News 11 Jun 13

Ex-Yugoslav Officials Appeal for Peace and Tolerance

Officials from around the former Yugoslavia met in Bosnia and appealed for reconciliation in the region to prevent the possibility of future conflicts.

Justice Report
Banja Luka
Banja Luka Confernece/Photo by BIRN

Officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia attended a conference entitled ‘Peace and Reconciliation: A Step Forward’ in Banja Luke, the capital of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska on Monday.

The conference, which was also attended by European officials and religious leaders, was opened by the speaker of Republika Srpska’s parliament, Igor Radojicic, who said that history has been marked by conflicts but that real progress always came through peace and reconciliation.

“One of the basic problems is a lack of communication. Under assumption that there is goodwill, it often seems that Sarajevo and Banja Luka differ not only in their political aims, but that they simply do not hear and understand each other,” he said.

Radojicic added that it was a great challenge in the region to build a society with threatening different cultures’ and ethnic groups’ identity and pride.

The speaker of the Serbian parliament, Nebojsa Stefanovic, said that Belgrade was dedicated to dialogue and respect for human rights, as well as the strengthening of regional cooperation.

“We have to talk about things that connect us, and not divide us, because if we only talk about past and poke each others in the eye, we won’t get far,” Stefanovic said.

Similar statements about the benefits of reconciliation and peace were also made by the speakers of the Bosnian and Montenegrin parliaments.

The event began on Sunday night with a joint prayer for peace at the cathedral of St. Bonaventura in Banja Luka.

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