It's imperative to mend relations with Croats and Croatia because the current tension is harming both peoples and countries but Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina hold more management positions than guaranteed by the constitution, the head of the SDA party, Bakir Izetbegovic, said in Mostar on Tuesday.
The leader of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the biggest Bosniak party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke with the party leadership in Herzegovina after meeting with Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Dubrovnik on Monday, when they discussed the situation in BiH and the election reform in that country as well as preparations for a joint meeting of the two governments.
The current situation in relations between Croats and Bosniaks and Croatia and BiH is unnatural, said Izetbegović after meeting with SDA officials in Herzegovina.
“I will do everything for this unnatural state, where we have once again spoiled relations with Croats, we with Croats or Croatia with us, or we with Croatia, for that situation to be mended because it is very damaging for BiH as well as for Croatia,” underscored Izetbegovic, who is the Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples, the upper chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s parliament.
Prime Minister Plenkovic is a “very good collocutor”, said Izetbegovic and warned that Croatian President Zoran Milanović inappropriately calls Bosniaks “abusers of Croats in BiH”.
The talks in Dubrovnik focused on the need for election reform to relieve the tension between the two peoples seeing that Croats in BiH are constantly warning of being outvoted by the more numerous Bosniak people when electing the Croat member of the BiH Presidency and deputies to the House of Peoples.
Izetbegovic believes that Croats in BiH are unhappy about one office, that of the Croat member of the BiH Presidency, underscoring that given their number, they are over-represented in state institutions.
Croats in BiH are in at least a hundred leading positions in ministries, directorates, management boards and they hold more posts than the Constitution guarantees to them so allegations about their being threatened are not true, he said.
These things have not been presented and leaders in Croatia should be aware of that, he said.
Izetbegovic advocates that the electoral reform to guarantee Croats the possibility of electing their legitimate political representatives should at the same time redefine the role of the House of Peoples which in that case would cease to be an equal parliamentary chamber and would decide only on matters that are of vital national interest.
Izetbegovic is not optimistic that an agreement will be reached on the electoral reform over the next month as claimed by HDZ BiH leader Dragan Covic, who has announced that talks will be stepped up next week already with the mediation of the USA and EU.
Izetbegovic said that during the talks with Plenkovic they agreed that it was necessary to react to the construction of the Upper Horizons energy project that authorities in the Republika Srpska entity are planning in eastern Herzegovina to redirect some tributaries of the Neretva River, which flows through Herzegovina and southern Croatia, to the Trebisnjica River.
“That would turn that part of Herzegovina into a desert,” Izetbegovic said.
Sanctions against Milorad Dodik
Asked about the sanctions against the Serb member of the country’s presidency, Milorad Dodik, Izetbegovic said that his conduct required resolute and efficient sanctions.
Izetbegovic said that he also expected some European countries to introduce sanctions against Dodik, like Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and some Scandinavian countries, thus following the example of the USA.