Members of tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Covic, Mladen Ivanic and Bakir Izetbegovic, held a meeting with President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday in Mostar.
Media in BiH reported that the officials had discussed economic, social and demographic problems, and promised to work together on resolving them.
Chairman of the Presidency of BiH Dragan Covic told a press conference after the meeting that the talks focused on the EU enlargement strategy, while officials also discussed topics that can improve relations between the countries, resolve infrastructural problems and create preconditions for a better economic climate in the region.
Bosniak member of the Presidency of BiH Bakir Izetbegovic added that they had also discussed departure of youth, European Union’s initiatives, inflammatory rhetoric and reform processes, and underlined that they had agreed to start dealing with bilateral issues.
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic noted that the meeting was useful, adding that Croatia supported territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, constituent status of its peoples and the country’s European prospect. She promised that Croatia would do everything in its power to help BiH in the process of EU integration.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic underlined the importance of peace and stability in the region. “Our talks are not sweet and simple, because we have inherited numerous problems that we are all trying to mitigate in order to resolve them eventually”, said Vucic.
Furthermore, he announced that he was planning to visit the Mostar Economic Fair later this year, and expressed hope that the next trilateral meeting was soon going to take place in Serbia.
Commenting on the issue of borderline between BiH and Serbia, Izetbegovic said that the two countries had to find a way to ensure proper functioning of the hydroelectric power plants on the Drina River. If the countries are unable to find a solution on their own, according to Izetbegovic, there is always an option of an international arbitration.
Banja Luka-based daily Glas Srpske covered Izetbegovic saying that “BiH cannot accept Serbia’s proposal, especially when it comes to hydroelectric power plants, or deviation of certain territories”. Serbian President Vucic reacted, according to daily, saying that Izetbegovic was not telling the truth and that Serbia did not ask for deviation of border.
“New proposal, which Serbia has submitted to Bosnia and Herzegovina, does not contain those elements, but a completely new offer which is very favorable to BiH and which Izetbegovic obviously has not read yet (…) We do not want anything that belongs to someone else, we only want to be allowed to have hydroelectric power plants ‘Zvornik’ and ‘Bajina Basta’ functioning properly. We have also requested some minor corrections related to Belgrade-Bar railroad”, Vucic explained.
Officials claim that they did not discuss the issue of amendments to the Election Law of BiH at the meeting. However, according to Covic, members of the Presidency of BiH informed Serbian and Croatian presidents about the current situation regarding this issue.
“I personally expect us to soon amend the Election Law in a regular parliamentary procedure. If we fail to do that, I fear we will face many new temptations”, said Covic. Izetbegovic said that he did not want to discuss an internal issue, while Serb member of the Presidency of BiH Mladen Ivanic concluded that the situation was more difficult than he had thought, and he warned that the issue could additionally complicate the political situation in the country.
Grabar-Kitarovic noted that officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina should focus on implementing the principle of equality and the constituent status of peoples when deciding on amendments to the Election Law of BiH. “The worst option would be to have the international community imposing solutions”, she noted.
Zagreb-based daily Jutarnji list reported that Izetbegovic left the room while Covic and Ivanic were informing Grabar-Kitarovic and Vucic about the Election Law.