Bosnian media described Wednesday a decision by the European Union to sign a rapprochement deal with Serbia and postpone the same deal with Bosnia as a "cold shower" for the country, dpa reported.
The chairman of Bosnia's tripartite state presidency, Haris Silajdzic, criticized the move to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia.
The bloc had neglected the fact that Serbia had not yet handed over people indicted for war crimes during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia- Herzegovina.
"Although the practice of the EU is to insist on fulfilment of all the requirements needed for deepening the relations with potential member states, this act shows that Serbia enjoys some benefits like no other country," Silajdzic said in a statement.
The progress of some countries towards the EU had been slowed down for unimportant reasons, he said.
These did not compare with the stipulation that Serbia should apprehend war crimes suspects, some of whom have been indicted for the worst atrocities since World War II.
Silajdzic also said he hoped the EU would compensate the move by signing the rapprochement agreement with Bosnia-Herzegovina as soon as possible.
His Croat counterpart, Zeljko Komsic, also protested the EU's decision, saying the SAA agreement with Serbia was yet another injustice for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"How we can justify the fact that signing the SAA was promised to Bosnia-Herzegovina and that, at the same time, only the English version of the text was completed, while the technical part of the job was finished for Serbia," Komsic said.
Meanwhile, Bosnian-Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik congratulated Serbia on finally taking a step towards European integration.
The EU special representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, said only it was good news that Bosnia would soon sign the SAA agreement.
"Only two weeks after adoption of the police reform legislation, the EU decided Bosnia-Herzegovina has made adequate progress to sign the SAA as soon as possible and has called on the European Commission to launch a visa dialogue with the country," Lajcak said, commenting on the EU decision to sign the SAA with Bosnia possibly by late May.
"The EU has been waiting for Bosnia-Herzegovina to complete this for three years. Now the time before the signing ceremony must be used to prepare for implementation of this international, legally binding agreement," he said.