By Eleanor Rose
The Republika Srpska has given the nod to a million-euro Saudi Arabian grant aimed at rebuilding 55 homes for post-war returnees to the eastern town of Srebrenica.
Saudi Arabia’s donation of a million euros to fund the return of displaced people to Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia will go ahead, it was announced Thursday.
The government of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity, Republika Srpska, waved through a ruling to accept the funds to help rebuild 55 homes and provide farm equipment in the town where more than 7,000 Bosniak [Muslim] men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995.
The project had been brokered at Bosnian state level, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding last month.
The former Bosniak mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, who lost his seat to a Serb in Bosnia’s local elections earlier this month, said in September that final approval for the funding had been in the pipeline for two years.
“Half a million euros will be invested in the construction of houses for young married couples, and the second part will be invested in the development of agriculture because Srebrenica has a large capacity for the development of this industry,” Durakovic said, according to local news site Faktor.ba.
It is hoped that the homes will be finished by the end of 2017.
Saudi Arabia has taken a keen interest in Srebrenica, which after local elections this month now has a Serb mayor for the first time since the 1995 massacre – a fact that has caused disquiet among Bosniak survivors and relatives of victims.
The memorial library in Potocari, the site of the cemetery for victims of the massacre, which has been ruled an act of genocide by the ICTY, was opened in 2014 with the help of Saudi funding.
Official Saudi delegations have been visiting the town for more than a decade to attend memorials and nurture ties.