Bundestag’s Balkans rapporteur Ahmetovic slams Croatia’s policy towards Bosnia

NEWS 09.06.2022 18:50
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Source: John MACDOUGALL / AFP / ilustracija

The Bundestag 's rapporteur on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adis Ahmetovic, who is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, has said in an interview with the Croatian state news agency Hina that the policy pursued by Croatia towards Bosnia and Herzegovina does not benefit Croatia, the region, or the EU.

Ahmetovic is a politician of Bosnian background who was born in Germany in 1993. He visited Zagreb after the German ruling coalition tabled to its parliamentary committees a draft resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which pushes for stronger engagement of Berlin in Bosnia and Herzegovina “against the backdrop of growing tensions and separatist tendencies”.

His parents arrived from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Germany, and Ahmetovic became the Bundestag’s rapporteur on the Western Balkans in early 2022. He told Hina that it would be important to adopt such a resolution, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine showed what could happen when ethnic provocations, separatism, and authoritarian policies prevail.

The document proposed to the Bundestag criticises Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat leaders Milorad Dodik and Dragan Covic, while making no mention of the Bosniak leader, Bakir Izetbegovic, which some of the critics of the document point out as wrong.

Ahmetovic said that Dodik and Covic were mentioned as they advocate secessionist policies.

Dodik is threatening to secede (the Serb-populated entity) Republika Srpska, while Covic speaks about the establishment of a third entity in the country,  Ahmetovic said, adding that he had never heard a clear opposition from Croatia’s authorities to the third entity.

As for nationalist tendencies, he said that the first page of the document reads that “we are against Bosniak, Serb, and Croat ethnonationalism”.

Ahmetovic said he believes that regardless of their ethnicity, a majority of residents in Bosnia and Herzegovina want a civic organisation of their country and abandoning ethnic principles in the election of the authorities, unlike political elites.

Nowhere in the world, except in Lebanon, does the election law take into account the ethnic principle, said this 28-year-old politician who believes that it is wrong to apply the Lebanon principle in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croat representative in Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Zeljko Komsic, was elected according to the existing law, Ahmetovic said. Croat politicians do not consider Komsic a legitimate representative of the Croat people, saying he has won the position of the representative thanks to the vote of Bosniaks in the Federation entity.

Ahmetovic noted that Komsic had been received by the pope in an audience, saying he objectively belongs to Bosnian Croats as a constituent people.

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