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Bosnia, Serbia Hold First Joint Session of Governments

Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (R), accompanied by Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, inspect the honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Nov. 4, 2015.

Seeking to improve their relations and contribute to the stabilization of the Western Balkans, the Bosnian and Serbian governments on Wednesday held their first joint session since their conflict started 25 years during the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

The two governments signed cooperation agreements on finding missing persons, telecommunications, protection of cultural heritage and sustainable development but announced this is just a beginning of a process of strengthening their relations.

“There will be more sessions like this,” said Bosnia's Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic after the session. “This is a good pattern.”

During the 1992-95 Bosnian war that cost 100,000 lives, Serbia supported the Bosnian Serbs in their quest to secede from Bosnia and join Serbia. After the war Serbia continued to support the Bosnian Serbs financially and politically for years, but now - as both countries aspire to join the EU - their interest lies in fixing their relations and improving their economies together.

“We are more and more important to each other,” said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. “We are striving toward a different future. We do not want to see an enemy where there is actually a friend,” he said, adding that in the coming decades, Serbia and Bosnia could be “the engine of development in the region.”

Media in Bosnia have labeled the meeting as historic and political analyst Vlastimir Mijovic said that “what happened today is encouraging and comes at the right moment.” He noted that the two governments seem to be taking this meeting very seriously since the entire Serbian government came to Sarajevo for the whole day in the middle of a burning migrant crisis at home.