Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that during his presidential term, Croatia will no longer make any concessions when it comes to the rights of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Milanovic said in an interview, published by the Bosnia and Herzegovina edition of the Vecernji List on Saturday ahead of his visit to several BiH cities and towns mainly populated by local Croats, that during the recent adoption of the NATO summit meeting’s final communique, he had insisted that the document should make mention of the Dayton Peace Accords which include guarantees for the respect for treating the Croats as one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for making sure that this aspirant could continue its journey towards the European Union.
“In terms of the size, the Croats are today the least numerous people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, this does not mean that Croats should be treated as a minority and they will never be reduced to an (ethnic) minority,” Milanovic said.
“It would be in the interest of everyone to make sure that the Dayton agreement is respected, and compliance with the agreement can help Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a law-based state that can continue travelling towards the EU. Croatia strongly supports those efforts and would like to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the EU,” Milanovic said in the interview, adding that it was important that Croatia’s Prime Minister and foreign policy-makers joined him in this tough stance.
“As long as I am the president, Croatia will make no concessions and will not stop halfway or join the stronger ones.”
Milanovic recalled that the document adopted at the end of the NATO summit meeting also pointed out the need for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina’s election legislation, and he explained that the amendments should result in ensuring legitimate political representativeness.
The right to elect your representative is a pillar of every democracy and such a case should be also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I can’t see who would oppose the rights of Croats to have their representatives, he elaborated.
In this context, he reiterated his criticism of the current practice which has led to the situation that the Croats do not have their legitimate representative in the country’s three-member presidency.
He recalled that it is the constitutional obligation of the President of the Republic of Croatia to care for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“It is unacceptable to have Bosnia and Herzegovina as an area for the implementation of somebody’s experiment particularly detrimental to the local Croats,” he underscored
Milanovic will visit Vitez, Mostar, Ljubuški, Livno and Tomislavgrad on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
This is his first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in his capacity as the Croatian head of state.