Montenegro's President: Secession of Republika Srpska would lead to war

Montenegro's President: Secession of Republika Srpska would lead to war

Montenegro's President: Secession of Republika Srpska would lead to war Izvor: PIXSELL/Boris Scitar/Večernji list

Any attempts by Bosnia’s Serb-majority region to secede would lead to war, Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic told Face TV on Friday, adding that if invited, he would attend the commemoration ceremony for the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide in July.

Djukanovic was speaking about the new political crisis in Bosnia which Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said could be resolved if the country's semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) region would form its own state institutions and secede.

“This is an issue which Europe and America are involved in, not just Dodik and (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic,” Djukanovic said, adding that if the international community does not react to such moves, “the situation will escalate.”

The crisis emerged after the Constitutional Court ruled that a law which Republika Srpska adopted is unconstitutional. The law gave Republika Srpska ownership over all the public agricultural land in its territory.

The Constitutional Court ruled that this land should belong to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The RS National Assembly on Monday instructed all RS representatives in state institutions to stop participating in any decision-making processes until the adoption of a law that would remove all foreign judges from the Constitutional Court. This means that state institutions will effectively be blocked.

According to Dodik, those three foreign judges frequently side with Bosniaks and work against the interests of Republika Srpska.

Djukanovic said that the Serb side is trying to portray Bosnia and Herzegovina as a dysfunctional state.

“They are trying to maintain this dysfunctionality so they can say ‘look, this doesn’t work, we have brought the state into non-functionality, now the time has come for a referendum!’,” he said, adding that efforts to carve up Bosnia and Herzegovina “bring us back to war.”

Djukanovic also confirmed he will not be visiting Sarajevo as announced on March 2 after Dodik, who is the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, voted against the visit. The Bosniak and Bosnian Croat Presidency members voted in favour of Djukanovic’s visit.

The vote came in light of the ongoing protests of Serbs in Montenegro who say that a law the country recently adopted would strip the Serbian Orthodox Church of its property.

Djukanovic said he did not want to be part of Dodik’s “theatre” and that the Bosnian Serb leader will not manage to jeopardise the relations between Montenegro and Bosnia.

But he said that, if invited, he would attend the commemoration event for the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide.

“If I am invited, I will come to Srebrenica to the commemoration,” he said, referring to the 25th commemoration event for the victims of the genocide in the eastern Bosnian town on July 11.

Djukanovic said he would “pay his respects to the victims of the genocide,” adding that Montenegro’s Parliament was among the first to adopt a ‘Resolution on Genocide’.

As for the issues in his own country, Djukanovic said that the ongoing protests are part of a “political war between two concepts of the Western Balkans.”

“On one hand there is the concept of multi-ethnic democracy, a European and Euro-Atlantic perspective. On the other is the preservation of our past, which is disbelief in multi-ethnic societies - it represents the return to an idea of the 1990s, a reconfiguration of the Western Balkans and building up three enlarged nation-states instead of the existing ones,” he said.

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