The Center in Banja Luka and the Highway as an Announcement of a larger Presence of Russia in BiH

The latest meeting between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) Foreign Minister, Bisera Turkovic (SDA), and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov in Sochi, as well as what followed, suggest a greater Russian presence in BiH.

This meeting, initiated by the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, confirmed that BiH does not have an institutional foreign policy, but that there are good and bad personalized relations between domestic and foreign politicians. Judging by her reaction after the meeting with Lavrov, the political relations between the two are very good.

Some in BiH blamed her for agreeing to talk with Russia’s foreign minister in Sarajevo in December last year, while presidency members Zeljko Komsic (DF) and Sefik Dzaferovic (SDA) denied him a meeting. Komsic and Dzaferovic stated at the time that they did so because Lavrov “does not respect BiH“.

A year later, after the meeting in Sochi, Turkovic confirmed that, as she said, a consensus had been reached on opening a Russian center in Banja Luka. According to her, a decision is expected to be made on opening Russian cultural and humanitarian centers in BiH.

A few years ago, one such Russian humanitarian center was opened in Nis, which further called into question Serbia’s declarative military neutrality. The mentioned center has a diplomatic status with the purpose of reacting in a humanitarian way in Serbia and other countries in the region due to extraordinary circumstances.

His opponents think that it is a means to achieve Russia’s geopolitical ambitions. The United States (U.S.) has also expressed concern.

Shortly after the December 28th meeting between the foreign ministers of BiH and Russia, State Minister of Communications and Transport, Vojin Mitrovic (SNSD) told that the construction of the highway from Sarajevo to Belgrade could be financed by Russia, not Turkey.

“The agreement defines that the project is financed by Turkey, but that is not exactly the case. Currently, funding was found from a Russian state agency and that was the task of the Turkish government, to secure funding. Certain conditions have been offered and I think talks have started on financing and loans from the Russian state agency, ” he explained.

Russia’s strongest geopolitical tool in its relations with BiH is the one that is most powerful in its relations with all other countries – gas. For some, joining BiH to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline is in Russia’s interests.

Political parties based in Sarajevo have been leaving the SNSD and its president Milorad Dodik for years to determine that the relations between Russia and BiH depend on his actions. There are no indications that this will be changed.

E. Dz.

Source: Klix.ba

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