Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said upon his arrival in Sarajevo on Monday that he is coming as a friend and partner, wishing to improve the cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina. He stressed that Croatia is Bosnia's best and truest friend, advocate and supporter on EU path.
Plenkovic arrived for an official visit to Bosnia and his first meeting was the one with Chairman of Bosnia’s Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Plenkovic said that Croatia respects the Dayton Agreement – the peace deal which established the country’s constitutional setup, and reiterated Croatia’s interest in the equality of ethnic Croats, one of three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina must cooperate, they share a more than a thousand kilometres long border,” Plenkovic said, emphasising the necessity of two countries fighting together against the human smuggling.
Commenting on the ongoing political developments in Bosnia, particularly the electoral reform and the announced withdrawal of Bosnian Ser-majority entity Republika Srpska from the central institutions, he said Croatia refuses any secessionist tendencies in the neighbouring country and wants Bosnia to be functional.
Croatia is closely following the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenkovic stressed.
It insists on a framework where the ethnic Croats, the smallest group in Bosnia and Herzegovina – also one of its three constituent peoples, be represented in the state institutions in a quality way, he added.
“We all have to put maximum efforts to help the country function,” Plenkovic concluded.
He also commented on the recent statements by Croatian President Zoran Milanovic regarding the Srebrenica genocide, which sparked reactions in Bosnia.
“As for the Srebrenica genocide, Croatia’s official stance ha never come into question. As for President Milanovic, I think he managed to explain what he tried to say. You could hear some of his statements and he has no dilemma about the genocide in Srebrenica,” Plenkovic said.
He reminded of his term as the European Parliament member and his lobbying for Bosnia’s membership application.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia need one another like a very few countries do. This is a strong friendly visit, which is not symbolic and is a part of systemic dialogue,” said the Croatian PM.
He also announced a joint session of the Government of Croatia and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2022.
Chairman Tegeltija assessed the economic and political relations between the two countries as good, with the room for improvement.
The two officials discussed the issue of illegal migrations as well as the open issues of succession and construction of nuclear waste landfill that Croatia plans to build on border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Croatia will never start building a wire fence on our borders. There are many open issues, some of them concerning succession, the property of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Croatia,” said Tegeltija, adding that none of these topics is seriously jeopardising the relations between the two countries.