Thursday, October 25, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 25,2007) - Croatia started building a coastal bridge in the southern Adriatic yesterday despite protests from neighboring Bosnia, which has threatened to launch a lawsuit to stop it.

The Peljesac bridge is meant to link the southern Croatian city of Dubrovnik with the rest of Croatia and bypass a small sliver of the coast that belongs to Bosnia.

Croatia controls most of the eastern side of the Adriatic but drivers on its scenic coastal road face two customs and border controls while passing through Bosnia's 12-km (7 miles) stretch of territory.

Bosnia wanted to determine the sea border of the two former Yugoslav republics before the bridge project started.

"Bosnia is not opposed to Croatia's sovereign right to link parts of its territory but this cannot be done in a way that violates Bosnia's rights and interests," said a statement from a member of the Bosnian Presidency, Haris Silajdzic, issued in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday.

"The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry has informed the Croatian Embassy in Bosnia that Bosnia keeps the right to launch a suit before an international court or arbitration body," Silajdzic stated.

All members of the Bosnian Presidency disapprove of the bridge. The Bosnian Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, said "serious talks about borders between Bosnia and Croatia and the Peljesac bridge should start only after (Croatia's) elections".

"Croatia has respected Bosnia's right to have access to their waters...and we are building the bridge on Croatian territory," the Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said.

But,the Croatian President Stjepan Mesic urged the Croatian Government to rethink.

"The worst and the most costly thing would be to start building and then stop, because of a legal dispute. That's what I am afraid of," Mesic said.

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