BiH’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked all participants of the International ministerial conference, which was successfully organised in Banja Luka, as well as the institutions of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina which supported the conference.
But, on the other side, BiH MoFA sharply criticised the decisions of the Albanian and fYROMacedonian officials who were invited but declined to attend because of political causes.
“The decisions of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Ditmir Bushati, and deputy of Macedonian PM for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani, not to participate in the conference because the invitation was not sent to Kosovo officials, shows disrespect to Bosnian and Herzegovinian institutions and their decisions, and does not contribute to the development of good relations in the region,” the BiH MoFA press release reads.
The ministry added that it will remain dedicated to stronger regional ties and will not respond with counter measures. With pleasure, as the press release read, the BiH MoFA will, for the first time, host the meeting of Foreign ministers of the countries which participate in the Euro-integration course in the Western Balkan region.
Organising this event in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with official confirmation from all six participants, also proves that it was unnecessary for the EU Delegation in BiH to call ambassadors of EU countries to boycott the Banja Luka conference due to the absence of Kosovo’s representatives, since BiH is a trustworthy partner at all times.
Although an unnamed source from the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the information over the snub to IBNA, saying it was “absolutelly true”, the EU Delegation to BiH denied the call on boycotting the event.
Speaking to IBNA about the matter, EU Delegation spokesperson Jamila Milović Halilović was firm: “No, the EU Delegation to BiH did not invite EU Member States’ ambassadors to boycott the conference in Banja Luka. The EU Delegation to BiH/EUSR was present at the working level through the Head of the EU Office in Banja Luka. As indicated in the Western Balkan strategy, regional co-operation and good neighbourly relations are paramount for the Western Balkans to consolidate stability and underpin prosperity necessary to take the EU forward. This means that such co-operation initiatives need to be inclusive of all partners in the region, including Kosovo.”
In its press release, the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that, as the only organiser of the conference in Banja Luka, it could be based on no legal basis to send an invitation to Kosovo officials, since BiH institutions do not recognise Kosovo as an independent state.
“We express special gratitude to the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Siarto, who understood this situation and participated as the special guest. Also, we express the gratitude to Ambassador of Bulgaria, a country which presides over the EU Council, Avgustina Tzvetkova, who opened the conference along with BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Crnadak, and the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanić,” the press release reads.
Minister Crnadak will send the letters of gratitude to the below officials: the Hungarian Minister Siarto, the Minister for European Integration of Serbia, Jadranka Joksimović, the European Parliament special rapporteur, Dan Preda, the Director for the EU approach from the Ministry of European Affairs of Montenegro, Jelena Burzan, and to the governments of countries which sent ambassadors to the Banja Luka conference…/IBNA