Tuzla - Bosnia and Herzegovina is more than a partner and neighbour for Croatia and Zagreb will help it on its path towards the European Union, Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said in Tuzla, northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Monday. Tuzla was the first stop of Leko's two-day tour of that part of Bosnia, and the Sabor Speaker is also due to visit Brčko, Odžak, Orašje and Domaljevac.
During his visit to Tuzla, Leko met with Mayor Jasmin Imamović, and after the meeting the Croatian official said that his country could help Bosnia and Herzegovina by advocating its integration with the European Union. We can help (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in its efforts to become a functional democracy embracing EU standards, Leko said pointing out that Bosnia and Herzegovina was more than a partner and neighbour to Croatia. He congratulated Mayor Imamović for fostering excellent relations with several cities and counties in Croatia. "We believe it is an additional value in the Bosnia-Croatia relations and I praise Mayor Imamović for that," Leko said.
Leko, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), dismissed a reporter's remark that his visit to Tuzla and nearby towns could be interpreted as having a pre-election purpose given that Bosnia will hold general elections in two weeks' time. "Elections will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is an internal matter, and we have come to promote friendly relations and understanding," Leko said.
Imamović said that on behalf of residents of Tuzla he expressed gratitude for Croatia's fair and friendly attitude towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, as evidenced in its concrete support to Bosnia's efforts to join the EU under less strict criteria than those applied to Croatia. "This is a gesture of a friend" who is well acquainted with Bosnia and Herzegovina and "who is aware that there are some obstacles on that path for which citizens cannot be blamed," Imamović said. (Hina)