The statements by Croatian President Zoran Milanovic about Bosnia and Herzegovina contain vocabulary that a serious statesman should not be using, said Bosniak member of Bosnian tripartite Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic, adding that Milanovic is currently on a visit in BiH and is behaving like a “rude guest at someone else's house.”
“Mr Milanovic has no competencies nor is he invited to deal with the internal matters of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His attempts to do that are filled with ignorance and serious arrogance, and by doing so Mr Milanovic is becoming a hotbed for instability and the rhetoric of divisions and insults,” said Dzaferovic.
“If he respects BiH, then he is obliged to respect its Constitution and its institutions,” he added.
The statement comes on the second day of Milanovic’s working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he visited the central Bosnian town Vitez and Mostar in the south of the country, both populated with significant Bosnian Croat communities.
On both occasions, he emphasised he would insist on the protection of Croats in BiH and on compliance with the Dayton Peace Agreement, the deal that brought peace after the 1992-95 Bosnian war and determined the country’s constitutional system.
The rights of Bosnian Croats, as one of three constituent peoples, must be respected and there will be no more concessions, Milanovic said during his Vitez visit on Sunday.
A day later, in Mostar, he noted that the Croats are unable to elect their own Presidency member, referring to the electoral system which currently also allows Bosniaks, in the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation entity, to cast their vote for a candidate running for the post of the Croat Presidency member.
Also, he said the interest of the west in Bosnia and Herzegovina is low.
“Crucially, it is not true that senior politicians in the west want to turn BiH into a civic country. There is no interest in BiH,” he said.
Milanovic said his country is friendly and has a national, political and security interest in the developments in BiH.
“We are neighbours. There are no only half a million Croats here, but also those who are not Croats but own our citizenship. It is our duty to observe what is happening,” he said.
But, Dzaferovic strongly reacted to the Croatian President’s words, suggesting that he should speak to the institutions of BiH so that the two countries finally start solving the open issues.
Commenting on Milanovic’s reference to the Dayton Agreement and election of the Presidency members he said:
“There is no word about ethnic legitimation but only about ethnic identification. In other words, the Dayton (Agreement) does not say that the Croats will elect one and the Bosniaks the other (Presidency member). It only says that one member is Croat, and the other is Bosniak, and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this need to be deleted from the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because all citizens are entitled to the right to be elected, not only the Bosniaks and the Croats. What Mr Milanovic is offering us is a road to the full ethnic division of BiH and full abolition of civic principle, which is also part of the Dayton (Agreement),” said Dzaferovic.