If Serbia’s President truly respects Bosnia’s sovereignty and the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, he should prove it by clearly saying that secession of Bosnia’s Serb-majority region of Republika Srpska is impossible, the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said on Saturday.
Dzaferovic made the statement after his Serb colleague in the Presidency, Milorad Dodik, and Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, spoke at a press conference following their meeting in Belgrade.
Dodik informed Vucic of the situation regarding a recent ruling by Bosnia’s Constitutional Court which declared a property law in Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia’s Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity, unconstitutional.
RS representatives argue the ruling is against Serb interests and blamed the foreign judges in the Constitutional Court for it. They announced they will block state institutions until the foreign judges are removed.
Dodik said in Belgrade that “the red line was crossed” with the ruling and that RS citizens will decide on the future status of the entity in a referendum.
Dodik has been advocating for the RS to secede and possibly join Serbia for years.
But Dzaferovic said that there is no reason for Dodik to go to Belgrade because “issues concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina will be decided on exclusively in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
“Instead of needlessly raising tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, it would be best if he would respect the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnia’s Constitution and decisions by Bosnia’s Constitutional Court and unblock the work of state institutions,” the Bosniak Presidency member said.
“Milorad Dodik will never break away any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that must be clear to him and all those who may be dreaming about that. He should also be aware that his arrogant threats, insults and blackmailing will not work. We don’t bend to ultimatums and we do not fear Dodik,” he said.
Dzaferovic criticised Serbia’s President for his “neutral reaction” to Dodik’s statement, saying it is “worrying.”
He said that if Vucic truly respects the Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia’s sovereignty, as he said he does, he should “clearly tell Dodik and all the people around him that (RS) secession is impossible, that Constitutional Court decisions must be respected and that Bosnia’s institutions should not be blocked.”
The main Bosniak party in the country which Dzaferovic is a member of, the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), also urged Serbia’s President to prove his statements by “taking action” instead of “continuing the narrative of ‘endangerment of Serbs and injustice the entire world committed against them’ without any basis.”
“This includes him concretely, clearly and unequivocally denying support to Dodik’s politics which represent not only a threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina but also to peace and stability in the entire region,” it said.