Valentina Matviyenko: Cooperation between the parliaments of Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is growing stronger

The Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly made a speech in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko addressed the Collegium members of the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Federation Council Speaker spoke about relations between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and their future.

“The strengthening of ties with Southeast European countries is a priority of Russia’s European policy. The Balkans is not simply a geographical or political notion to us. We share a centuries-long history, culture, language and religion. These fundamental elements are helping us to open up new horizons of interaction and to find solutions to the most difficult modern challenges. We are interested in deepening and expanding our interaction in all spheres,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

She pointed out that Russia thinks highly of the independent foreign policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including its firm refusal to join the illegitimate restrictions and sanctions against Russia.

The Federation Council Speaker also spoke about the ongoing transition of the world order from the unipolar to a multipolar system and the appearance of new economic and political centres of influence. “Since Russia is opposing the policy of foreign interference in the affairs of sovereign states and attempts to overthrow undesirable governments and is advocating respect for international law and the leading role of the UN, our Western partners have adopted a policy of containing Russia and its growing political influence in the world in a bid to force us to revise our independent foreign policy. An unprecedented information war is being waged against Russia,” she said.

“However, Russia will never abandon its policy of principle, which the majority of countries support. It is only by joining our efforts that we can combat many challenges and threats in the modern world. This is why Russia calls for dialogue, for rallying the efforts of all states in the fight against terrorism, cyber threats and other major challenges. We stand for honest dialogue based on mutual respect with due regard for the interest of other countries,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

She added that Russia lays special emphasis on the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the Balkans. “We are opposed to any attempts to mark new dividing lines in this region. The recent formalisation of Montenegro’s accession to NATO contrary to the will of nearly half of its people is a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of democracy. It will only further destabilise the region and undermine the system of European security. A similarly negative experiment is underway in Macedonia. We reject the logic of confrontation. What we want is peace, security and stability for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the Federation Council Speaker said.

She also spoke about the situation around Bosnia and Herzegovina. She said that Russia, as one of the five guarantor countries of the Dayton Accords, believes in the inviolability of the fundamental principles of the existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina set out in that document, such as the equality of the three constituent peoples, the broad autonomy of the two entities and the settlement of all disputes on the basis of dialogue, compromise and consensus. “Russia has been upholding these basic principles firmly and consistently and does not see any need to revise the Dayton Accords, in particular at foreign initiative. Although the current constitutional structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina is very extensive, it provides a balanced and efficient basis for taking decisions in the multicomponent society of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

“It is vital for all problems to be dealt with by the constituent peoples through dialogue and within the framework of the Dayton Accords. Forcing alien formulas on them will not help the three peoples to find sustainable compromises. This is why Russia is consistently advocating the transfer of full responsibility for developments in the country to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the two entities, as well as for the abrogation of the Office of the High Representative as soon as possible. This office is evidence of the country’s status as an EU protectorate, which has become outdated and is hindering the Bosnian settlement,” the Federation Council Speaker said.

“We believe that the main goals of your young state are to strengthen its sovereignty and to boost its bilateral relations with other countries,” she said.

Valentina Matviyenko believes that political ties between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are quite active, whereas their economic relations are clearly short of satisfactory. “Our potential and capabilities are much larger than that. Our parliamentary commissions and government agencies must think about enhancing the intensity and efficiency of our economic relations. We see our common task in strengthening and improving the legal framework of bilateral economic relations,” she said.

The Federation Council Speaker also said that ties between the business community of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Russian regions are a promising area of economic cooperation. “Today, 49 Russian regions are cooperating with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most active of them are Moscow and the Moscow Region, the Nizhny Novgorod Region and St Petersburg. The Federation Council, which represents the interests of the Russian regions, is ready to facilitate this process,” she said.

Valentina Matviyenko praised the consistent development of inter-parliamentary cooperation between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “A year ago, a delegation from the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina led by the house’s speaker, Barisa Colak, attended the Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism in St Petersburg. A delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina also took part in the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which was held in St Petersburg late last year,” she said.

“We believe that MPs can and must play a major role in strengthening humanitarian cooperation. It is particularly important to maintain people-to-people contacts amid the current international tensions,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

In this context, the Federation Council Speaker invited a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, which is scheduled to be held on 20 and 21 September 2018 in St Petersburg.

Valentina Matviyenko said the following about cultural and religious relations between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina: “We believe that our model of harmonious coexistence of different religions, cultures and traditions can offer a positive example to other countries of in light of modern challenges to the civilisation. We are ready for a constructive exchange of opinions on this important issue with our colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina, including at the expert level.”

“The lawmakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have a unique experience of state development and who have seen the hardships of civil war and a difficult and lengthy post-war restoration period, can find rational solutions to the numerous problems facing the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina can always rely on the assistance of Russia as a guarantor of the Dayton Accords. Bosnia and Herzegovina and its peoples definitely have the right to decide which international organisations to join and how to develop their domestic and foreign policy, economy and social sphere,” Valentina Matviyenko concluded.

Press Service of the Federation Council