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Gas Pipeline Dispute in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Members of the Presidential Council of  Bosnia and Herzegovina are at odds over pipeline connection projects to supply the country with natural gas.

Political discussions continue in the country on the Eastern Connection project, which will provide additional Russian gas supply via Serbia, and the Southern Connection project, which will increase Bosnia and Herzegovina’s energy diversity through Croatia and reduce its dependence on Russian gas. 

In Republika Srpska, one of the two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, authorities insist on the Eastern Connection, while the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) defines the Southern Connection pipeline project as the national interest of Bosnian Croats.

According to the news of the Tanjug Agency, the President of the Presidential Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbian member Zeljka Cvijanovic claimed that the blocking of the Eastern Connection project made Bosnia and Herzegovina pointless as a state. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said he could not understand why such a development project was being blocked.

Bosnian Serb leaders had previously announced that if the project was not approved, they would also block all projects in the Bosnian-Croatian entity Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH).

HDZ changed its stance

The natural gas connection line to be built between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia was approved by the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 2021, but the plan could not be implemented due to the opposition of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic demanded that the project be managed by a company in Mostar, not Sarajevo-based BH Gas, HDZ changed its stance and unblocked the project.

Both gas pipelines require the approval of the Presidential Council as they are cross-border projects.

Komsic: “They want us to be dependent on Zagreb instead of Russia”

Speaking to Hayat TV, Croatian Member of the Presidency Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic, said that they were asked to depend on Zagreb for energy, not Russia. Komsic said, “This gas line will extend as far as Travnik and meet the Southern Connection here. It is not important where the natural gas will pass, but under what conditions it will pass,” he said.

Stating that the promises made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmedin Konakovic for the construction of the South and East connection lines are futile, Komsic said that the Presidential Council will have the final word on this issue, and said, “Make a national law on natural gas, let’s talk about the East and South connection lines after that. If the contractor for this work on the Southern Line was BH Gas, there would be no problem. But HDZ is taking this job from BH Gas company without any legal basis. Some things need to be regulated by law. They tell us that we are dependent on Russian gas, and that’s true, but on the one hand, they tell us to block the supply of gas to Republika Srpska via the Eastern Connection, and on the other hand, we need to replace this dependency with a dependency on Zagreb and the central region of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Becirovic also called for a new law

Along with Komsic, Bosniak member of the Presidential Council, Denis Becirovic, also called for the adoption of a law that will create a national framework for the execution of natural gas pipeline projects.

The issue regarding the East and South connection line projects is expected to be discussed by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the coming days. 

Source : Balkan News