Serbian president postpones first official meeting to Bosnia

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina postponed amid heightened tensions between the two countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic’s first official visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina planned for Tuesday has been delayed, according to an  announcement from the Presidency of Serbia on Monday, Tanjug reported.

In the statement, the Serbian presidency stressed that the request to postpone the visit came from the Muslim Bosniak presidency member of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic.

Izetbegovic’s suggestion came after the arrest of wartime Bosniak commander Naser Oric, which has raised tensions between the two countries.

Swiss police arrested Oric, the former commander of Srebrenica,  on June 10 at the Thonex-Valland crossing between Switzerland and France due to a warrant issued by Interpol in February 2014, claiming Oric is wanted for allegedly killing nine Serb civilians in the villages of Zalazje and Donji Potocari, in the Srebrenica area, on July 12, 1992.

Additionally, the decision comes amid fresh tensions between Belgrade and Sarajevo over the United Kingdom’s initiation of a resolution in the United Nations on the UN’s failure to prevent the genocide in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 1995.

However, the Serb member and chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency, Mladen Ivanic, who is currently serving an eight-month term as president, said that there is no need for a postponement.

“I believe that this is not good; it brings us many steps back and can create a bad atmosphere. There is no one person who can be a reason for the deterioration of relations between the two countries,” the Independent Balkan News Agency cited Ivanic as saying.

Ivanic also told reporters that all open questions between the two countries can be solved through dialogue, which is key for issues like this one.

The Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina is instead believed to be planning to reschedule Nikolic’s first visit to the end of this week.

Nikolic, who was elected as the president of Serbia in 2012, has not visited the neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina in his three years in power.

TRTWorld and agencies