World

Serbia, Bosnia seek to boost ties after war crimes tensions

BELGRADE — Serbian and Bosnian leaders said Wednesday that they want to resolve problems left over from their 1990s conflict after tensions soared over the conviction of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic and the death of a Croat ex-general at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said after meeting with the Bosniak, Serb, and Croat members of Bosnia’s multiethnic presidency that the talks ‘‘have not been simple or easy.’’ But Vucic added: ‘‘We are not here to love or hug each other; we are here to solve problems.’’

Dragan Covic, head of the Bosnian presidency, said the meeting in Belgrade has ‘‘predominantly focused on how to boost bilateral cooperation and gradually remove problems.’’

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Officials said issues include defining the border between Serbia and Bosnia.

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Posters supporting ex-Bosnian Serb army commander Mladic surfaced on several locations in Belgrade ahead of Wednesday’s meeting. Mladic was convicted of genocide last month by the United Nations court over Bosnian war atrocities and sentenced to life in prison, but many Serbs still consider him a hero.

Separately, Croatia and Bosnian Croats have been mourning the death of Slobodan Praljak, who took poison moments after judges at The Hague court confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes.

associated press