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Meeting in Belgrade, Serbian And Bosnian Leaders Seek To Solve Problems

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference after talks with Bosnia's three-member presidency in Belgrade on December 6.

After meeting in Belgrade, Serbian and Bosnian leaders said that they want to resolve the issues outstanding since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and Bosnia’s war that followed.

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said on December 6 that his talks with the Bosniak, Croat, and Serb members of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency "have not been simple or easy."

"We are not here to love or hug each other; we are here to solve problems," Vucic added.

The chairman of Bosnia's presidency, Dragan Covic, said that the meeting "focused on how to boost bilateral cooperation and gradually remove problems."

The presidency’s two other members are Bakir Izetbegovic and Mladen Ivanic.

The Serbian and Bosnian leaders said that defining the border between the two countries, trade, and infrastructure were among the matters discussed.

Vucic pointed out that Bosnia is one of Serbia's most important trade partners, adding that some economic barriers to exports have been eliminated since the Bosnian presidency visited Serbia in July 2015.

The Serbian president paid his first visit to Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, in September.

Tensions have soared in the region over the conviction of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and the death of ex-Bosnian-Croat commander Slobodan Praljak at a UN tribunal.

Posters supporting Mladic surfaced on several locations across the Serbian capital ahead of the December 6 visit.

Posters in Belgrade showing former Bosnian Serb wartime General Ratko Mladic, reading: ''I won't betray!''
Posters in Belgrade showing former Bosnian Serb wartime General Ratko Mladic, reading: ''I won't betray!''

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on November 22 convicted Mladic of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Bosnia’s 1992-95 conflict and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Separately, Croatia and Bosnian Croats have been mourning the death of Praljak, who died on November 29 after taking poison moments after judges at The Hague court confirmed his 20-year-sentence for war crimes in Bosnia.

Bosnia's war resulted in the death of an estimated 100,000 people and the displacement of some 2.6 million more.

As part of the 1995 Dayton accords that mostly ended the violence, Bosnia was broken into two constituent states: a Muslim-Croat federation and the Serbian entity, Republika Srpska.

Bosnia faces internal tensions among the Bosniaks -- the Bosnian Muslim population -- ethnic Croats, and ethnic Serbs.

With reporting by AP