kolinda grabar kitarović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ / lsd

Croatia is closely following developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is willing to help its neighbour on its journey towards the European Union and NATO, but solving internal issues is primarily the responsibility of Bosnia and Herzegovina's politicians, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in an interview with the Sarajevo-based "Dnevni Avaz" published on Friday.

The Croatian president said that the EU was negotiating with Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign country, and "the relations among peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be dealt with by legitimately elected representatives of the peoples."

Grabar-Kitarovic recalled that her country supported Sarajevo's decision to submit an application for EU candidate status in February and that Zagreb advocates NATO's more flexible approach towards Bosnia and the country's aspirations to join the alliance.

She reiterated that Croatia could help Bosnia on this path through technical assistance and the transfer of its know-how and experience from the negotiating process. She added that the two countries would sign a European partnership agreement and that Croatia would be Bosnia's best friend on that journey.

Following Britain's decision in a referendum to leave the EU, the Croatian president said that the referendum outcome would not affect Zagreb's efforts to advocate the EU's enlargement.

As for the status of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Grabar-Kitarovic said that "the creeping changes to the Dayton peace agreements made by the international community and the Office of the High Representative (OHR) have made Croats often under-represented, which is not conducive to Bosnia and Herzegovina's stability."

Grabr-Kitarovic announced a possibility of promoting trilateral relations between Croatia, Turkey and Bosnia as proposed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his recent visit to Zagreb. She said that would help strengthen the political stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that economic projects by Turkey and Croatia could provide a special boost that that process.

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