Bosnia-Herzegovina's Presidential Council members will pay an official visit to Turkey today at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Today's visit is going to be the first since Chairman of the Council and Serb member Milorad Dodik and Bosniak member Sefik Dzaferovic were elected last October.
Meanwhile, Croat member Zeljko Komsic will not be able to travel due to health problems.
Economic, trade and infrastructure projects and bilateral relations will be discussed during the visit, according to a statement.
The bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina was $71.6 million in 2003 when a free trade agreement (FTA) took effect. Since then, the bilateral trade volume has increased nine-fold, reaching about $661.45 million last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Turkey's exports to the country amounted to nearly $420.23 million, while its imports stood at $241.22 million.
Information received from diplomatic sources revealed the focal point of the visit is the revised free trade agreement and the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway Project supported by Turkey.
In February, officials of Bosnia-Herzegovina finally agreed on a route for a highway linking Sarajevo to Belgrade, Serbia's capital.
Milorad Dodik, chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency, had said entire project will cost nearly $3.41 billion and Turkey is ready to provide the necessary funds, seeing it as a project for peace.
"I can say that the route will go from Raca via Bijeljina, then across Brcko and Loncar, down to Sarajevo, through Tuzla and Zepce, next to Pale, Rogatic and Visegrad, where a connection is made for Gorazde. We will connect to Serbia at Vardiste near Visegrad," he explained.
In December 2018 Turkey's Taşyapi Group signed a contract with the Serbian government for the highway. Turkey sees the highway as a guarantor for peace in the region. Although the project was brought up more than two years ago, the relevant authorities could not agree on the route, stemming from the duality in Bosnia-Herzegovina's administration, with one side wanting the highway to run through Tuzla province, while the other insisting on Visegrad province. Consequently, with the support of President Erdoğan, the proposals of both sides were accepted.
The dispute over the routes ended after a meeting in Turkey between Erdoğan, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and former Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic.
The Presidential Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina has three members, representing Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The members are elected for a period of four years and rotate every eight months.
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