Monday, November 5, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 5,2007) - Just when we might think that Bosnia and Croatia are turning a new page in a shared vision, someone throws a rock that splashes water in our eyes. Worse, it seems that the dispute is unnecessary, or even provoked for internal political polarization or "pork barrel" project .

This story does not require complex analysis. Croatia wants to connect its territories without access through Bosnia. However, Bosnia has not given any pause for Croatia to regret the current road system. Further, there are several other examples of where roads interconnect sovereign territory by transcending another state. The Benelux countries offer precedent.

Certainly if Croatia expects itself and Bosnia to be part of an expanded EU, then the current arrangement would seem to fit even better into that institution and provide better opportunities for integration.

Nonetheless, Bosnia cannot dictate to Croatia to be satisfied with the current arrangement. On the other hand the Croatian Prime Minister Senader cannot unilaterally move to an option that not only infringes on Bosnia's rights, but does so unnecessarily.

A tunnel rather than a bridge is less intrusive. Under international standards, Croatia cannot unilaterally opt for an option that has a direct impact upon Bosnia's rights, including access to the open seas. Further, Croatia has an obligation to offer the least intrusive option upon Bosnia. Again, there are many such examples in the context of international relations.

The tunnel is also the least expensive as well as feasible. A Croatian designer, Ivo Rudenjak, has put forth such a proposal before the Croatian Government of Prime Minister Senader. So why is the Croatian Prime Minister ignoring this option?

Senader cannot ignore this option. If he chooses to, then Bosnia has the alternatives and rights it should pursue under international law and through the appropriate international forums.

Also,the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak has a responsibility to vigorously assert and remind Croatia of Bosnia's right to territorial access to international waters. and Croatia's responsibility.

However, one still must ask why the Croatian Prime Minister Senader would ignore those options that are in line with legality, logistics and economics in favor of those that would seemingly pick a fight with Bosnia?

Does Senader or his supporters have a vested interest? It is hard to phantom that the Croatian Prime Minister Senader believes that he can benefit in internal elections from picking on Bosnia, especially when his attitude would reflect the crude abuse of Serbia's Prime Minister Kostunica.

In the end, Croatians must concern themselves about what they are being asked to pay. And,those accountable to and responsible for Bosnia must act to defend the Bosnian state's legitimate interests.

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