Croatia Monitoring Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Total Croatia News

Tensions are rising in Croatia’s neighbour.

“Croatia will react to events in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the next few days on a high level towards the European Union and the United States, as well as through the Peace Implementation Council, and will play a strong and active role”, said sources close to the Croatian political leadership, reports Jutarnji List on September 22, 2016.

One of Croatian priorities is to focus the attention of the international community on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). “Croatia has a legitimate right to fight for the equality of Croats in BiH”, said Mate Granić, adviser to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and former Foreign Minister. In New York, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač will meet with his BiH counterpart Igor Crnadak and talk about the situation in the country.

Tensions are rising in Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of this weekend’s referendum in which citizens of the Republika Srpska, one of the entities which make Bosnia and Herzegovina, will decide whether to mark 9 January as the official day of their entity. While the matter itself is symbolic, tensions are very real. There is more and more talk about the possibility of another war erupting in the country.

The country has been in constitutional crisis for years, and now the behaviour of Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik is creating additional anxiety. Clearly, Southeast Europe has again become a venue for conflict between great powers. The West wants to keep the country as it was constituted by the Dayton Peace Agreement, while Russia is using the Republika Srpska to pursue its interests in the Balkans.

The situation culminated in recent days after a statement by Sefer Halilović, former wartime commander of the Bosnian Army, who threatened war if the referendum takes places. “After the referendum, the Dayton Peace Agreement would no longer be valid, and then God help us”, said Halilović.

“We respect the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the Republika Srpska will not disappear”, said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, calling on everybody to work together for peace. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić said that Halilović’s statement was the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region.

“At this point, there are several important processes taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the one hand, there is the referendum, which the international community has condemned. Condemnation also came from the Peace Implementation Council, with the exception of Russia. Croatian President has also taken a very clear position on the referendum”, said Granić. He added that there were other processes going on in parallel, primarily an attempt by Brussels for BiH to start talks on joining the EU. “This is an extremely encouraging development which Croatia supports”, said Granić. The third process are local elections in BiH, which will significantly determine the future of the whole country. When it comes to Croats, there is also the fourth important process, which is to discuss the status of Croats in the country as soon as possible.

Since it is quite clear that the next Croatian Prime Minister will be HDZ president Andrej Plenković, it is expected that there will be much better co-operation within the Croatian leadership and a clearer position towards BiH. “Now there are conditions for Croatia to have just one official state policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have not had that so far, and that is why a synergy between the President and future Prime Minister is important.”


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