18 Jun 07

Bosnia May Sue Croatia Over Bridge to Dubrovnik

Sarajevo _ Bosnia and Herzegovina may take Croatia to the International Maritime Court in Hamburg if Croatia continues plans to build a bridge connecting the mainland to southern Dalmatia without signing a protocol with Bosnia.

Croatia’s recent opening of the tender for building the Peljesac bridge was done without the agreement of Sarajevo and “Bosnia might sue Croatia”, a member of the Bosnian Border Commission, Mugdin Cukle, said.

“Defining the maritime border between BiH and Croatia has not yet been finished and because of this all [Croatia’s] activities must be stopped immediately,” Cukle told Mostar daily, Dnevni List.

The two countries have been searching for a compromise for years on the subject of a bridge connecting the Croatian mainland with the Peljesac peninsula, connecting two southern territories that are divided by a 14-kilometre stretch of Bosnian coast.

Croatia wants to build the bridge in order to allow its citizens to reach the country’s southernmost areas, especially the city of Dubrovnik, without having to cross an international border.

But Bosnia protests that a bridge would prevent large ships from entering its only port at Neum, blocking Bosnia’s access to the sea.

“Obviously, we cannot forbid Croatia to build the bridge, but likewise they cannot prevent us from having free access to Neum,” Bosnia’s deputy communications and traffic minister, Veselin Poljasevic, said last week.

The Hrvatske Ceste (Croatian Roads) company, which launched the tender, said that bidding for the project, estimated to cost about 260 million euros, would open on August 28.

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