Croatia Should Not Lecture Us About Radicalism, Says Bosniak Leader

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Still, Bosnia and Herzegovina wants best possible relations with Croatia.

Bosniak member of Presidency of Bosnia and Hrzegovina (BiH) Bakir Izetbegović said on Wednesday that his country and the Bosniak people whom he represents want to have the best possible relations with Croatia, but added that it was unacceptable to present the security situation in BiH worse than it really was, reports Večernji List on December 28, 2016.

“Our attitude towards Croatia is benevolent. We have extended our arm and there is not a single problem coming from the Bosnian side, with the exception of the problem with the pollution at the refinery in Bosanski Brod”, said Izetbegović, who is also the president of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA).

Izetbegović did not explicitly mention Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, but he clearly alluded to her when he said that he considered unacceptable statements that there are thousands of radicalized warriors returning to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Syria and Iraq. President Grabar Kitarović said earlier this month that it was necessary to face the fact that there are thousands of fighters from the so-called Islamic State returning to Bosnia and that people should not ignore “influence of other states” on the neighbouring country.

“They should not lecture us about emancipation and say they are concerned about radicalism. Radicalism could have been even worse after all that various sides did to Bosniaks. We have about 40 people who have returned from the battlefields, and we have not had a single incident”, said Izetbegović.

He asked Croatia and all others in the Balkans to think twice before saying anything about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Izetbegović added that statements about thousands of potential terrorists in BiH could be a direct obstacle to the efforts of the country to join the European Union as soon as possible. “What kind of message is this for the EU? It definitely hampers BiH’s membership in the EU and Croatia has promised to be the chief lobbyist of Bosnia and Herzegovina on that road”, said Izetbegović.

He said that SDA was ready for sincere cooperation with HDZ in BiH in order to solve the problem of the status of Croats in the country. He sent a message to the largest Croatian party in Bosnia and Herzegovina that SDA is waiting for its proposals about changes to the electoral system and the solution to the issue of Mostar. “Bosniaks will consider the proposals in good faith”, said Izetbegović.

He noted that it was clear that no-one in BiH can impose anything on anyone, adding that it was an illusion to think that two sides could come to an agreement at the expense of the third party. “SDA will do everything in order for an agreement to be reached and for peace to be preserved”, concluded Izetbegović.


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