Tags: Bosnia | Serbia | diplomacy

Serbian Leader Seeks to Rebuild Ties with Bosnia

Image: Serbian Leader Seeks to Rebuild Ties with Bosnia
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is welcomed by his Bosnian counterpart, Vjekoslav Bevanda, left, in Sarajevo on May 13.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 10:35 AM

The new prime minister of Serbia traveled to Bosnia on Tuesday, pledging to respect borders and rebuild ties that remain tense nearly two decades after the devastating conflict that tore the region apart.

"I arrived for a visit to Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina as a friend, as someone who represents a country that respects the territorial integrity of Bosnia," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters after meeting his Bosnian counterpart Vjekoslav Bevanda.

Vucic was on his first visit abroad since being named head of the Balkan country's new center-right cabinet in late April.

Serbia wants to "establish trust and ties that will be incomparably better in future with all Bosnian citizens. And I also expect that people of Bosnia wish to build the same relations of trust," he said.

"There is no need for a big love, but I believe that respect should exist," he added.

The Bosnian war of 1992-1995 pitted Croats, Muslims and Serbs against each other in the ethnically mixed country, and claimed some 100,000 lives.

War crimes were committed by all sides, but Bosnian Serbs with support from Belgrade were accused of some of the most brutal incidents, including the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995.

Relations with Serbia have gradually improved since the fighting ended, but a semi-independent Serb rump in Bosnia — called Republika Srpska — has left the country divided and its central government weakened.

Bosnian Serbs have repeatedly threatened to hold a referendum on secession from the rest of the country, and continue to rely on Serbia for political support.

Despite his call for closer ties with Sarajevo, Vucic is not expected to press for any changes to this dysfunctional set-up.

"No one can destroy Bosnia-Herzegovina as no one can destroy Republika Srpska," he said.

© AFP 2017

 
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The new prime minister of Serbia traveled to Bosnia on Tuesday, pledging to respect borders and rebuild ties that remain tense nearly two decades after the devastating conflict that tore the region apart.
Bosnia, Serbia, diplomacy
295
2014-35-13
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 10:35 AM
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