The Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, has written a letter to Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic accusing him of irrevocably harming the relations between Bosnia and Serbia.Reacting to Nikolic’s statement in a Macedonian TV interview on Sunday that “the Bosnian state is disappearing before our very eyes,” Izetbegovic wrote on Tuesday that Nikolic had offended the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens.
“I am sorry to have to say it, but your words remind me of what the war crime defendant Radovan Karadzic said in 1991, that there will be ‘hell in Bosnia and the Muslim people will disappear,’” wrote Izetbegovic.
“Unfortunately this is not the first time you have made unacceptable remarks. Your denial of the Srebrenica genocide is an inhumane act that goes against civilization. Instead of apologizing to victims, you rudely insult them”.
On several occasions, most recently in his interview for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Nikolic stated that the murder of over 7,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica in July 1995 at the hand of the Bosnian Serb army was not genocide.
Izetbegovic said that because of Nikolic’s continued insults to the Bosnian people he has cancelled their planned meeting in November in Turkey.
“It is clear that you cannot challenge the truth about Srebrenica, which was confirmed by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but you have caused irrevocable harm to relations between Bosnia and Serbia,” said Izetbegovic.
The Bosniak member of the Bosnian tripartite presidency said that Nikolic’s statements do not further the goal of regional cooperation, but instead add to the tensions in the region.
“I want to reassure you that Bosnia and Herzegovina – an independent and internationally recognized state – will not disappear, neither swiftly nor slowly. However, slowly, each passing day, those who sought to destroy it are disappearing,” said Izetbegovic.
“Milosevic, Seselj, Karadzic and Mladic, and other criminals, are appearing before the courts. The truth about their crimes is known throughout the world and the hand of international justice, rest assured, will place a final seal on their actions”.
Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Vojislav Seselj are on trial before the Hague Tribunal for crimes during the Bosnian war, Slobodan Milosevic died in 2006 while he was on trial.
Tomislav Nikolic’s claim that Bosnia and Herzegovina is slowly dying is only the latest in a series of controversial public statements that he has made since taking office in June this year.
He has previously denied the genocide in Srebrenica, and called the Croatian city of Vukovar ‘a Serbian city’ where displaced Croats should not return.