Croatian FM says Bosnian Serb entity referendum unacceptable

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said on Wednesday that a referendum in the Bosnian Serb entity scheduled for September was not acceptable to Croatia and that Croatia expected Serbia's authorities to urge the entity leaders to scrap the referendum.

Croatia is a co-signatory to the Dayton peace agreement and as such wants Bosnia and Herzegovina to survive as a state, to progress towards European Union membership, and for Bosnian Croats to be an equal and constituent nation, Kovac said.

"All that is incompatible with any referendums on the independence and secession of Republika Srpska. That's unacceptable to us and we expect Serbia's state leaders to exert the appropriate influence on the Republika Srpska leaders and talk them out of such plans," Kovac said.

Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will meet with the entity's political leaders on Thursday to discuss the referendum on Republika Srpska Day, scheduled for September 25. The Peace Implementation Council for Bosnia has urged the entity authorities to scrap the referendum.

Kovac today chaired a meeting of the government's commission following the implementation of transitional benchmarks in policy chapters 23 and 24 in Serbia's accession negotiations with the European Union.

The commission met for the first time in late July and today summed up the tasks set at that meeting, Kovac told reporters.

The Croatian Justice Ministry has requested the relevant Serbian ministry to resume providing information, in line with the commitments undertaken, which it stopped doing in 2011, said Justice Minister Ante Sprlje, who attended today's meeting.

"All we ask for is what Serbia committed to, the exchange of information," Sprlje said, adding that Croatia complied with its commitments.

Croatia, all other EU member states and the international community expect Serbia to comply with the demands of the Hague war crimes tribunal, Sprlje said, referring to the extradition of wanted citizens and the alignment of regulations with those of the UN court.

Kovac said that "this Croatian government and Croatia as a state are not taking part in fruitless discussions and attacks to which we as a country are being subjected by Serbia."

"We are not convening the diplomatic corps, we are not attacking Serbia with references from history and World War II, but want to cooperate normally, based on good neighbourly relations and in the European spirit," he said, adding that Croatia wanted Serbia to start complying with its obligations and that Croatia was willing to help it in that.

Last update: Wed, 31/08/2016 - 17:23
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