Tuesday, 15 June 2021

President Zoran Milanović: Reference to Dayton Was Opposed by Germany, Italy And Other States

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that the reference to the Dayton agreement in NATO's communique adopted on Monday had been opposed by Germany, Italy and some other Western countries, and added that possible changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina must not happen without Croatia and Serbia.

Milanović made the statement in Slovakia, where he participated in the GLOBSEC 2021 Forum and met with Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

He discussed with them the NATO summit held in Brussels on Monday, at which Croatia, Milanović said, managed to have a reference to the Dayton peace agreement (General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina) incorporated in the summit's closing declaration only after insisting on it for six days.

"That should not have happened, that should have been resolved a week ago. Somebody is against it, has a problem with the Dayton agreement and wants to dismantle it," Milanović said, adding that at the same time those countries were criticising the Serb BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik for violating the Dayton agreement.

"Something is not right about that way of thinking," he said.

Milanović noted that a number of countries - Germany, Italy and some other Western countries - had been opposed to mentioning the Dayton peace agreement in the communique.

"Western Europe - and I'm not talking about the leaders, definitely not about Angela Merkel, is acting foolishly, undermining one of the foundations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, regardless of how imperfect it may be, protects it against destabilisation," he said.

Criticism of German diplomacy

Milanović went on to say that talks on the communique had not been conducted by the German chancellor but by the German foreign ministry which, he said, was headed by a political camp different from Merkel's and one he felt close to, "namely by people who in their fantasy are prone to making silly experiments."

The current German foreign minister is Heiko Maas, a member of the Social Democrats who are part of the coalition government with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Some Western European countries advocate a so-called civic model for Bosnia and Herzegovina to replace the concept of three constituent peoples envisaged by the Dayton peace agreement. Commenting on that on Monday, Milanović said that "it sounds very noble but is actually a hoax."

"They should do it back at home. Bosnia and Herzegovina is as it is, we share a long border and we will soon have to guard it for the Schengen area," he said.

Milanović stressed that plans for Bosnia and Herzegovina could not be made "under the radar" and that any changes in the neighbouring country had to involve Croatia and Serbia, co-signatories to the Dayton agreement, adding that he had explained this to his Slovakian and Polish counterparts.

"That is how things are done in diplomacy, as far as I can remember. I used to be a diplomat and I never caused a scandal. Then I entered politics and in politics you have to cause scandals to be heard," he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Croatia About to Come into Conflict with NATO, Says Komšić

ZAGREB, 13 June, 2021 - Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Presidency member Željko Komšić said on Sunday Croatia was about to come into conflict with NATO after President Zoran Milanović said that he would not accept a NATO closing declaration if it failed to mention the Dayton agreement and BiH's three constituent peoples.

"Croatia is coming into conflict with NATO because it insists on the obsolete concept of constituent peoples," Komšić, who is the Croat member of the tripartite BiH Presidency, was quoted by the BiH Presidency as saying.

Komšić believes that Croatia does not have the power to block the principles of the declaration to be adopted at the end of a NATO summit to be held in Brussels on Monday.

"A country like Croatia can hardly prevent what is in NATO's interest, and it can even less do so by advocating what is contrary to NATO and EU standards," he added.

The European Court of Human Rights rulings regarding election reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the country's national programme of reforms, sent to NATO, prefer the quality of all citizens, Komšić said.

"NATO should now decide if it cares more about its standards and interests or the anti-NATO and anti-European standards of Croatian officials," Komšić said.

Croat parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina contest Komšić's legitimacy as the Croat member of the country's three-member presidency, claiming that he was elected predominantly by Bosniak voters.

The leaders of NATO's 30 member-states, including President Milanović, will gather in Brussels on Monday for a summit at which decisions on the alliance's reforms in the period until 2030 are expected to be made.

Milanović has said that he will not consent to the summit's closing declaration if it failed to mention the Dayton agreement, which put an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, and its three constituent peoples.

"I do not intend to return to Zagreb with that. It shows what kind of plans for Bosnia and Herzegovina some international circles have and Croatia will not agree to that," Milanović said.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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