Saturday, 18 June 2022

Cavusoglu in Favour of Meeting of Croatia, Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina Leaders

ZAGREB, 18 June 2022 - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Sarajevo on Saturday that Ankara would not allow new tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina, advocating a meeting of leaders of Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to help preserve the country's stability.

For the sake of Bosnia and Herzegovina's stability and development we are willing to support and participate in any bilateral and multilateral political, economic and other initiatives that are acceptable to all sides, and we constantly encourage them in that sense, the Turkish official said at a news conference he held together with his BiH counterpart Bisera Turković.

The proposal to hold a quadrilateral meeting was put forward earlier this week by the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Milorad Dodik, during a visit to Ankara.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is crucial to regional stability and therefore we cannot allow new tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cavusoglu said, noting that everyone should act responsibly.

Dodik has proposed that the stabilisation of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be discussed by the presidents of Turkey, Croatia and Serbia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Zoran Milanović and Aleksandar Vučić respectively, as well as by representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.

Turkey will support any format of talks and agreement if all political stakeholders in your country agree on it, Cavusoglu said.

He recalled that during his visit to Zagreb on Friday, he had made it very clear that Ankara would support all activities aimed at preserving Bosnia and Herzegovina's integrity.

Turkey respects the fact that Dodik is the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, he said when asked about his country's position on Dodik.

Whether you love him or not, Milorad Dodik is a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Cavusoglu said.

At meetings with Dodik, Turkey makes its positions on Republika Srpska's moves regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina's political and territorial integrity very clear, Cavusoglu said in an evident allusion to announcements by the Serb entity of the transfer of powers from the state to the entity level, which is seen as an attempt at secessionism.

Cavusoglu on Saturday held talks with his Bosnia and Herzegovina counterpart Bisera Turković, and the two ministers signed two agreements.

Turkey supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's integration with NATO and the EU, Turković stressed.

Cavusoglu also held separate meetings with Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency members Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović, and on Friday evening he met with the international community's High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, and the head of the country's Islamic community, Rais Husein Kavazović. He also visited the grave of the Bosniak wartime leader and Bosnia and Herzegovina's first president, Alija Izetbegović.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Parliamentary Parties Support Croatian-German Visiting Forces Agreement

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Croatian parliamentary parties on Friday welcomed the adoption of the law ratifying the Croatian-German Visiting Forces Agreement, with some expressing concern about the article on criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures.

The agreement concerns temporary stays of members of the armed forces of Croatia and the armed forces of Germany in the territory of the other state.

"We are concerned about the article on criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures, which narrows the right to exercise criminal jurisdiction over members of the armed forces of the sending state," Vili Matula of the Left-Green Bloc said during the discussion. "It is not clear to us why the receiving state should waive the right of broader criminal jurisdiction," he added.

The Left-Green Bloc generally supports bilateral defence cooperation with countries that have highly developed democratic standards and do not violate human rights, and when defence cooperation also includes forms of development assistance.

"Germany is one such country and we have no objections to this kind of cooperation," Matula said.

Arsen Bauk of the Social Democratic Party said that these are common provisions in agreements like this. "Without them, I doubt that any country would send its troops to another country. We, too, certainly would not want our soldiers, when deployed in a foreign country, to be tried under the laws of that country, in particular if that country has capital punishment or cuts people's hands off."

Bauk said that this agreement should be supported, because "if any problems arise in its implementation, there is a clear mechanism to fix them."

Katarina Peović of the Workers Front said that the agreement could perhaps have been improved, but that the Croatian parliament did not have a chance to do that.  She resented the emphasis being put on the fact that the agreement was being signed with a major European country, which she said was "pure self-colonialism".

"I don't see this agreement as servile, but as one laying the legal groundwork for cooperation, which is already excellent," said Domagoj Hajduković of the Social Democrats group, adding that the two countries have close bilateral defence cooperation and participate together in NATO and EU missions.

"Everything that applies to the Croatian armed forces also applies to the German armed forces," noted Zdravko Jakup, state secretary at the Ministry of Defence. "We are always responsible for our forces wherever they may be and no one can absolve us from such responsibility," he said, expressing satisfaction that the ratification of the agreement is before Parliament.

The agreement governs the type, scope and duration of stays, the terms of entry, exit and stay, public security and order, public health, criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures,  telecommunications, environmental protection, the operation of vehicles of the sending state’s armed forces and the use of the receiving state’s airfields, settlement of claims, exercises, and settlement of disputes.

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