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BiH – Relations with Serbia in deep trouble after arrest of former senior FBiH official

BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turković summoned BiH Ambassador to Serbia Aida Smajić, again in the country for consultations, the cabinet confirmed to N1 TV on Monday.

N1 explains that, in practice, this could mean the possible withdrawal of the BiH Ambassador from Belgrade. Ambassador Smajić was invited to consultations on the occasion of the arrest on Sunday of the former senior official of the Federation (FBiH) unit of the Police Administration, Edin Vranj, on the border between BiH and Serbia.

Ambassador Smajić told N1 Monday morning that Edin Vranj was transferred to the Belgrade War Crimes Department detention unit.

The ambassador requested that they visit him as well as a meeting with the acting prosecutor, but they said they were awaiting a response.

This case caused another deep crisis in relations between the two neighboring countries. Serbian authorities arrested Vranj on war crimes charges. Vranj managed to send a text message to a journalist from the Istraga.ba portal before taking his mobile phone.

“I was just arrested in Priboj at the Uvac border crossing and they are taking me to Belgrade for war crimes,” he wrote.

Journalists also managed to get a brief statement from Vranj.

“I am currently at the police station in Priboj. I went privately to Serbia, to Sandzak, when I came to the Uvac border crossing – I was arrested. I expect my phone to be removed at any moment. “Try to warn the BiH embassy,” Vranj told reporters Sunday afternoon.

In March 2014, Glas Srpske reported that the BiH State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) had submitted a report to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office against Vranj, who served as head of the FBiH Criminal Police Sector for years, as well as former the director of the Directorate for Coordination of BiH Police Bodies, Himza Selimović, and 112 people suspected of war crimes allegedly committed in Gorazde.

Glas Srpske said at the time that Vranj had been reported as a suspect in committing war crimes in the towns of Strmica and Međeđa. BiH prosecutors did not file any indictments and the investigation was terminated in 2018. However, after that, the Prosecutor’s Office in Serbia issued an arrest warrant for Vranj.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to BiH, Aleksandar orgorjeevi nuk, did not respond to the call of the President of the Presidency of BiH, Zeljko Komçiiç, on Monday morning. This is the first time since the war that an ambassador of a state in BiH refused to come to the meeting in the Presidency of BiH, N1 learned.

Orgorjeevi tha said that he did not refuse to come to the meeting as stated by Komçiiç’s cabinet, but that he was invited to a very short announcement which he could not make.

According to him, Komcic’s cabinet called the Embassy at 10 am, asking him to come to the meeting at 11 am on the same day, without mentioning the topic of discussion. After his secretary said he would not do it so early, the cabinet called again saying it would look bad if it did not.

“I respect the host country of BiH. “I notice that the way of communication in diplomatic circles is very accurate and that I know the protocol of the BiH Foreign Ministry very well and that I implement it professionally,” said Ambassador Djordjevic.

He also notes that some allegations of the internet portal that he refused to attend the meeting were inaccurate, malicious and intended to create concerns towards the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Sarajevo.

The Komšić cabinet also confirmed that the departure of Željko Komšić, as well as Šefik Džaferović at the Non-Aligned Summit on the 60th anniversary of the first conference of the Movement, to be held by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, was canceled due to this arrest.

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