Serbian-Croatian relations will be much better in the future because there are no substantial obstacles to that, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and the Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Dragan Covic, said after their meeting in Belgrade on Thursday.

"We have both expressed the hope and conviction that Serbian-Croatian relations will be much better in the future and that there are no substantial obstacles to such a development in the Balkans," Vucic told a joint press conference.

Covic said that relations between Serbia and Croatia would be much better very soon, noting that the election campaign in Croatia would end next week. He said that many people had scored political points by raising tensions in relations between Zagreb and Belgrade in recent weeks.

Covic said that this region "has a future", that "there are a lot of things that bring the nations together" and that he hoped "there will not be many things that set them apart."

"It is true that we have different views on the past and we will hardly change them, but that is exactly why it is important to talk about future relations," Vucic said, stressing that this should be achieved through "sincere dialogue, as well as good economic cooperation".

"We want good relations between Serbs and Croats," Vucic said. He added that the good cooperation between Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina would continue and that this was "good and important in times of not too enviable stability."

Speaking of the decision by Serbia's leadership not to support a planned referendum in the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vucic said that Serbia had not exerted any pressure on the Republika Srpska authorities in that regard nor would it try in any way to influence their decision on whether the referendum would be held or not.

The referendum on whether January 9 should be celebrated as Republika Srpska Day or not, is set for September 25.

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in a television interview that the distancing of the highest Serbian officials from the referendum plan was a positive move, expressing hope that the vote would not be held eventually.

"We welcome the decision by the authorities in Serbia to distance themselves from the plan of Republika Srpska leaders to hold the referendum," Kovac told the Sarajevo commercial television channel TV1 by telephone from Potsdam.

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