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Minister Turković: Crisis and economic diplomacy go hand in hand

Text: Bisera Džidić, Photo Archive

SARAJEVO, April 16 (FENA) - All relevant indicators show that Bosnia and Herzegovina is coping relatively well with the challenges of the crisis. In relation to our existing capacities and projected needs, I think we have made a good step forward in organizing international assistance programs, not only to procure the medical equipment and tests necessary for our health care facilities, but also to provide economic assistance packages for the recovery of our economy after the completion of pandemic and restoring the lives of our citizens, companies and institutions to "normal", Deputy Chairperson of the BiH Council of Ministers and BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turković said in an interview with FENA.

She notes that there are media reports that some countries in the region have received "more" assistance in relative terms than BiH, especially from countries that traditionally relate to friendship and cooperation primarily with our country.

“However, I believe that apart from friendship, it is necessary to include in the equation some other interests that donors have in these countries, which were neglected in the previous period in BiH. These interests need to be revived, but it requires hard and dedicated work of all stakeholders in the process, not just in times of crisis. Crisis diplomacy is closely linked and often builds on economic diplomacy, which is something that many actors and institutions in BiH have not taken into account in the past,” said Minister Turković.

Commenting the context of the pandemic crisis, the expectation of assistance and confirmation in these times of interstate friendships, and the question of building political relations for the future, the BiH Foreign Minister says that in some cases it is really about confirming friendships, but it is also about building new ones, as well as solidarity, which has nothing to do with aid projects, but rather attempts to establish some (new) power relations.

“In the context of this crisis, I can only emphasize that any sincere intention or concrete support to our country is always welcome. I am aware that we are in extraordinary circumstances and that the efforts of each actor in process of gathering assistance are of utmost importance to all of us, but I also believe that this should certainly not be an excuse or justification for seeking help beyond the agreed communication channels in which all relevant actors participate, much less that it is distributed through channels that do not conform to our constitutional competencies or which have not been previously agreed upon by all actors, past principles and practices in international relations, and especially not in a competitive, non-cooperative spirit but create divisions and tensions in the process,” says Minister Turković.

Referring to the fact that friendships, bilateral and multilateral, can help in these difficult times, the Minister emphasizes that true friends know each other in distress.

“And the best friends are there when they need help too. In this context, I would particularly like to emphasize the help and support that we have received in these difficult times from our long-time friends and partners of the European Union, the USA, Norway, Turkey, Malaysia and many others, who responded immediately by sending the necessary medical and other equipment for our institutions,” explains Minister Turković.

Summarizing the activities that are intensively taking place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she emphasizes the prompt and adequate institutional response to the new situation and the establishment of a crisis center.

“Also organizing online video briefings for foreign embassies and international organizations based in BiH and for ambassadors of Bosnia and Herzegovina deployed in our Diplomatic missions and consular posts around the world, organizing road and air transportation (repatriation) of our citizens from different destinations in the world,” said Minister Turković.