"Bosnia can join NATO only if Serbia does"

Chairman of Bosnian Presidency Mladen Ivanic has said thar Bosnia-Herzegovina could join NATO "only if, and when," Serbia does as well.

Source: Politika, Tanjug

"There cannot be a stance clearer than that. Any other option would mean divisions within the Serb people. We do not need referendums. In fact, this topic does not even need to be opened, because the conditions are not there for Bosnia-Herzegovina's membership in NATO until Serbia joins the alliance," he told the Belgrade-based daily Politika.

Asked whether Bosnia-Herzegovina can conduct a policy that will not be burdened by aligning with either side, Ivanic answered affirmatively, and said the country can do so "by carrying out its policy, minding its own interests."

"Our interest is to have fair relations with Russia, as well as good relations with the EU. If they force us to choose one, then that one is no longer our friend," said Ivanic.

Regarding Albanian PM Edi Rama's statements about Greater Albania and announcements that Ante Gotovina would be appointed to advisory bodies in Croatia, Ivanic said he "believes that the current approach of Belgrade, and even of the Serb factor in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is very positive and we will benefit from this."

"It is slowly emerging that, in view of reconciliation, the most normal part of the political elite in the Balkans at this time are is actually the Serb cadre," he was quoted as saying.

"Very soon, this benefit will be demonstrated practically, because the world will support those who do not want conflict and build their authority on the belief in their own strength instead of on conflict. Leaders of Serbia and even of the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina feel that strength," said Ivanic, who is a Serb representative in the Bosnian presidency and an opposition politician from the Serb entity, the RS.

Ivanic also stated that he was in favor of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be "completely shut down."

"There will never again be agreement for the OHR to reach for the Bonn powers, because there are no conditions for that. The presence of the OHR represents more a desire of some international actors to be present in Bosnia-Herzegovina without being reduced to the level of embassies," said Ivanic.


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