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Bosnia Minister Resigns Protesting Arms Delivery to Ukraine

Minister of Foreign Trade, would not give his signature to an arms and ammunition delivery contract with Ukraine government

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January 22, (AFP) - Bosnian Foreign Trade Minister Boris Tucic resigned on Thursday in protest at plans by his government to sell arms to Ukraine, an official said.

Tucic, a Bosnian Serb, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda without explaining the reasons for his decision, the government's secretary general Zvonimir Kutlesa told AFP.

But Tucic party's chief, pro-Russian Bosnian Serb hardline nationalist President Milorad Dodik, said that the minister had resigned due to "pressure" over the sale.

The Bosnian Serbs, like the Serbians, are close allies of Russia.

"The reason for his resignation is that the minister could not give his approval to the sale of arms and ammunitions to Ukraine," Dodik told reporters.

"We stick to our principles and we are against delivery of arms in the war regions, in this case Ukraine," Dodik added.

Since the beginning of conflict in Ukraine, both EU hopeful Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs have tried to strike a balance between Brussels and Moscow, notably refusing to align themselves with sanctions against Russia imposed by the western powers.

The central government of Bosnia, which is composed of representatives of the three main communities - Serbs, Muslims and Croats -- however needs a consensus to make decisions.

The exact quantities and types of the arms and ammunition that the Bosnian authorities intend to export to Ukraine are not known.

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