News & Analysis

Croat president causes stir with Bosnia comments

Croatia’s president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, might have started a diplomatic incident after she claimed that Bosnia and Herzegovina is an unstable country controlled by militant Islam.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is very unstable, and has in some respects been taken over by people who have connections with Iran and terrorist organisations,” she said during a meeting with her Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin, according to local media.

“I’m sorry that the Croatian president is continuing with propaganda at the expense of BiH, stating brutal untruths,” the Croat member of the Bosnian presidency, Željko Komšić, commented afterwards. “However, when it comes to these imputations, it seems this is not the exception but the rule in Grabar-Kitarović’s attitude towards BiH.”

“Such perseverance in propaganda against BiH only additionally strengthens our belief that it is the services of the Republic of Croatia that wish to stage in BiH something which would damage the reputation of our state, closing its door to NATO and EU membership, and thereby bringing its survival into question,” he added.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said he does not consider BiH as an unstable country.

“In BiH, you have a significant international presence, including EUFOR under Operation Altea, as well as many other international organisations, but that does not mean that the country itself is weak,” Mr Wigemark explained.

Mrs Grabar-Kitarović, for her part, denies causing offence.

“I spoke with President Rivlin in the context in which I talk about Bosnia and Herzegovina and our other neighbouring countries. And what, after all, I said at press conferences before meeting President Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is that I want to see our neighbouring states as soon as possible in the EU,” she said.