Andrej Plenković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic has said that improving the position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and a stable BiH making headway towards the European Union are in Croatia's strategic interest, and called on the international community to stop a referendum that has been announced by the Bosnian Serb entity.

Speaking to the Bosnian Vecernji List daily of Saturday, Plenkovic said that Social Democratic Party president Zoran Milanovic's statement about BiH "is harmful to the relations between the two states, notably the interests of Croats in BiH."

Milanovic said earlier this week that BiH was not really a state, that no one there could be trusted and that if the Serb entity held an independence referendum, Croatia would not leave Croats in BiH to live alone with Bosniaks.

Plenkovic labelled such statements as Milanovic's "dilettante foreign policy."

He said Croatia supports a reform of the BiH constitution based on values contained in the European Parliament's 2014 Resolution, which calls for protecting the rights and equality of the three constituent peoples in BiH. He said the rights of Croats in BiH and BiH's integrity were "the number one strategic foreign policy issue for Croatia."

"BiH must become a functioning state, ensuring the full equality of all three constituent peoples and citizens. That requires a constitutional reform based on the principles of federalism, decentralisation, subsidiarity and legitimate representation, as underlined by European Parliament resolutions," Plenkovic was quoted as saying.

He condemned the announcement of a referendum in Republika Srpska, BiH's Serb entity, saying this was a threat to BiH's sovereignty and integrity as well as to peace and stability in the region "because we can't rule out that the referendum in September will serve as an overture to a referendum on Republika Srpska's secession." He called on the international community to oppose the referendum.

Plenkovic said the September referendum on the official observation of Republika Srpska Day was taking place as the EU planned to send BiH a membership candidate questionnaire and that it would undermine BiH's aspirations.

He said Croatia would continue to closely watch the referendum developments and do its utmost to "protect the rights of the Croat people."

He also condemned politically motivated indictments against Croatian war veterans coming from Sarajevo, which allege that Croatia committed military aggression on BiH, saying such arguments falsified history and announcing countermeasures.

"The systematic raising of indictments against Croatian veterans which, in describing the crime, suggest the existence of a joint criminal enterprise and Croatia's aggression against BiH, is completely unacceptable," Plenkovic said, adding that the political qualifications in the indictments constituted the intimidation of Croatian veterans.

Plenkovic is visiting Mostar, southern BiH today to attend the presentation of the HDZ's candidates for the 11th constituency in Croatia's upcoming parliamentary election. Candidates in that constituency are elected by Croats living abroad.

Related stories

HDZ leader against Bosnian Serb entity referendum

Officials: Croatia supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty

Serb entity conducting referendum despite court ban

Plenkovic says his first visit abroad will be to Sarajevo

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."