The Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency, Milorad Dodik, told the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily on Thursday that he was confident the country would get a new government in the next 30 days as it was the only way to avoid a new major political crisis, but that he had no idea if that would also mean a closer cooperation with NATO.
Dodik told the daily that the adoption of the Annual National Programme, a precondition for the activation of Bosnia's Membership Action Plan (MAP) for NATO, was not discussed at all during talks on government formation which earlier this week resulted in an agreement between him, as the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) party, Croad Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) leader Dragan Covic and the Democratic Action Party (SDA) leader Bakir Izetbegovic.
Asked explicitly if the agreement implied consent to a reduced ANP, which would mean a continuation of reforms only in the civilian but not the military sector, Dodik said that he did not know anything about it.
"I have no idea. We did not discuss it at all," the Serb leader said, adding that the matter was not mentioned in the document on government formation signed by the three political leaders either.
Whether Bosnia and Herzegovina will adopt the ANP and send it to Brussels so that its Membership Action Plan (MAP) can go into force after decades of waiting has been the main bone of contention between Dodik and Izetbegovic in the past ten months and the reason why the process of government formation after the October 2018 elections has not been completed yet.
Even after the three main political parties in the country have reached agreement in principle to form a coalition government, it remains unclear how and whether this problem will be solved.
Local media speculate that Izetbegovic has agreed to a compromise that actually means a reduction of the ANP and the reforms its envisages to the civilian aspect, while military cooperation with NATO would practically stay frozen at the current level.
Dodik is confident that the formation of the new government would, in any case, mean progress on the country's journey to EU membership.
"There is a consensus among all in Bosnia and Herzegovina about that," he said, confirming that SNSD member Zoran Tegeltija would be a candidate for the new prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina.