Erdogan: Belgrade-Sarajevo highway will move two countries and people closer

NEWS 08.10.2019 15:53
Source: Tanjug/ Sava Radovanovic

Bosnia has to solve the problem of government formation to continue efficient work, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following the trilateral meeting in Belgrade on Tuesday which gathered the Presidents of Serbia, Turkey and three members of Bosnia's State Presidency.

Addressing a press conference, Erdogan said that construction of a highway connecting Belgrade and Serbia will move closer the two countries in the future but that Bosnia first has to form the state-level government.

“Without a government, there can be no efficient work,” he said.

“The steps concerning the highway will move Serbia and Bosnia closer. A road is a synonym for civilisation, life. If we manage to make this, this road linking two nations, we will have an even stronger impact on people. It will make the region a place that attracts people. That means they won’t be leaving,” said the President of Turkey.

He expressed hope the trilateral meetings between the three countries will continue and said he was looking forward to the next one, set to take place in Bosnia in May 2020.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s Presidency said addressing the media that the meeting focused on various infrastructural projects including the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway, which Turkey financially supports.

“We also spoke about preserving cooperation and peace. What President Erdogan said – it is necessary to avoid every ethnic-based conflict and build the peace, is acceptable to all of us. That’s what we want and we want to make success,” said Dodik.

He touched upon the stalemate in government formation, noting that Bosnia is going through internal problems but that he believes the state-level government could be formed, which would remove obstacles in the highway construction.

“That will mark our trilateral cooperation,” he stressed.

Sefik Dzaferovic, the Bosniak Presidency member, said Turkey was perceived as a stabilising factor in the region and that Bosnia and Serbia should solve the open issues as soon as possible.

“As far as I am concerned, the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia need more intensive cooperation, and that’s the only way to solve the problems,” he said.

The officials also discussed the railway connectivity, according to Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, who said that these were expensive projects but beneficial for both Bosnia and Serbia.

“And especially us in Bosnia have interest in having them (the projects) implemented,” he added.

The host of the meeting, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, said he was happy to have the Turkish President and Bosnia Presidency members in the meeting. “This is a big day,” he said.

“Since 1945, all of us will agree, there seemed to be an invisible hand preventing the connections between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to be built. The time has come to change that,” said Vucic.