Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman said on Thursday Croatia insisted that Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina be able to elect their political representatives in government and be equal to the other two constituent peoples in the country.
“Our interest is that the status of the Croat people in Bosnia be as guaranteed by the Dayton agreement. Bosnia is one state of two entities and three constituent peoples who should be equal, which means that each people elects its own representatives at all government levels,” he said on Plehan, a hill near Derventa in the Bosnian Serb entity.
“As a co-signatory to the Dayton peace agreement, but also under its constitution, Croatia has the duty to provide for Croats in Bosnia.”
The minister addressed the press after attending the signing of an agreement on the continuation of the reconstruction of a Franciscan monastery on Plehan which was destroyed in the war by the Bosnian Serb army.
The reconstruction is being financed by the Croatian government and representatives of local Croats and Bosnian Croat institutions.
The reconstruction of this structure, symbolising the return and the wish of Croats to live in pre-war homes, is important, said Grlic-Radman.
“The monastery was destroyed during the 1991-95 war… but the will to live and return prevailed, which we as the Croatian government want, encouraging Croats to return to BiH financially and politically.”
The minister said Croatia had set aside considerable funds for religious structures as well as for schools, culture and the transfer of knowledge. “Because it's in our interests that Croats in Bosnia live in their homes, that those who fled come back.”
“Once, there were 6,300 people on Plehan. Today, unfortunately, only 77. Now all the conditions have been created for people to live in peace, in a democratic state.”