Transport minister says Komsic's statements about Peljesac Bridge not good

ZAGREB, 10.10.2018.
Croatia's Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Oleg Butkovic said in an interview with Croatian Radio (HR) on Wednesday that the Peljesac Bridge had been designed on the basis of consultations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and that construction work on it would continue, as well as that statements that Bosnia and Herzegovina would sue Croatia over the project were not good.

Asked to comment on statements by the newly-elected Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite state Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, that Bosnia and Herzegovina will sue Croatia over the Peljesac Bridge project with the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Butkovic said that Komsic's statements were "absolutely not good" and were not in the spirit of what both countries wanted - conciliatory and good neighbourly relations.

"It is well known that Croatia discussed and agreed the bridge's properties with Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the initial project, the bridge was to be 150 metres high and was to have a narrower navigation corridor.". - minister Butkovic said, adding that Croatia accepted Bosnia and Herzegovina's proposal that the bridge should be 200 metres high and have a wider corridor.

"All of that was written down and based on that the Peljesac Bridge was designed, so it can't be said that we were not in touch and did not discuss the matter. The claim that the Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement or the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not being honoured is not correct. The agreement is being honoured even though it was not ratified by the Croatian parliament. Under that agreement, the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is 500 metres away from the location where the Peljesac Bridge is being built.". - said the minister Butkovic.

He went on to say that Komsic's statement that the Peljesac Bridge would be on Bosnia and Herzegovina's territory if the agreement between the two former presidents was honoured, proved that Komsic was not familiar with the matter: "Maybe he was carried away by the election euphoria. We'll see when the passions cool down. I don't know what Bosnia and Herzegovina will do, it may or may not sue us, we'll see. We are open to talks and are willing to show them the relevant documentation.". - said minister Butkovic, adding that he had shown the documents to Bosnia and Herzegovina Transport Minister Ismir Jusko on several occasions. He noted that the construction work on the bridge was continuing, that funds had been secured, and that test work had been completed.

Minister Butkovic also said that more intensive work on drilling a pilot hole would start in mid-December and that the Hrvatske Ceste road operator would very soon make a decision on the selection of the company for the second stage of the project, i.e. the construction of access roads.
"We are carrying on with the project. We are not denying Bosnia and Herzegovina the right to innocent passage for all vessels sailing from the port of Neum to Croatia's high seas. Bosnia and Herzegovina has that right, the bridge's properties allow for the passage of all vessels to the port of Neum and I don't see any problem in that regard.". - said minister Butkovic in his conclusion.