News 25 Apr 12

Croatia and Bosnia Mull Solutions to Bilateral Disputes

Croatian and Bosnian officials on April 24 exchanged views on a range of outstanding issues, ranging from the Neum corridor to the port of Ploce and EU-standard border checkpoints.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Croatian officials on Tuesday presented Bosnia's Foreign Ministry with a range of solutions for outstanding disputes between the two countries.

Nebojsa Koharevic, Director General for Bilateral Affairs of Croatia, told Balkan Insight that he had discussed various possible solutions for unsolved bilateral issues.

“We discussed issue by issue what both sides consider open questions and we agreed some of our basic stands,” he said.

 

The easiest issue to solve, apparently, may be the Croatian corridor around the town of Neum, which separates Dubrovnik in southern Croatia from the rest of Croatian Dalmatia. As a result, Croats have to cross an international frontier coming in and out of the city.

Koharevic said his government had suggested a closed traffic corridor running on the north of Bosnian town of Neum.

“A special corridor would run across Bosnia and Herzegovina and people or goods would not step into the territory [of Bosnia] except through the corridor,” Koharevic told Balkan Insight. “The authorities in Sarajevo did not have any objections,” he added.

At the same time, the two sides concluded that some other, thornier issues may have to be left to trilateral negotiations between Bosnia, Croatia and the European Union.

Such sticky questions including the establishment of a third Border Inspection Post, BIP, between the two countries, which would serve to check that Bosnian products meet EU standards of export before they enter Croatia. [Croatia is due to joint the EU in 2013.]

Two BIPs are already agreed, but the Bosnian authorities say two checkpoints are not enough for all the Bosnian producers who export to Croatia.

Another problem that awaits final agreement is management of the port of Ploce in Croatia. A 15-year-old agreement foresees joint management of the port, which lies inside Croatia but in which significant parts of the infrastructure were financed by Bosnia for its own use.
On that basis, Bosnia claims it has a right to use the port as its own property.

“That issue will have to be discussed at a trilateral meeting,” Koharevic said.

Koherevic said that he hopes that in a a month's time the two governments will have clarified the issues that can be solved quickly.

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