Bosnia and Herzegovina's Civil Affairs Minister Adil Osmanovic asked the State Attorney to launch proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg to stop the construction of the Peljesac Bridge until an agreement on the sea border is reached, ensuring a corridor for Bosnia's unobstructed access to the open sea.
Osmanovic did not say what motivated him to issue an open call to the State Attorney’s Office, but he warned this institution that it could be held responsible for any action that might be detrimental to the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In his opinion, the State Attorney has a duty to initiate proceedings against Croatia since Bosnia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and given the decisions of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency of 2007 and the September 2017 Declaration of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, the former Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Nebojsa Radmanovic, has said recently that the state leadership has never taken a decision against the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, and that last year’s declaration has not been adopted by the upper chamber of parliament, the House of Peoples.
Osmanovic expressed an expectation that an agreement would be reached with Croatia in the process of reconciliation before the Hamburg tribunal and that the long-standing maritime border dispute would be finally resolved.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has nothing against Croatia connecting its territory, but it is determined to protect its own rights and interests at sea,” he said.
Zeljko Komsic, a candidate for the Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, has also announced that he will challenge the construction of the Peljesac Bridge.
Croatia plans to build a bridge between the mainland and the Peljesac peninsula to bypass the 15-kilometre stretch of coast at Neum where Bosnia has access to the Adriatic Sea. The bridge will connect the southernmost part of the country, which includes Dubrovnik, with the rest of Croatia. A contract for this purpose has been awarded to a Chinese consortium.