SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The Serbian part of Bosnia's presidency - which is shared between three ethnic groups - has rejected border regulations that are due to come into force when neighboring Croatia joins the EU next month.
The other two parts of Bosnia's presidency - representing Muslims and Croats - have accepted the regulations which are needed to ensure people and goods can still cross the border after July 1.
The discord puts trade and travel at risk and underlines the deficiencies of the tripartite presidency, an institution that emerged after the Bosnian war as a precarious system of power-sharing between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.
The border agreement with Croatia was considered a formality until the Serb presidency chairman, Nebojsa Radmanovic, refused to sign it on Monday, saying that Serb representatives had been omitted from an ad hoc commission that agreed a deal with Croatia last week.
The European Commission has scheduled the signing of the border agreement for Wednesday but Bosnia has not even appointed an official to sign it.
"The European Union is expecting the signature of these important agreements on June 19 in Brussels, and we call on all competent institutions to find an urgent solution in the interest of citizens," the Commission said in a statement.
An EU official said failure to sign the agreement would leave border crossings "in a kind of a limbo", with their status "very unclear". Bosnia makes most of its exports via the 1,000-km (620-mile) border with Croatia.
"There are realistic prospects that people will not be able to cross these border crossings," the official said on condition of anonymity. "But you can fly to Zagreb or drive all the way to Montenegro to enter Croatia."
Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic, a Muslim Bosniak, called on Radmanovic to reconsider, saying the border closure would be disastrous and cause uproar among citizens, who have protested recently to show their discontent with the government.
"Just imagine that we are forced to get into the European Union via Serbia or Montenegro!" Radoncic said in an interview with Aljazeera Balkans television.
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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