By Almir Terzic and Talha Ozturk
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - The Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway will bring many benefits to Bosnia and the entire region, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Communications and Transport Minister Ismir Jusko said on Saturday.
The highway project will create a link between Bosnia's capital of Sarajevo and Serbia's capital of Belgrade with Turkey's support.
"I read an article when I had just become a minister. It said if a part of your country is poor then build a road to that poor part of your country from your capital and it will not be poor anymore.
“That's exactly what this project will do. You do not have to be an economic expert to know how much will it contribute to economic development, trade and tourism.
“This project will bring a lot of benefits to Bosnia and Herzegovina," Jusko told Anadolu Agency.
On Monday, a senior delegation from the General Directorate of Highways will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina and then Serbia.
"Concrete steps in the field have begun, and now our work will be more in the field. Both routes need to be presented to the authorities in full details.
“It would be a great loss for us to not use such a great opportunity that has never before come in the modern history of Bosnia and Herzegovina," he said.
The Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway project was brought up more than two years ago, but it hit a snag when relevant institutions could not agree on a route.
The dispute on the route then brought 16 possible routes to the table.
While Serbia wanted the highway to run through eastern Bosnia, the Bosnian side wanted it to run through northeast Bosnia.
However, the dispute over the routes ended following meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.
Consequently, with Erdogan’s support, the proposals of both sides have been accepted. An agreement has been reached to build the highway via two different routes.
The project will reportedly cost around 1.8 billion euros ($2.24 billion).