Croatia is not running away from outstanding issues in the relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and wants to address them just as it sincerely wants to help preserve that country's stability and its Euro-Atlantic path, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Sunday.
In an interview for the Radiosarajevo.ba web portal, Grlic Radman said that his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week and talks with the country’s highest officials had taken place in a positive and encouraging atmosphere.
“There is no doubt that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia are economically, culturally and geographically oriented towards each other. They are and must be friends and thus have to resolve outstanding issued through dialogue. And that is the message that we have, I believe, sent during this visit. So, more talks, less misunderstandings,” said the Croatian minister, confirming that holding a joint session of the two countries’ governments is also planned.
He said that dialogue on all outstanding issues was important but should not be hold in the form of issuing statements to the media, but through joint working groups and interdepartmental formats whose members are relevant experts.
“That is, I think, especially important, so that those outstanding issues would not be exploited for daily political purposes, which could lead to further escalation of mutual misunderstandings,” Grlic Radman said.
He added that he had clarified in direct communication during his visit to Sarajevo the purpose and content of the non-paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Western Balkans that Croatia sent to the EU Foreign Affairs Council on behalf of a group of six EU member states as a template for the debate announced for May.
He stressed that with the document Croatia had shown respect and appreciation for Bosnia and Herzegovina, opened space for a deeper discussion on extremely important topics, with the aim of increasing the European Union’s attention to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its path to EU candidate status.
In that context, he explained, the need to reform Bosnia and Herzegovina’s election law in order to eliminate all existing inequalities and thus improve the political climate and cooperation within the country was also brought up.
Commenting on the alleged document advocating the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and changes to other borders in the Western Balkans, published by a Slovenian web portal without identifying the author or the intended audience, Grlic Radman said that he did not want to speculate about the alleged non-paper but he underscored that border redrawing was out of the question to Croatia.