ZAGREB, March 15, 2019 – Croatian PM Andrej Plenković reiterated on Friday that Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektić’s accusations, that Croatian intelligence agents had been part of a covert operation aimed at showing that armed group of radical Islamists were active in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), were “nonsense” and “manipulation”.
Mektić made the accusations on Wednesday, saying the operation was intended to justify Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s earlier claims that thousands of Islamic extremists in BiH pose a threat to regional security.
Mektić’s statements, “aside from the words ‘nonsense’, ‘manipulation’ and ‘ill-intentioned claim’, deserve no other additional or further comment,” Plenković said at a cabinet meeting. “Croatia is a member of NATO and the European Union, a country which, together with other partners, is engaged in the fight against terrorism and, in that respect, will continue to cooperate with all the countries in its neighbourhood, including BiH, in a responsible manner,” he added.
Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektić gave a statement to the State Prosecutor’s Office on Friday as part of an investigation into his accusations that Croatian intelligence agents had recruited Bosnian citizens to plant weapons in Islamic places of worship in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
Mektić told reporters later he maintained this information was correct and that the covert operation was not completed because it was uncovered and prevented by BiH’s Intelligence and Security Agency (OSA). He said part of OSA’s job was to “foil any attempt by a foreign intelligence service to infiltrate BiH.”
Commenting on the resolute dismissal by Croatia’s Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) of the accusations against it coming from BiH, Mektić said SOA was entitled to defend itself but that its denials should not be trusted.
Asked what he expected the BiH State Prosecutor’s Office to do as part of the probe launched yesterday, Mektić said he did not know, yet that he expected nothing as he had no confidence in the Office and its prosecutors.
“Anything can be expected of them, but the only thing that can’t be expected of them is to really fight against such problems,” he said, adding that launching the probe was just a cover for an attempt to “protect relatives and friends and save someone’s reputation.”
More news on the relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.