EU urges Russia to let Bosnia join the bloc - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

EU urges Russia to let Bosnia join the bloc

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 The European Union urged Russia on Friday to leave the Balkans out of its dispute with the bloc over Ukraine, and let the region proceed on its path toward EU and NATO memberships.
   Moscow has said that because of its strained relations with the West, it no longer supports Bosnia's membership efforts and that there is no consensus in Bosnia over the issue.
   The country's Bosniacs and Croats tend to look westward, but Bosnian Serbs maintain close ties with Russia, object NATO membership and have obstructed EU-requested reforms.
   After meetings on Friday with Bosnia's leaders in Sarajevo, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's chief foreign affairs official, said her overall impression is that "the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina are more than ready to have the country moving toward the European Union," and that Russia's disputes with the EU should not interfere with this process.
   There are "tensions" between Europe and Russia, she said, but both sides should "find ways of cooperation and not confrontation."
   "And for sure it would be a good idea to keep the western Balkans out of this kind of dynamics," Mogherini added.
   For the first time in 14 years, Russia last month abstained from the vote when the U.N. Security Council extended the mandate of the EU-led military presence in Bosnia because the declaration mentioned the country's European and NATO future too often.
   "We did not want the resolution to be used as an instrument to advance objectives that we were not part of and that is Bosnia-Herzegovina becoming part of NATO," or the European Union, Russia's ambassador to Bosnia, Petr Ivancov, told the Associated Press in an interview. Bosnians should decide themselves, but "there is clearly a lack of consensus in Bosnia-Herzegovina with regard to its Euro-Atlantic future," he said.
   Mogherini denied those claims and said all of Bosnia's political leaders on Friday showed the political will to proceed with the EU reforms.

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