Turkey's Gul meets Balkan leaders

AFP , Tuesday 26 Apr 2011

Sarajevo and Belgrade are brought together in a summit with Turkey to discuss the volatile situation in the Balkans

From left, Bakir Izetbegovic, Zeljko Komsic, Nebojsa Radmanovic, Boris Tadic, Abdullah Gul before a meeting of the presidents of Bosnia, Turkey and Serbia in Karadjordjev, Serbia, Tuesday 26 April 2011. (AP)

Leaders of Bosnia, Turkey and Serbia met here Tuesday to discuss the volatile situation in the Balkans, including the political impasse in Bosnia and strained relations between Sarajevo and Belgrade.

The summit brought together Turkish President Abdullah Gul, his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadic and members of tripartite Bosnian Presidency: Croat Zeljko Komsic, Serb Nebojsa Radmanovic and Muslim Bakir Izetbegovic.

Turkey is keen to increase its influence in a region with which it has historic bonds as well good ties with Muslims.

Turkish mediation at a similar summit a year ago in Istanbul resulted in an agreement by Belgrade and Sarajevo to improve relations that have been low since the war over Serbia's support to Bosnian Serbs during and after the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic conflict in Bosnia.

However, several arrests of Bosnian officials on war crime warrants issued by Serbia as well as Belgrade's support to Bosnian Serbs' plan to challenge central Bosnia's institutions in a referendum, have strained relations between the two former Yugoslav republics.

The meeting took place as Bosnia faces one of the most severe political crisis since the Balkans war due to deep ethnic divisions and post-election stalemate.

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