Croatia's Foreign Minister Miro Kovac, who on Saturday visited Vitez, central Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the incumbent government in Zagreb would work on boosting the overall relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina which he described as Croatia's most important neighbour.

"Croatia wants to build strong friendly relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina," Kovac said pointing out the ethnic, traffic, economic and cultural bonds between the two neighbours, and emphasising that it is in Croatia's interest to see the stabilisation of Bosnia and Croatia and the survival of local Croats.

"We (in Zagreb) have opportunities to restructure the relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now we have opportunities to regulate and restructure those relations," said Kovac who attended ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of a business zone in Vitez. 

He said that it was "unbelievable" that for years the governments of the two neighbours had not held a joint meeting.

"We should have joint meeting of the governments of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on a regular basis so as to address our outstanding issues."

The Croatian minister praised Sarajevo for having submitted a request for a status of European Union member candidate.

He reiterated support to Croat communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"In a way we guarantee for Bosnia and Herzegovina," Kovac said recalling Croatia's support to Bosnia and Herzegovina's 1991 independence referendum and to efforts to survive during the war.

He went on to say that Croatia's role is not to act as a proxy for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and called on local Croats to decide themselves on the functioning of their country.

Kovac also spoke about importance of economic conditions and in that context he praised the Vitez business zone, established in 1996 immediately after the war by local Croat entrepreneurs.

The zone grew into one of major Bosnian business hubs, encouraged the return of both Croat and Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) refugees to their pre-war homes and helped them to mend their relations seriously harmed by the Bosniak-Croat conflict in the war.

Currently, 56 companies in the zone employ over 5,800 people. The turnover in the zone amounted to over 400 million euros in 2015.

Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency member and Croat leader Dragan Covic praised the establishment of the business zone in the aftermath of the war as a wonder. 

"This can also serve as a clear answer to challenges we are facing today," said Covic in Vitez.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.