Ankara, Jan 19 (IANS) Turkey and Serbia have agreed to bring together leaders of Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs in a bid to solve the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
“Let’s bring together three leaders of Bosnians, Croats and Serbs and accomplish this. We have come to this decision. This meeting may be in Belgrade, maybe in Istanbul,” Erdogan said after a meeting on Tuesday with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in the capital Ankara.
“After the elections in Serbia, we want to bring the leaders of this tripartite group together and hold a meeting where we can take steps to ensure the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the Turkish President said in a joint press conference with Vucic at the Turkish presidency, Xinhua news agency reported.
We “strongly and decisively” confirmed the importance they attach to the peace and stability of the Balkans, Erdogan noted, adding “Serbia’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is very important for the peace and stability of out region”
Elaborating on bilateral relations between Turkey and Serbia, Erdogan said the two countries increased their trade to $2 billion in 2021 with an increase of 34 percent, noting their goal is to reach $5 billion.
According to Erdogan, more than 1,300 Turkish companies operate in Serbia and employ about 8,000 people, and Turkey’s total investments in Serbia have increased from $1 million to $250 million in the last decade.
For his part, Vucic stressed stability and security in the region and underlined the importance of the Dayton Accords signed on December 14, 1995, in Paris that put an end to the three-and-a-half-year-long Bosnian war.
“I told President Erdogan that we are extremely respectful of the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Vucic said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has been de facto divided into the Serb Republic and a Muslim federation dominated by Bosnians and Croats since 1995.
The Balkan country has seen a separatist push since Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the country’s tripartite Presidency, stepped up moves to weaken the country’s Central government.