Bulgaria Backs EU Integration of Bosnian Serbs

Diplomacy | May 13, 2010, Thursday // 18:56|  views

Bulgarian Foreign Minister (left) with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik in Banja Luka. Photo by Foreign Ministry

Bulgaria will help the Republic of Srpska overcome the obstacles Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing in its quest to join the EU, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov stated.

“We are glad that with our visit here, we can see other viewpoints. But what is more positive is that the Euro-Atlantic integration is supported across Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Mladenov said during his visit to Banja Luka, the capital of the Republic of Srpska (the Serb Republic), the autonomous state of the Bosnian Serbs.

At his official meeting with the Serb Republic's Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik Thursday, Foreign Minister Mladenov expressed Bulgaria's eagerness to work with all countries from the region of the Western Balkans.

According to the Bulgarian Minister, European integration is crucial for the Balkan countries aspiring to achieve better life for their citizens.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina's future will be without a High Representative but with an enhanced dialogue within the country and in the context of the EU integration,” said the PM of the Republic of Srpska, reiterating his known position for the elimination of the Office of High Representative for Bosnia (OHR), the post established as part of the Dayton peace agreement ending the 1992-95 war.

Bosnian Serbs as a whole see the High Representative as a challenge to their goal of greater independence from Bosnia's current federal structure.

Dodik emphasized that there is no threat for the territorial and constitutional entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also confirmed that the Dayton Agreement is not under question.

Minister Mladenov expressed his eagerness to share Bulgaria's experience, positive and negative, with Banja Luka, as well as with Sarajevo, the federal. He also stated Bulgaria will support eventual EU visa liberalization for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After his formal state meetings, Mladenov delivered a lecture to law students from the Banja Luka University.

On Wednesday, the Bulgarian Minister met in Sarajevo with his Bosnian counterpart, Sven Alkalaj, as part of his Western Balkans diplomatic tour. On Friday, Mladenov will continue his tour in Albania.

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Tags: Foreign Minister, Republika Srpska, Nikolay Mladenov, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, Western Balkans, Banja Luka, Bosnian Serbs


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