Komšić Accuses Croatia of Undermining Bosnia and Its Sovereignty

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ZAGREB, December 11, 2018 – The Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić, on Monday accused Croatia of undermining Bosnia and its sovereignty and underlined that good neighbourly relations that Croatia advocates can’t be built like that.

“Good neighbourly relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina need to be based on mutual respect and trust after which all outstanding issues can be discussed. However, what Croatia has been doing to Bosnia and Herzegovina is not good. Such activity undermines mutual trust and deeply negates Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty by negating its sovereign government elected at an election,” Komšić said for the regional N1 television.

Komšić was responding to a statement by Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday in which he critically reflected on Komšić’s election as the Croat member to the presidency and noted that he would not give up on advocating the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“In terms of foreign policy, Croatia will not cease addressing this topic. As long as I am the head of government, we will not give up on that,” Plenković said on Saturday, underlining that Croatia would not give up protecting the interests of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He dismissed claims by three former high representatives of the international community in Sarajevo, Paddy Ashdown, Christian Schwarz-Schilling and Carl Bildt, who accused Zagreb of meddling in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal affairs.

“No one knows Bosnia and Herzegovina better than Croatia, and no one is a better friend and ally of Bosnia and Herzegovina than Croatia,” Plenković said, recalling Croatia’s concrete assistance to its neighbour regarding its application for European Union membership candidate status.

The election of Željko Komšić as the Croat representative in the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina complies with the letter of the country’s constitution based on the Dayton peace accords but it is not in line with the spirit of that constitution, as Komšić was elected thanks to votes of non-Croat voters, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak said in Brussels on Monday.

Lajcak, who in mid-2007 became the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, succeeding Christian Schwarz-Schilling, said in Brussels today that he believed that Komšić’s election was not in accordance with the spirit of Bosnia’s constitution stemming from the Dayton peace accords, although it was in line with the letter of the document.

He was elected thanks to ballots cast by non-Croat voters and as a result, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not feel that they have their representative in the presidency, Lajcak said while answering questions from the press about the post-election situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina which held general elections on 7 October.

Asked to comment on a letter in which three former High Representatives — Carl Bildt, Paddy Ashdown and Schwarz-Schilling — accuse Croatia of interfering in Bosnia’s internal affairs, Lajcak said that such an approach only made the current situation worse.

I think that politicising this issue is to the detriment of Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I think that we should work on making them feel equal in relation to others, feel that they have their political representation and do not have the problems that they now obviously have, said the Slovak minister, who was attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

More news about the status of Croats abroad can be found in our Diaspora section.


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