we ask of you to have the same attitude to Republika Srpska which under the Dayton agreement is an entity created in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the Serbian president said, noting that “the situation is clear” in that regard.

Along with relations that have an effect on regional peace and stability, also discussed at the meeting in Istanbul were joint infrastructure projects that could contribute to the economic development of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Commenting on a recent visit by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to Istanbul, Vučić thanked Erdogan and said he was always willing to respond to an invitation to talks. “I don’t see any problem in people other than people from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina looking after their own interests in the Balkans,” he said.


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