The main Bosniaks party in the country is blocking the forming of the government after the October 2018 election to protect the illegal production of arms in factories it controls, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who now chairs Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, said on Tuesday.
Bosnia’s state-level government has not been formed for more than six months after the election, mostly because the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency from the Party for Democratic Action (SDA) said he refuses to greenlight the proposed prime minister - in Bosnia called the Chairman of the Council of Ministers - because the candidate is opposed to the country's path towards NATO membership.
Bosnia has previously pursued NATO membership but in recent years the Serb politicians have changed their mind and the next candidate for the prime minister comes from Dodik’s party which vigorously rejects membership in the alliance.
Dodik has frequently accused the SDA of blocking the formation of the government but he keeps claiming they are doing it for a variety of reasons other than the NATO issue.
On Tuesday, he said the party is controlling the illegal production of weapons and that he told the Serbian President about it.
“I informed Mr. (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic about this,” Dodik said.
He said the SDA is meeting in Mostar for the second time in the past three months and that all local leaders of that party were participating in those meetings along with representatives of the intelligence service and the party’s commission of security.
He alleged that lists are made of all Bosniak men capable of joining the military and that those are being profiled in the sense of where they did during the war. Those who have attended military training are being taken into consideration of how they can be prepared for some eventualities, he said.
Dodik noted that arms and ammunition factories in the Federation (FBiH), the semi-autonomous entity within the country mostly shared between Bosniaks and Croats, are “directly under the control” of the SDA and that they have “increased their uncontrolled production.”
He reminded of a spat between Serb and SDA officials from a year ago when Bosniak leader and SDA head Bakir Izetbegovic attended a ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Bosnian Army which fought against the country’s Serb and Croat forces during the 1992-95 war and no longer exists.
Izetbegovic said at the time that Bosnia will not waste its money on buying rocket systems and fighter planes but rather rely on its own armed industry which will produce for export but also for “just in case, God forbid.”
The statement was labelled by Dodik as “warmongering.”
“It is impossible for anything in the arms industry to be produced apart from what was ordered by Bosnia’s Armed Forces or defined in a particular agreement which needs to be presented to the Government for approval,” Dodik said.
He said that Bosniaks “talk about how Serbia is ready for military engagement in a part of Kosovo because their goal is to incite tensions among the people here.”
“Now their plan can be seen clearly. They want to keep the Serbs that suit them in the Council of Ministers so that their arms factories are permitted to work and their intelligence agency can continue to follow and control officials from the RS (Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s Serb-majority part) and Serbia without interference,” he said, adding that it is “something we will have to resolve quickly.”
Dodik said that the international community has destroyed all arms factories in the RS and left six such factories in FBiH.
“Now we see that there is an illegal plan to produce arms and ammunition in factories, we are receiving information about this. We are asking for that information to be checked, whether it is true or not,” he said, adding that he would “love for it to be untrue.”