New BiH foreign minister announces harmonizing of foreign policy

NEWS 26.01.2023 18:34

Bosnia and Herzegovina's new Foreign Minister Elmedin Konakovic said on Thursday his first task would be to harmonise the country's foreign policy with the BiH Presidency, whose members have different positions on the aggression on Ukraine, attitude to the regime in Iran, the EU and NATO.

Konakovic, the leader of the People and Justice (NiP) party, said after taking office that he would hold a meeting “with members of the BiH Presidency to align their positions on BiH's foreign policy”.

His predecessor Bisera Turkovic said in a Facebook post she considered her term successful.

“The state institutions have been defended, as have progress and reforms. I'm proud of everything I did, both publicly and secretly,” said the former minister, a member of the Bosniak SDA party.

Her assessment is not shared by representatives of leading BiH Croat and Serb parties, who have accused her of abusing her post to promote Bosniak and SDA interests.

On two occasions in the past two months, Turkovic instructed BiH Ambassador to the UN Sven Alkalaj to abstain from votes to condemn the regime in Tehran. In early December 2022, she met in Sarajevo with her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, which was condemned by local human rights activists and Croat and Serb parties.

By having signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, BiH committed itself to align its foreign policy to that of the EU, but according to some critics, in the case of Iran, it departed from that policy.

The alignment of BiH's foreign policy with that of the EU will be even harder with regard to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, notably after Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik recently decided to confer a decoration on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zeljka Cvijanovic, a member of Dodik's SNSD party, sits on the BiH Presidency as its Serb member.

There is in principle a consensus on BiH's membership in the EU, however, the situation regarding membership of NATO is quite different because in that regard BiH Serb representatives follow the policy of Serbia, which is against NATO membership.


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