Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to delay the construction of the Pelješac Bridge.
The Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bakir Izetbegović confirmed that his party believed that Croatia could not build the Pelješac Bridge before the maritime border between the two countries is defined. He added that BiH must have the right of free access to international waters, reports Večernji List on August 14, 2017.
“We do not dispute the right of Croatia to connect parts of its territory, but Bosnia and Herzegovina should also not be denied the right to have access to the open sea,” said Izetbegović in an interview with Faktor.ba.
Izetbegovic argues that this has been a clear position of BiH since 2007, about which the Croatian state leadership has been informed. “It is necessary to return to the first step, to determine where the sea border between BiH and Croatia is located, to determine the route and the width of the sea corridor to international waters. After that, the final technical characteristics of the bridge itself should be determined and the location where the bridge will be located. This position of BiH was established in 2007, and it has not changed since ” Izetbegović said.
Regardless of the dispute over the project, Izetbegović stressed that the relations between BiH and Croatia were positive, but added that there were many unresolved issues that should be addressed.
He pointed out that the agreement on the use of the port of Ploče in Croatia for BiH needs had never been ratified and added that, in Croatia, “certain moves are being made and statements are given which are not in the spirit of proclaimed good-neighbourly relations, or which just ignore the demands of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
“Water from Lake Buško is used for operation of a hydroelectric power plant in Croatia without any fee, hundreds of very valuable facilities on the Adriatic coast and throughout Croatia have never been returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, plans are being made about diverting vast quantities of water by a tunnel directly to Dubrovnik without even notifying Bosnia and Herzegovina, but only the Republika Srpska entity. We are trying to discuss these issues openly, but the Croatian side is avoiding giving firm responses, as well as the establishment and active engagement in interstate commissions,” Izetbegović said.
Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee of Croatian Parliament Miro Kovač said that the Pelješac Bridge would be built and that the opposition to the construction of this bridge was not an official policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but only of representatives of some Bosniak parties. “As far as the Pelješac Bridge is concerned, no one has said anything about it as a representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Kovač.
According to him, the Pelješac Bridge project is already underway. “We have had only statements from leaders of one of BiH parties, specifically Mr Bakir Izetbegovic and his SDA party. And we had a statement from a representative of another major Bosniak party SBB (Party for Better Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina) Damir Arnaut a few days ago. Therefore, this is not the official policy of BiH, since Croats and Serbs also live in Bosnia,” said Kovač, adding that Croatia wants to have friendly relations with Bosniaks.
Asked if he expected problems in connection with the construction of the Pelješac Bridge, Kovač replied, “I expect that soon, in a few years, we will have a direct link between the south of Croatia and other parts of the Croatian territory via the Pelješac Bridge. That will be a significant achievement both for Croatia and for the European Union because we will connect two areas of the European Union.”
He added that it was not just the Croatian project, but also the project of the European Union.
The Pelješac Bridge will connect the peninsula of Pelješac and the area around Dubrovnik with the rest of Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina is worried that the bridge could make Neum, its only town on the Adriatic coast, inaccessible for larger vessels.
Translated from Večernji List.