European integration is the key to the stability of the entire region and, therefore, a genuine interest of all Southeast European countries, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic said in Sarajevo on Thursday. "What worries me is that there are still forces that think the architecture of this region has not been finished and that there is still a chance to achieve some goals that could not be achieved through war.
We must say that European and world mechanisms are clear that the architecture of this region has been completed and that now we must cooperate on the entire region's road to Europe," Mesic told a news conference after meeting Bosnian Presidency members Zeljko Komsic and Haris Silajdzic.
This was President Mesic's farewell visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina before the end of his second term in office at the end of the year. The Bosnian Presidency's third member, Nebojsa Radmanovic, did not attend the meeting so he could attend Patriarch Pavle's funeral in Belgrade. Commenting on Croatian-Bosnian relations, President Mesic reiterated that they were good but that there were some outstanding issues, such as the border, the construction of Peljesac Bridge, property rights relations, and some in economic cooperation.
President Mesic said the Croatian-Bosnian Cooperation Council had not convened in a long time, although it was supposed to help resolve outstanding issues based on instructions from the two governments. President Mesic reiterated that Croatia was firmly interested in Bosnia-Herzegovina's stability and that it would help it join NATO as soon as possible, since it was closer to NATO than to European Union membership. "That would also be a strong message to the entire region," he said. Komsic and Silajdzic thanked President Mesic for everything he had done in his two presidential terms.
"President Mesic has done a lot both for his country and for Croatian-Bosnian relations," said Komsic, confirming there were no significant differences between the two countries regarding key regional issues. Silajdzic said President Mesic had been an "authentic democratic voice of the entire region" during his two terms. "He has been trying to say the whole time that a united Europe is also a catalyst for the unification of this region," he said, appealing to Croatia to do all in its power to help Bosnia-Herzegovina get an invitation to join NATO's Membership Action Plan in December, as the last step on the road to NATO membership. President Mesic will stay in Sarajevo until Friday, when he is scheduled to attend the Sixth Regional Economic Forum.