Bosniak (Muslim) member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic claims BiH will recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
He told Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster in an interview that this should have been done before.
“As far as I’m concerned, Kosovo should have already been recognized. Now our colleagues will be angry, and our attempts to make it happen have only created problems inside BiH, without helping Kosovo,” Izetbegovic said.
When asked directly whether BiH would recognize Kosovo, Izetbegovic briefly replied, “Yes”.
The Kosovo prime minister several months ago urged BiH to do this, provoking immediate response from Serb representatives in BiH institutions.
BiH Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak said in late September that BiH would not only not recognize Kosovo – but would not even consider it.
The president of the Serb entity in BiH, the Serb Republic (RS), also confirmed that Kosovo would not be recognized.
“Without the consent of the RS, Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot and will not recognize Kosovo – since all parties in the RS have reached a consensus on this issue,” Milorad Dodik said.
“If the RS produces a second half, I think it will lose – I hope politically and not militarily,” Bakir Izetbegovic said during the same interview, apparently reaching for a sporting metaphor.
“This is not a country we would like to have, and which my father (Alija Izetbegovic) stood for, and which citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) deserve. But above all – it is a state that has survived. That is the first thing my father fought for,” Izetbegovic told Germany’s Deutsche Well, speaking about the situation in BiH.
According to him, with all of its problems, internal blockades and brakes – BiH is going in the right direction, but too slowly.
Asked what he would do “if the Serb Republic (RS, the Serb entity) goes the way of Catalonia” and declares independence, Izetbegovic replied: “I will do what all patriots in this country will do to defend what we gained the right to through the fight from 1992 until 1995, and even with the Dayton Peace Agreement itself.”
“Let’s turn the question around: how will they split BiH?,” asked the Bosniak member of the Presidency.
Izetbegovic said that “the Dayton Peace Agreement, history, the Constitution, as well as interests of countries in the Balkans, including Serbia” are on the side he represents.
“The interests of Europe – that there is no war in BiH, then in the Balkans, again, .because it got it once from this same city 103 years ago – is on our side. We will have all these powers on our side in order for such an adventure not to happen,” said Izetbegovic.
Speaking about the scenario under which the RS secedes, Izetbegovic said that “the majority will be on the side of defending the territorial integrity of BiH.”
“If they produce a second half, I think those who produce it will lose – I hope politically, not militarily,” he said.
During the interview, the Bosniak member of the presidency also spoke about “the issue of Sandzak (an area in southwestern Serbia), a third entity in BiH, and he was asked whether he is Erdogan’s man in the Balkans,” Deutsche Welle said on its website.