A visit that should not have taken place

A visit that should not have taken place

Apart from the fact that three members from the BiH Presidency visited Serbia, this event, at least for the citizens of BiH, was a disaster. But the visit was important because it showed that the gap between members of the Presidency is so big that soon it will block the work of this important institution.

BiH Presidency Chairman Dragan Covic and members Mladen Ivanic and Bakir Izetbegovic went to Belgrade, first and foremost in order to meet with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic as well as with other high positioned officials of this neighbouring country. Antagonism between Izetbegovic and Covic was visible at the dinner, organised the evening before the official beginning of the visit. According to witnesses, the Bosniak and Croat members of the joint BiH state leadership were so cold with each other that the atmosphere during the dinner was more frozen than warm.

According to statements after the official meeting among Vucic  and the BiH Presidency, on Wednesday morning, the situation was not better at this event either. It was planned that Vucic and Presidency members would solve the important issue of the borders between the two countries in about 4% of the border line, but it proved impossible. Vucic said that Serbia did everything it could to reach an agreement but, unfortunately, it was not feasible.

At the presser that followed the meeting, Vucic said that Serbia had a very serious approach to this issue and made compromises, unsure of whether they would get easily support in the Serbian parliament or by the public.

During the meeting, he pointed out that participants also discussed about the improvement of friendly relations and how to avoid issues that could be problematic either for the one or the other country. Vucic said that, apart from the border issue, other topics were the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway and the stance of BiH towards Kosovo. Vucic emphasised that he is grateful for the way the BiH Presidency regards its position. Chairman Dragan Covic believes that the role of the BiH Presidency is to respect the territorial integrity of Serbia (including Kosovo) until Serbia says that Kosovo is independent.

“We want to further improve our relations. I think that the way we wanted to establish the border with BiH shows that Serbia respects the integrity of BiH. We will support each other on the European path,” Vucic said, adding that he hopes the next meetings will not be “historical”, but ordinary.

The opinion that BiH will not recognise Kosovo as an independent state before Serbia does was expressed during meeting by Dragan Covic, but was not supported by Bakir Izetbegovic. In the statement, Izetbegovic expressed the strong disagreement with Covic, saying that BiH’s foreign policy will not wait for actions from Serbia but will rather make independent decisions in Sarajevo, among the members of the Presidency.

He added that he asked Covic to present the above mentioned statement as his own private position, not as the official one of the Presidency. According to media, during the meeting, Covic asked Izetbegovic three times about the agreement regarding the statement about Kosovo, with Izetbegovic being positive each time he was asked. But later on, at the press conference, Izetbegovic tried to interrupt Covic when he tried to say that BiH will act according to the Serbian policy. Covic asked Izetbegovic to let him to finish what he was saying and after Covic finished, Izetbegovic expressed his disagreement. Later on, at the meeting with the Serbian PM, Ana Brnabic, asked about how the meeting with Vucic went, Izetbegovic said “it is never boring”.

Actually, that confirmed that the sad words of the third BiH Presidency member Mladen Ivanic, who had said that BiH is entering the biggest crisis after the war and that it is possible to expect fresh tensions in the country after verdicts to Serb former Army General, Ratko Mladic, and six of the highest officials of Herceg-Bosna -the Croatian enclave during the war- who committed the war crimes against Bosniaks would be presented, were based on solid ground.

The tripartite Presidency of BiH met also with the National Assembly Speaker, Maja Gojkovic…/IBNA