Bosnian Security Minister Rejects Claims by Croatian President

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New controversy about security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Dragan Mektić again on Friday rejected as unsubstantiated claims made by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović about the increased threat of extremist groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, noting that there is no evidence in any data coming from the field and gathered by police and intelligence agencies, reports on March 17, 2017.

“We do not have any such conclusions and do not know where she gets this information”, said Mektić to reporters in Sarajevo, commenting on the statements by Croatian President, given on Thursday during a conference in Bosnian town of Neum, that Bosnia and Herzegovina “is exposed to new challenges, particularly the growing number of extremist groups and the migrant crisis”.

President Grabar-Kitarović said that the issue represented an equal danger to the separatist tendencies coming from the Republika Srpska, a Serb entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also expressed willingness of Croatia to help BiH in the fight against terrorism and illegal migrations.

Mektić on Friday said he was astonished by the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina was mentioned at all in the context of the refugee crisis, given that his country has been completely bypassed by the migrant wave and there is no indication that this might change. “We do not have this problem. Maybe she mistakenly included us as a part of the Balkan route”, said Mektić. He added that there were only individual cases in which refugees enter the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but these are isolated cases.

Mektić publicly debated with the Croatian President last year as well. At the time, she spoke about thousands of radicalized individuals who may pose a threat to the security of Bosnia and Herzegovina after returning from the battlefields abroad. The latest data which Mektić made public was that there was no more than 250 persons who stayed in countries such as Syria and Iraq, of whom 65 were killed, while little more than forty of them have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the meantime and are currently under the supervision of security agencies.

On Thursday, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović also said that Croatia would intensify diplomatic efforts in order to prevent external influences in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She added that Croatia expected an urgent adoption of a new electoral law that will guarantee the equality of all three constituent peoples. Grabar-Kitarović said that the international community was passively observing events in the neighbouring country. “In addition to the strengthening of separatist aspirations, this strongly affects the equality of Croats in BiH. We must not close our eyes to these facts”, she said.


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