Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs will be visiting Bosnia in September but whose invitation he is responding to is unclear as two opposing Bosnian Serb political groups claim they were the ones who invited him.
The Russian Embassy in Bosnia confirmed that Sergey Lavrov will be visiting Sarajevo and Banja Luka, but did not provide further comment.
Local media gave two differing accounts on who issued the invitation, Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Igor Crnadak, or the President of Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia’s Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity, Milorad Dodik.
The Dodik-led Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) is in power in Republika Srpska. However, a coalition of Bosnian Serb parties named The Alliance for Changes had in the 2014 election won enough votes to represent Serbs at the state level in Sarajevo.
The two groups are competing for votes at the upcoming general election in October and both promote friendly relations with Russia, mirroring neighbouring Serbia’s position.
The Party of Democratic Progress, which is within the Alliance and which Crnadak belongs to, tweeted on Friday that the visit comes after a meeting between him and Lavrov in May in Moscow.
But the head of the RS Representative Office in Moscow, Dusko Perovic, told local media that Lavrov’s September 17 visits comes after Dodik invited him.