SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Former wartime enemy Serbia donated 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Bosniak-Croat region of neighbouring Bosnia on Tuesday, allowing it to launched its inoculation campaign.
The Bosniak-Croat Federation, one of Bosnia’s two autonomous entities alongside the Serb Republic, has ordered 1.2 million doses under the global COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme, and nearly 900,000 from the European Union, but has not received any yet.
At Sarajevo airport, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic handed the vaccines to members of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, Zeljko Komsic and Milorad Dodik, and vowed to send another 5,000 doses in the coming days.
“I am happy that we can save … lives with vaccines, it is important and great thing,” Vucic told reporters. “Serbia is acting as a friend and a neighbour.”
In 1992-95, Serbia under then-strongman President Slobodan Milosevic backed nationalist Bosnian Serbs in a devastating war to purge Bosnia of its Muslims and Croats and carve out a Greater Serb homeland. Around 100,000 people were killed.
The 1995 Dayton peace accord created a federal Bosnia divided into two autonomous entities along largely ethnic lines.