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news 18 Jun 13

Bosnia Belatedly Approves Croatia Border Deal

Bosnia's State Presidency approved a border deal with Croatia at the last moment, ahead of Wednesday's signing ceremony in Brussels.

Elvira M. Jukic

Bosnia's State Presidency held an urgent phone session on Tuesday and approved important border deals with Croatia, which is due to join the EU on July 1.

The Bosnian Prime Minister, Vjekoslav Bevanda, was nominated to sign the agreement in Brussels on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There were fears that the agreement might have to be put on hold after Nebojsa Radmanovic, the Serbian member of the tripartite Presidency, initially rejected the deal.

But he finally approved the agreements, which are important for citizens to be able to travel to Croatia after it becomes the 28th member of the EU in July.

Radmanovic said on Tuesday that he had consulted with the Republika Srpska President and Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik and Zeljka Cvijanovic, who had agreed that the proper procedures for naming members of the negotiating commission on the border had not been respected.

However, bearing in mind the looming deadlines - the ceremony is due on Wednesday - they agreed the border deal should be approved.

The European Commission on Monday urged an immediate solution to the logjam before the scheduled ceremony, which is to take place days before Croatia joins the EU.

“The European Union is expecting the signature of these important agreements on June 19 in Brussels,” a statement said. “We call on all competent institutions to find an urgent solution in the interest of their citizens.”

The agreement is crucial so that citizens and goods from Bosnia can enter Croatia after July 1, after which date Croatia's old border agreements with Bosnia will no longer apply.

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