'Bosnia's neighbours treat it paternalistically- that is not going to fly'

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Source: Fena

Bosnia mostly has problems with their neighbours because they are trying to treat the country paternalistically, showing no respect, Bosniak member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said Thursday, adding that “this is not going to fly.”

“Our relations with the neighbours can only be built on the principles of mutual respect, reciprocity and international law in cases where we have some disputes,” he said, commenting the relations between Sarajevo and Zagreb which were strained after the alleged Croatian President's statement that “Bosnia has an aggressive policy towards Croatia.”

The Bosniak Presidency member said the two countries are reliant on each other and that there should be a dialogue between them which would resolve all open issues.

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“Bosnia never asked anything from Croatia what doesn't belong to it under international law. The Croatian President said that Bosnia's attempts to achieve its rights to access open seas was in the domain of aggressive behaviour. It is not aggressive if Bosnia is raising to say hold up with the Peljesac Bridge construction until we define the corridor, outside anyone's sovereignty and in line with the international convention, from the Neum bay to the open sea,” Dzaferovic explained. “It's not aggressive if we say don't make laws through which you're taking over Bosnia's state property in Croatia. It's not aggressive when we say don't dump nuclear waste near our border and don't poison us.”

he added that if all the circumstances are taken into consideration, one can easily see who is aggressive and who's not. The relations between Bosnia and Croatia became strained after Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic allegedly said during her Israel visit that Bosnia is an “unstable country taken over by militant Islam.”

Israeli “The Jerusalem Post” published a text on Wednesday, saying Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic told Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that Bosnia was very unstable and that it was taken over by people with connections with Iran and some terrorist organisation.

Grabar-Kitarovic later denied those claims and the Israeli daily removed the disputed part of the text from their portal.

Following the publication of the said text, Bosnia's Croat Presidency member summoned the Croatian Ambassador to Bosnia Ivan Sabolic for an urgent meeting, who also denied that the Croatian President ever said such a thing.

Bosnian and Croatian politicians, the Bosniak National Council and the Croat National Assembly, as well as countless analysts, journalists and Bosnian citizens also reacted to the alleged statement.