Miro Kovač i Dragan Čović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ MVEP/ ik

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.

Latest news

SpaceX plans to fly two passengers around moon, NASA involved

SpaceX is planning to fly two private citizens around the moon next year, the first manned trip to the Earth's only natural satellite in more than four decades, the private company said Monday.

Key congressman has 'no evidence' of Trump contacts with Russia

The chairman of the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said he is not aware of any evidence of improper contacts between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gambia's new President Barrow fires army chief

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow has sacked army chief Ousman Badjie, replacing him with a presidential military aide.

Star investor Buffett takes a bigger bite of Apple, doubling shares

Stock market guru Warren Buffett on Monday revealed that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway doubled its share of iPhone producer Apple stocks last month.

Minister: Erdogan not welcome in Austria for referendum campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not come to Austria to campaign to Turkish citizens living there ahead of a constitutional reform referendum in his country, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Monday.

Migrant group: Britain hits 'new low' by deporting grandmother

Britain has hit a "new low" by deporting a grandmother from north-eastern England to Singapore, a migrants' rights group said on Monday.

Turkish judge remands German reporter in custody

A Turkish judge remanded German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in custody Monday, according to newspaper Die Welt, sparking strong condemnation from the German government and rights organizations.

1.4 million people without water after deadly floods in Chile

More than 1.4 million people were without drinking water in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Monday following catastrophic flooding that left at least three people dead.

Serbia PM says no snap parliamentary election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that an early parliamentary election would not be held simultaneously with a presidential vote, although the state leadership had announced such a possibility.  

Trump touts 'security budget' with 10-per-cent defence spending hike

US President Donald Trump says he will present a "public security and national security budget" that hikes military spending by 54 billion dollars or about 10 per cent.

National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen fined for Roma comments

The founder of France's far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had a 5,000-euro (5,300-dollar) fine for inciting racial hatred and discrimination confirmed on appeal on Monday.

Croatia-Montenegro relations example for region, says minister

After meeting Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubisic in Podgorica on Monday, Montenegrin Defence Minister Predrag Boskovic said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro were very good and could serve as an example to other countries in the region.

Over 31,000 South Sudanese flee fighting and hunger to Sudan

Fleeing escalating fighting and famine in South Sudan, over 31,000 people have arrived in neighbouring Sudan so far this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Monday.

SDP urges gov't to pull statement making radical turn in human rights

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday called on the government to take a position on the Croatian foreign policy's turn in human rights, which it said was initiated by Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, and to withdraw a Foreign Ministry statement on that sent to Brussels.

Police says photoshopped photo of Milanka Opacic motivated by hate

An investigation has proved that a photograph showing Parliament Deputy Speaker Milanka Opacic wearing a shirt with four Cyrillic letters "S" (standing for "only unity saves the Serb", a popular motto and slogan in Serbia and among Serb nationalists) is a photomontage and the police suspect that publishing and distributing the said photo has been motivated by hate and intolerance.

Finance Ministry says didn't analyse HEP's readiness for IPO

The Ministry of Finance on Monday announced that it had not analysed the justification or the readiness of power provider Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) for an initial public offering with regard to a possible acquisition of Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

Berlin confirms murder of German hostage in the Philippines

Berlin confirmed on Monday the murder of a German hostage by the militant Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines with Chancellor Angela Merkel condemning the killing as "barbaric" and "abominable".

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.