Rejection of visa liberalisation for Saudis sparks reactions in BiH

NEWS 31.05.2021 17:53
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Source: FENA

The main Bosniak party, the SDA, slammed the decision of the Bosnian Council of Ministers to reject the visa liberalisation for the nationals of Saudi Arabia, calling it “unreasonable and completely inexplicable.”

The party called out the ministers of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), who voted against the visa liberalisation, and said they “directly made harm to all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“While a rich state such as Switzerland is carrying out a campaign and inviting the Arab tourists to come to their country through the tourist organisation and embassy, the HDZ BiH is depriving BiH of millions of marks with its unreasonable decisions,” the SDA said on Monday, hours after the Council of Ministers session, stressing that the Croat party is “either consciously working against BiH tourism and jeopardising thousands of jobs or their decision is a product of Islamophobia.”

But, the Croat ministers explained the decision to vote against the visa liberalisation for these countries as an act of protecting the European path of BiH.

Justice Minister Josip Grubesa, a member of the HDZ BiH, said the party is not and will never hinder this process.

Grubesa also said they were following the European Union's position on this matter and recalled that Saudi Arabia nationals can freely enter BiH if they had valid visas for any EU member state or the USA.

Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic, who is the SDA member, accused the HDZ BiH ministers of missing a chance to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on the tourism sector.