Officials: Croatia supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty

Croatia does not support any action that would jeopardise the survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said on Thursday in a comment on a referendum to be held in the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS) on September 25.

"We want a unified and strong Bosnia and Herzegovina where all three peoples are constituent and equal," Kovac said in New York, where he was attending a UN General Assembly session.

As a signatory to the Dayton peace agreement, Croatia will work to help Bosnia and Herzegovina survive as a state and it will support its integration with the European Union, said Kovac.

In the referendum Bosnian Serb authorities have set for this Sunday, entity residents will vote on whether to comply with a ruling of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina that declared the commemoration of January 9 as Republika Srpska Day unconstitutional.

Despite the Constitutional Court's decision to ban the referendum, the vote will be held. The Russian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Petr Ivantsov, has supported the plan by the Serb entity authorities and RS President Milorad Dodik on Thursday left for Moscow at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic said in New York on Tuesday that the planned referendum was in contravention of the Dayton peace accords and that she hoped it would not be held.

She said Croatia supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a country of three constitutional peoples, one of which are Croats.

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic said today he was against the referendum because it could lead to a referendum on the Serb entity's secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"I'm against that referendum. It could be the first step towards a referendum that would lead to the separation of RS from BiH, which isn't good. That's also the uniform position of the international community, Croatia and all key political stakeholders in the country," Plenkovic told reporters.

He said it was necessary to work on defusing tensions and focusing more on decisions of the Council of the European Union, which tasked the European Commission with drawing up an opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina's membership application.

"It is through that European path that we can best protect the constitutionality and equality of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the well-being of all other peoples."

Last update: Thu, 22/09/2016 - 18:09

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