Bosnian Presidency Divided over Pelješac Bridge Construction

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 17, 2019 – The Croat and Bosniak members of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović respectively, on Tuesday decided to launch proceedings against Croatia over the construction of the Pelješac Bridge, while the chairman of the tripartite presidency and its Serb member, Milorad Dodik, said that he would attempt to thwart them by using the mechanism of protecting vital national interest.

The decision is considered to have been formally adopted, but considering that each member has the right to vital interest, I as the Serb member of the presidency raised the issue of vital national interest, Dodik told reporters in Sarajevo after a meeting of the presidency.

He did not explain what sort of proceedings would be launched, but it is assumed that they will most likely be instigated at an international arbitration body.

The mechanism of vital national interest means that Dodik will have to explain his objection to Komšić and Džaferović’s stance before the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity and if his opinion is upheld by a two-thirds majority, the decision that the other two members of the presidency voted for cannot enter into force.

Dodik’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) with its coalition partners has absolute majority in the RS parliament, so it is more than likely that the parliament will put a veto on the presidency’s decision adopted today.

Dodik said that that decision was not a good one because it opened new problems in relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. He underlined that it was particularly damaging on the day the two countries signed an agreement the construction of a bridge across the Sava river at Gradiška which has been in the pipeline for the past ten years.

“My demand was that a border agreement be reached with Croatia, but they (Komšić and Džaferović) focused on the Pelješac Bridge,” Dodik said, stressing that that would mean a dispute not only with Croatia but the European Union, which would not be good for the country.

Komšić and Džaferović earlier reiterated that Croatia should not be allowed to build the bridge before the border issue between the two countries in the Neum bay is resolved. They claim that the Pelješac Bridge will hinder Bosnia and Herzegovina’s access to the high seas.

The Croatian Roads company, the Bosnian Communications and Transport Ministry and a contractor representative signed a 19.5 million euro contract in Zagreb on Tuesday for the construction of a bridge across the Sava river from Okučani to the Croatian-Bosnian border.

More news about Pelješac Bridge can be found in the Politics section.


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