Responding to statements by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, the European Union Force (EUFOR) and the US Embassy in Bosnia said on Monday that Bosnia’s Armed Forces were established according to a law which the country’s parliament passed unanimously and that any attempt to undermine it is counter-productive and detrimental to stability.
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who is currently the Chairman of the tripartite Presidency, spoke at an event organised to mark the (wartime) Army of Republika Srpska (RS) and the Third Infantry Regiment in the northwestern city of Banja Luka on Sunday and urged the Regiment, which is formally part of Bosnia’s Armed Forces, to wear the uniforms of the Army of RS at the ceremony next year.
The Army of Republika Srpska is the wartime army of the Serb-dominated part of the country which fought against Bosniak and Croat forces. It disappeared when Bosnia’s leaders decided to melt all armed forces in Bosnia into one in 2005.
“The rhetoric and calls for actions of this kind are irresponsible and dangerous, and they do not help Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve its declared goal - European integration,” the US Embassy told N1 in a written statement.
It also said the US remains “committed to maintaining the peace and stability” in the country as well as the continuation of “our professional, productive and positive cooperation” with Bosnia’s Armed Forces.
EUFOR reminded in its press statement that the Law on Defence was enacted unanimously at the BiH Parliamentary Assembly by the ruling parties at the time.
“EUFOR believes that any statements which serve to undermine the AFBiH and its legal status as the single, united, military force of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina are counter-productive and should be avoided,” the statement said.
Bosnia’s Armed Forces are composed of members from all three constituent peoples in the country and work for them, it said, adding that the country’s Armed Forces has “transformed from a security consumer to a security provider following the successful conclusion EUFOR’s Capacity Building and Training programme in 2018.”
“EUFOR is proud of its association with AFBiH and rejects any statements or activities that could divide this organization and jeopardize the success that AFBiH has achieved in terms of providing a single, state-level, and internationally respected, military force, which represents all people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” it concluded.