Changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be carried out only in an agreement of its two entities and three constituent peoples, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday during his official visit to Bosnia and following a meeting with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.
Lavrov started off his Bosnia visit with the capital city of Sarajevo, where he met senior state officials and then proceeded to the north-western city of Banja Luka to attend the ceremony of laying the cornerstone for a Serb-Russian church in that city and to meet the officials of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska (RS).
Russia's senior official expressed his content over the visits to Sarajevo and Banja Luka emphasising the importance of the talks he has had with Bosnia and Herzegovina's officials.
“We advocate the cooperation in all segments – economic, cultural and humanitarian. Besides the trade exchange, we are committed to having the issue of export of meat and milk from Republika Srpska solved as soon as possible. We are thankful to Republika Srpska for the businesses of Russian companies. Here I mostly refer to the oil refineries in Brod, Modrica and the business of gas station networks,” said Lavrov.
He thanked for the “attention” that citizens of Republika Srpska give to the relations with Russia, with a special gratitude for the initiative to construct the church dedicated to the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas.
Lavrov reiterated support to the Dayton Peace Accords, the agreement which ended the Bosnian 1992-95 war and divided Bosnia in two – RS and Federation (FBiH) entities, the first dominated by Serbs and the latter shared by Bosniaks and Croats.
“Reforms are possible only with the agreement of two entities and three constituent peoples. We absolutely support the commitment of Mr Dodik to the Dayton Agreement,” said Lavrov assessing as unacceptable the “actions of foreign actors” on principle, as he said, you are either with us or with the Russian Federation.
Addressing the media, Dodik said RS was very grateful to Russia for its principled stand in regard with implementation and affirmation of the Dayton Agreement.
“I'd like to reject the speculations and allegations from the other side which speak about a bad influence of the Russian Federation here and to say that the Russian Federation is our friend with whom we want to develop multiple relations in all fields, mostly in economic, cultural, political and every other,” Dodik underlined.
He thanked Russia for blocking the adoption of the UN Security Council's Resolution on Srebrenica, which condemned the mass killings in that Bosnian town in July 1995, which two international courts ruled was a genocide. The resolution was proposed by the UK and supported by the USA and the EU member states.
“It was an untruth and the Russian Federation recognised it, so I'd like to thank on behalf of the Serb people and RS. Like many other things in the past, this one will remain the proof of our friendship forever,” said Dodik.