After the Embassy of Austria in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to celebrate its national day three times on three different places in BiH, on October 25 in Banja Luka, October 26 in Sarajevo and October 17 in Mostar, by organizing three separate diplomatic receptions for three sets of invitees, the Ambassador of Austria to BiH Martin Pammer denies the political connotations of such decision.
Pammer said for Al Jazeera that the diplomatic reception will be held only in Sarajevo, and that the Mostar and Banja Luka events and a concert will be exclusively that, a concert, without diplomatic receptions.
“There are many people who wanted to come to the concert in Sarajevo, but because of the long traveling we decided to offer something outside of Sarajevo as well. Diplomatic reception on the occasion of the holiday will be held only in the Sarajevo City Hall. That has no political connotation at all. Austria has a clear attitude and we see BiH as a federal country, as the only and sovereign country that will undoubtedly enter EU as a single country,” said Pammer.
Pammer added that this is entirely normal, because the Embassy of Austria in the year of culture organized several events outside Sarajevo.
However, the Embassy of Austria sent identical invitations to different invitees for receptions in Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka. All invitations say that it is an official reception and concert on the occasion of the Austrian national holiday.
Kenan Ešref Rašidagić, professor of international relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, says that the decision by the Embassy of Austria is unprecedented and very concerning, regardless of the additional explanations.
“Taking into consideration the peculiarities of the BiH society, the Ambassador and his government should have known that such decision will not be accepted in the part of BiH society that sees BiH as their homeland. The decision is wrong, especially when you look at the invitations that are identical, and one can conclude from them that the Embassy is organizing three separate events on the occasion of the same holiday,” said Rašidagić.