Bosnian Serbs declare Croatian bridge their national interest

Bosnian Serbs declare Croatian bridge their national interest

Bosnian Serbs declare Croatian bridge their national interest Izvor: RTRS

The parliament of the Bosnian Serb part of the country granted support on Thursday evening for an initiative by the Serb member of the tripartite State Presidency to block a presidential decision his other two colleagues passed concerning the construction of a bridge in neighbouring Croatia.

Milorad Dodik disagreed with his two colleagues in the tripartite presidency of the country who requestedneighboring Croatia to agree to a border demarcation and halt the construction of a disputed bridge or Bosnia will file a lawsuit.  

The law allows Dodik to ask the parliament of Republika Srpska (RS) to support his claim that the decision of his two colleagues is violating the interests of the semi-autonomous region, which his opponents dispute as neither the disputed border nor the bridge are anywhere near the territory of Republika Srpska.  

However, Dodik argued at the extraordinary session of the RS National Assembly dedicated to this issue that it was not so much about the bridge as it was about proving that important decisions should be made by the authorities of Bosnia’s two semi-autonomous regions rather than those at the state-level.  

In the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity in the country, 60 lawmakers voted in favour of the initiative while six were against and another six abstained.  

Only three ethnic Serbs voted against - Drasko Stanivukovic, Nebojsa Vukalovic and Jelena Trivic.  

The disputed Peljesac Bridge is meant to connect the Croatian mainland and the Peljesac Peninsula, bypassing a 15 kilometre-long Bosnian strip of the coast around the city of Neum that is located in the bay of the peninsula.  

Bosniak political parties oppose the construction of the bridge, saying it might prevent large vessels from entering the country’s bay of Neum and threaten its access to the open sea.  

When the Bosniak and Croat members of the country’s Presidency agreed to adopt a proposal that could lead to Bosnia suing Croatia over the issue, Dodik said he would not approve the move.  

He said he would use the vital entity interest card which would mean that the RS parliament could block the lawsuit if it supports his objections.

Dodik is the leader of the ruling party in the RS.  

Since he secured support in the RS National Assembly, the presidential decision cannot enter into force.

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