The humanitarian aid for those who need it and those who seek it has become a hostage of political contradictions, the Russian Embassy in Sarajevo said on Monday, days after Bosnian authorities banned entry for a Russian military-medical team that was supposed to disinfect a hospital in the country's south.
“The paradox lies in the fact that the ones who are rejecting the help were the same those who objected a month ago because of, as they said, Russia's assistance arriving only in (Bosnia's Serb-dominated part) Republika Srpska. As you can see, help comes to the (Bosniak-Croat shared part) Federation as well, because someone asked for it. Let's recall of numerous statements of local leaders saying that ‘any help is welcome.’ Looks like it is not,” the embassy said.
Bosnian authorities did not allow a Russian military-medical team, which was allegedly supposed to perform disinfection of the Mostar University Hospital, to enter Bosnia on Friday.
Explaining why the team was banned from crossing the border, Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic said the convoy could not be treated as humanitarian, as it contained a detailed list of military-technical resources, names and surnames of the medical team as well as their military ranks.
Their presence was requested by House of People's Speaker, Dragan Covic, who failed to consult Bosnia's tripartite Presidency which is the only institution that can send and approve such request.
And the Presidency could not decide on it since the necessary procedures for that to happen were not met, said Bosniak Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic.
“Bosnia’s Defence Ministry and the competent ministries of other countries must first reach a bilateral agreement on cooperation, which is of course coordinated with EUFOR and approved by the Presidency,” he said.
Zeljko Komsic, the Croat Presidency member, deems that each hospital in the country has a possibility to hire a company to do the disinfection of its premises or can even ask Bosnian Armed Forces units for help.
“All of this, of course, raises the question what the true goal of the invitation and arrival of the Russian unit is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically in Banja Luka and Mostar,” he said, referring to the Russian team's engagement in Republika Srpska's administrative centre from mid-April and the planned one that did not occur, in Federation's southern town.
In a response that arrived after the Labour Day weekend, the Embassy of Russia said it was not imposing anything and expressed regret that the matter of humanitarian aid has become “a hostage of political contradictions.”
“Bosnia and Herzegovina is a sovereign state, which makes decisions independently. However, for humane reasons, we would like the politics to change its opinion and allow the experts to do what they have to do in this situation i.e. to save lives without being linked to entities, ethnic affiliation or personal preferences,” said the embassy.