Sarajevo - Croatia is not bringing any recipes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but wants to help its neighbour find a solution that will ensure the equal status of all three of its constituent peoples, Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said during a visit to Sarajevo on Thursday.
Discussions about the possible federalisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or establishment of a third entity, as could be heard in the Croatian Parliament recently, are part of democratic dialogue and the right of MPs to express their opinions, he added.
"It is not illegal for Croatia and the European Union to express their interest in the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina," Leko told the press, reiterating that Croatia would accept any democratic solutions agreed within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Leko arrived in Sarajevo on Thursday for a two-day official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will also include the southern city of Mostar. Speaking after a meeting with senior members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament, Leko said that Croatia was willing to share its experience from the EU accession process and that Bosnia and Herzegovina could benefit from it on its path to EU membership.
Croatia, the newest member of the EU, has the duty to help other Southeast European countries in their Euro-Atlantic integration and will do so without imposing its own views, Leko said.
The experience of national parliaments in the EU accession process was one of the main topics discussed in Sarajevo today. Croatia supports the principles of federalism that apply in the European Union as well as the February resolution of the European Parliament relating to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but its services will be based on arrangements proposed by official representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Leko said. He added that Croatia would represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EU responsibly. Leko said that Croatia's priority was to ensure peace and development potential in Southeast Europe.
Dragan Čović, Speaker of the House of Peoples, the upper chamber of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina would function as a normal state only after it ensured equal status for its constituent peoples - the Bosniaks, the Serbs and the Croats. "I am confident that Croatia as one of the guarantors of the Dayton Agreement also has its role. I am sad to see that the friendly position taken by Croatia is regarded as hostile by some," Čović said, citing criticisms in Sarajevo of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić's support for establishing a third, Croat-majority entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and of Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović's visit to Mostar early in February following social unrest in the city. "No one will come from outside to establish a third entity or build our economy for us," Čović said, adding that he and Leko agreed that Bosnia and Herzegovina's future lay in the European Union. He stressed that Bosnia and Herzegovina should resolve its own internal problems by itself.
Leko later travelled to Mostar.