Developed good-neighbourly relations between Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are important for these countries and for the development of the region and progress in Euro-Atlantic integration processes, the presidents of the four countries, Stjepan Mesic, Filip Vujanovic, Boris Tadic and Nebojsa Radmanovic respectively, said in a joint statement on Thursday at the 14th session of the Igman Initiative held in Milocer in Montenegro.
The four presidents said they would be committed to facing the truth about the events from the past. The presidents said they would accelerate the work on creating conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons, adding they expected a continuous support from the international community.
"We will not allow individuals or institutions at a lower level to actively or passively undermine the political will at the highest level to enable the return of refugees and displaced people," read the joint statement adopted at the regular annual meeting of the Igman Initiative which is also attended by heads of the missions of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe from Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
The four heads of state said they would create conditions in which national minorities would be able to nurture their culture and integrate with the society of the country they live in. They also said they would establish full and permanent cooperation in preventing organised crime and terrorism and cooperation with relevant international organisations. We will encourage the strengthening of capacities of our countries and the adjustment with the legislation, practice and bodies of the European Union and other institutions," said the statement adopted at the session called "The Countries of the Dayton Agreement on the Path to the European Union - Results and Obstacles".
Mesic, Vujanovic, Tadic and Radmanovic said they would support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, so that those indicted be brought to justice and so that guilt for war crimes be individualised.
"We will secure conditions and support for efficient and just processing of war crimes before national courts," the four presidents said. They added they would invest efforts so that all barriers to free movement of people and goods between the four countries could be removed. Serbian President Tadic did not attend the event due to previous engagements, but he signed the joint presidential statement earlier.
At the two-day presidential session of the Igman Initiative that started on Thursday afternoon near Budva, Mesic stressed that one should not fear European prospects because it is the process of Europe's unification and it cannot be completed and wrapped up without the Southeast of the Old Continent.
Underlining that this process depended on meeting European standards and criteria, Mesic said Croatia made the greatest progress on that path, adding that negotiations with the bloc were proceeding well.
The Igman Initiative is a movement launched in Zagreb in 2000 and it gathers more than 100 NGOs from the Dayton Triangle. Participating organisations agreed to institutionalise their activities that aimed to establish and normalize relations among the three countries. Founded by the Center for Regionalism (Novi Sad, SaM), the Forum of the Democratic Alternative BiH (Sarajevo, BiH) and the Civic Committee for Human Rights (Zagreb, Croatia), the Igman Initiative was established with financial support from Freedom House, which continues to provide funding for nearly all Igman Initiative projects today.