Lavrov to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for settlement talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday, in order to discuss the Bosnian settlement and bilateral relations between Russia and the Balkan state with its top officials, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Andrei Nesterenko said the Russian foreign minister will meet with his Bosnian counterpart Sven Alkalaj and other country’s top officials during his stay in Sarajevo.

The spokesman said Russia, as one of the guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement, signed after the end of the Bosnian civil war in 1995, actively contribute to its implementation.

“We call for the strict implementation of the Dayton principles of state regulations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for its unity and territorial integrity, and for the increase of effectiveness of its central government bodies,” he said, adding it was necessary to maintain “the status and powers of the two entities”, as well as equality of Serbs, Croats and Muslims living in the country.

In 1992-95, Bosnia and Herzegovina witnessed over three years of war between the country’s rival ethnic groups (Serbs, Croats and Muslims), following the break-up of Yugoslavia. The conflict, which claimed over 100,000 lives, ended in December 1995 with the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Soon after the end of the war, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to give a mandate to international organizations to oversee the peaceful implementation of the agreement.

Since then, the country has been split in two entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska, with the power divided between the two rivals.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday’s talks will also focus on the strengthening of bilateral ties between Moscow and Sarajevo, adding progress has been made in the sphere, including the development of business, cultural, scientific and humanitarian cooperation between the two states.

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