"My trip to N. Pazar is same as Serbian officials' to RS"
Bakir Izetbegovic, who is on Friday visiting the town of Novi Pazar in southwestern Serbia, says he "should have come earlier."Source: Beta
The Bosniak (Muslim) member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its current chair, who is also leader of the SDA party in that country, thinks his trip "does not mean a bypassing official Belgrade." Reporting about the visit on Thursday, Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti said he was "planning a diplomatic scandal."
"I have been in Belgrade several times times, but this is the first time that I came to Novi Pazar in 26 years. I do not see anything objectionable in this visit, because we have all been witnesses to Serbia's president and prime minister, Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic, frequently visiting Banja Luka and Trebinje, and we do not consider that a bypassing of Sarajevo. This is the same thing," said Izetbegovic, referring to two towns in the Serb Republic (RS) - the Serb entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which also has its Muslim-Croat entity (FBiH).
Beta agency further quoted Izetbegovic as saying that he failed to visit Novi Pazar earlier because he was waiting for the conflicts between "Bosniaks of Sandzak" to quieten down.
Izetbegovic today chaired a meeting of the coordination of SDA's "sister parties from Sandzak, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia," said the report.
Following that meeting, he "pointed out that there was still the need for SDA factions to work together in the region, because it was still necessary to work on improving the situation of Bosniaks in the states created through the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia."
"Bosniaks in this quarter of a century passed a historical path worthy of a century. We defended our right to existence, equality, restored our name, language, and after 450 years restored the statehood to Bosnia-Herzegovina and established an army. But there is still much to do and solve some other issues that were the reason why we founded the SDA in the former Yugoslavia countries," said Izetbegovic.
He added that the SDA "evolved into the most important party of Bosniaks in the Balkans" while Bosniaks "became a political factor without which no one can make any calculations about the future in the Balkans."
Izetbegovic added that at today's meeting of the SDA Coordination "once again took the stance in favor of peace in the whole region, punishing those who committed crimes against Bosniaks, and strongly condemning extremism and terrorism that individuals perpetrate in the name of Islam."
Later on Friday, Izetbegovic attended a ceremonial session of the Bosniak National Council (BNV) in Serbia that was attended by councilors and Novi Pazar Mayor Nihat Bisevac, presidents of Sjenica and Tutin municipalities Hazbo Mujovic and Semsudin Kucevic, and Bosniak deputies in Serbia's assembly - except Muamer Zukorlic.
After the session of the Council, Izetbegovic talked with representatives of Novi Pazar's local self-government. He was accompanied on his visit today by the head of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic.