Croat Member of BiH Presidency showed he is “open to Dialogue with Croatia’s Leadership”

January 22, 2019 10:00 AM

The Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency, Željko Komšić, said on Sunday he was open to dialogue with Croatia’s leadership, who consider his election illegitimate, and that his country currently did not need the support of the Serb member of the presidency, Milorad Dodik, for the continuation of its journey towards NATO membership.

“As far as I am concerned, I don’t see any other way but for us to relax our relations through cooperation and talks,” Komšić said in a Croatian television current affairs talk show.

Komšić said that his country was interested in resolving issues concerning border demarcation and property relations and that the Croatian political leadership was welcome in Sarajevo in that regard. He noted that these issues should be resolved in such a way that neither party was damaged.

Speaking of the decision by dozens of predominantly-Croat municipalities and several cantons to declare him persona non grata because he had been elected the Croat member of the presidency thanks to Bosniak votes, Komšić said that this was “the policy of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).”

“If they don’t need me, and they need me more than I need them, those municipal services and mayors, fine, but I stand at their disposal,” he said. “As far as the Croats are concerned, and some of the Serbs too, they are certainly all aware that Bosnia and Herzegovina is their country. What politicians are saying is another matter,” he added.

Komšić advocates Bosnia and Herzegovina as a civic state and is against the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats being treated as constituent ethnic groups. He claims to be representing all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the same time, activists of the movement #SejdoKomsic is not my president, launched earlier this year, have announced protests for the 7th of every month to draw attention to what they call “the Bosniak’s imposition of Komšić as the Croat representative.” The movement was called after Sejdo Bajramović, a communist-era representative of Kosovo Albanians, whom the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic forced onto the Yugoslav federal presidency against the will of the Albanian people in Kosovo. More than 10,000 people took part in an anti-Komšić rally in Mostar.

Speaking of the constitutionality of the three largest ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, Komšić said that each group took from the constitution what suited them best. He said that the constitution was in many aspects illogical, but needed to be respected.

“Under the Bosnia and Herzegovina constitution, it is not just the Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs that are constituent. The constitution says that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country of Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, others and citizens, which shows that the architects of the Dayton agreement took everything into account and did not reduce Bosnia and Herzegovina to just three ethnic groups,” he said.

Komšić also noted that under the constitution the presidency members “are not representatives, but members of their ethnic group.” “I am a member of the Croat ethnic group, but under the constitution I have the obligation to represent all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he added.

He said it was absurd that the presidency should have three members, recommending a chancellor-style system with a single president being elected in parliament as is the case in Germany. He said he would rather have certain powers of the presidency transferred to the government, or the Council of Ministers, HINA reports.

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