The strongest criticism came from Zlatko Lagumdzija, Minister of Foreign Affairs. For him, this signature was invalid until confirmed by the parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Lagumdzija condemned Mihajlovic’s move stating that the Agreement About Dual Citizenship should not have been signed without a change of the Citizenship Law.
The Citizenship law obliges Bosnia-Hercegovina to forge agreements for all citizens who have dual citizenship by January 1, 2003. Otherwise citizens would have to give up one of their two citizenships.
Ivica Misic, until recently the deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, shares Lagumdzija’s opinion that Mihajlovic should not have signed the agreement.
Responding to criticism, Svetozar Mihajlovic said yesterday that the current Citizenship Law obliges the authorities to reach and sign similar dual citizenship agreements.
Mirjana Micevska, secretary of the Information Service of the Council Of Ministers of BH, confirmed that proper procedure was followed in this case. She says that the only problem is adoption of the changes in the Citizenship Law, which should be adopted by the Parliament of BH by the end of the year. Otherwise, one million of BH citizens could loose their citizenship in early 2003. She expressed hope that the Citizenship Law would be adopted by the end of the year and that citizens would not lose their passports.
Mihajlovic expects that due to Lagumdzija’s criticism, it will be difficult to ratify the agreement in the Parliament of BH by the end of the year.
Milovan Blagojevic, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that Lagumdzija’s charges against Mihajlovic are not the official view of the Ministry of foreign affairs.
“In the opinion of the Council of Ministers, the agreement is a model for similar agreements that should be reached with other countries willing to make similar agreements,” Blagojevic said.
One of the reasons for Lagumdzija’s sharp criticism is the fact that FR Yugoslavia is the first country to sign such an agreement.
“We had to take the first step and did that with FR Yugoslavia. On the other hand, I would have had no problem if such an agreement had previously been signed with another country. We initiated negotiations on this issue with Croatia much earlier, but there was not enough wisdom or willingness to reach compromise on the Croatian side to reach an agreement,” Mihajlovic says.
He denies Lagumdzija’s claim that citizens of FR Yugoslavia were placed in privileged position in comparison with BH citizens living elsewhere abroad.