Bosniak leader: Croats not minority, but constituent and equal people in Bosnia

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Source: FENA

I never called Bosnian Croats a minority, nor will I. They are a constituent and equal people in Bosnia, but 16 Croats out of 98 members of Bosnia's Parliament can impose their will over the will of the majority of MPs and that is the frustrating truth for us, Bosniak leader Bakir Izetbegovic said in an interview for Vecernji list, daily.

“I’ve never called Croats a minority, nor will I. Croats are constituent and equal people in Bosnia. I used to say that the minority in the Parliament of the Federation (FBiH) entity annuls the will of the majority, and that is true. A frustrating truth for us. The Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) controls the House of Peoples and stops whatever it wants. Without any explanation. The HDZ BiH has 16 of the 98 members of the House of Representatives of the FBiH Parliament and imposes its will over the will of the majority on issues that are not of vital national interest to Croats. That is why I used to say that the majority in the FBiH will have to look for a way to ‘break the shackles’ if such a practice continues,” the leader of the strongest Bosniak party – the centre-right Democratic Action Party (SDA) said.

Speaking about his meeting with Croatian President Andrej Plenkovic which was also attended by the leader of Bosniak Croat, Dragan Covic, last week, Izetbegovic said it was an important step for the relations between Bosniaks and Croats as well as relations between the two countries.

“Plenković is a well-intentioned, well-educated and experienced politician who will be a very influential leader in Croatia for a long time. We had a long, very open conversation that started with a classic meeting and continued with a working dinner. The topic was the frustration of Bosnian Croats regarding the legitimacy of representatives, and Bosniak frustrations arising from the blockade of the formation of the new FBiH Government and the blockade of filling the FBiH Constitutional Court with new judges as well as the obstructive cooperation between the HDZ and the Alliance if independent Social Democrats (SNSD) instead of constructive cooperation between the SDA and HDZ,” the Bosniak leader said.

The SNSD is the ruling, centre-right party in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity. the party’s leader is Milorad Dodik, known for his secessionist rhetoric and support for the RS accession to Serbia.

Izetbegovic stressed it is only natural that Croatian leadership supports Bosnian Croats, but the question is, he said, how will they manifest their support.

According to him, a smart approach would result in the reconciliation between Bosniaks and Croats because over 60 percent of Croats live in ethnically mixed areas, among Bosniaks. This implies, he noted, that Croats should listen to Bosniak arguments, not ignore their objections and not agree to the Croat-Serb alliance against Bosniaks.