Bosnian Presidency chair: Inappropriate reaction

Bosnian Presidency chairman Mladen Ivanic has said that there was no reason to postpone the visit of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.

Source: Beta

"I think this is not good and sets us many steps back, and can create a bad atmosphere. No one person can be a reason to damage relations between the two countries," Ivanic, who represents Serbs, said in Banja Luka.

His comments came after Presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic asked for Nikolic's visit to be postponed over the arrest in Switzerland, on a Serbian warrant, of Naser Oric, who is suspected of war crimes.

Ivanic on Monday also "expressed confidence that the Swiss judiciary will independently decide on Oric."

"Controversial persons cannot be a reason for relations between the countries to enter into a bad phase. The degree of the reaction from Sarajevo in this event is absolutely inappropriate. If this practice were to be applied in each individual case in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we would never move a millimeter, because there have been various arrests in the past," said Ivanic.

The Beta agency further quoted him as saying that it was "unacceptable to bring into question relations with Serbia, which is especially important to Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina" over "a controversial man whose wartime role is interpreted differently.

If the problem is the arrest of Naser Oric, Ivanic went on, "it would be natural for justice ministers of the two countries to talk about it."

Commenting on the announced British UN resolution on Srebrenica, which will be sent to the Security Council, Ivanic said it was "unacceptable to Serbs."

"Now people who are building their political careers on it are dealing with Srebrenica, without caring at all about those people. All that is happening is setting Bosnia-Herzegovina back dramatically," he said.

According to Ivanic, the responsibility for the bad political environment the country, "which will be caused by the resolution on Srebrenica," will be on those who insisted that the document should be adopted.

"Instead of bowing to the victims in Srebrenica, which should have been the main objective, thanks to this multitude of declarations the Srebrenica event has become a first-rate political event that is once again dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina," Ivanic said.

Stating that three months ago he warned representatives of the international community in Bosnia to take that into account, Ivanic said that "the international factor" bears the most responsibility for "the direction in which that event will go."

Commenting on the support of the Russian ambassador to Bosnia to a communiqué of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), that referred to "genocide in Srebrenica," Ivanic said that Russia was "a friend of the RS (Serb entity) and it will be no different."

"Russia is a country that respects international contracts, it is an international contract that Bosnia-Herzegovina is defined in the Dayton (peace agreement) way, and Russia will have its position from topic to topic. I do not think there's been a shift in any position," Ivanic concluded.


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