Bosnia Wants Croatia to Stop Pelješac Bridge Construction

By 31 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 31, 2018 - Bosnian Council of Ministers Chairman Denis Zvizdić has sent a letter to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, asking that Croatia suspend the construction of Pelješac Bridge until the two countries settle the sea border issue, Zvizdić's office said on Monday.

In the letter, Zvizdić regretted that Croatia had not shown willingness to find through agreement appropriate solutions to the sea border issue, saying the beginning of construction was against the official positions of Bosnian authorities, international law and good neighbourly relations.

Zvizdić asked Plenković to understand the letter as a final appeal to him and the relevant Croatian authorities to initiate, in the spirit of good neighbourly relations, the suspension of all activities related to the construction of Pelješac Bridge until a bilateral agreement is reached on the rights and obligations of the two countries in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The letter has also been sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu, and European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

Zvizdić enclosed a timeline of the communication between representatives of the Bosnian and Croatian authorities in recent years, insisting on the position of the Bosnian Presidency of 2007 under which Pelješac Bridge should not be built without an agreement on the border.

Zvizdić said it was about Bosnia and Herzegovina's right to free and undisturbed access to international waters, which he said was a right of every maritime state under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. "Not one state can declare itself exclusively sovereign over a maritime public domain under the international law regime which, in this case, belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina."

He regretted that experts had not begun talks on the application of the Convention, saying Bosnia had appointed its team while Croatia had not.

Zvizdić said Croatia had acted unilaterally in the process leading to the construction of Pelješac Bridge, only informing Bosnia about it.