Croat Presidency member: Dodik is trying to portray Bosnia as impossible

NEWS 16.05.2019 21:00
Source: N1

Milorad Dodik’s plan is to convince everybody that Bosnia is an impossible state in order to prove that the only way forward is a dissolution of the country, Zeljko Komsic, the Bosnian Croat member of the tripartite Presidency told N1 about his Bosnian Serb colleague.

Such people should not be running the country, he stressed.

“The basic problem is that, according to the Constitution, people have the legality and the legitimacy to enter institutions they are undermining,” Komsic said.

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Other states defend themselves from such attackers, he said, offering Spain’s reaction to the Catalan referendum as an example.

“We have the problem that our state structure allows the possibility for people who do not appreciate this country to hold posts and abuse them,” he said.

Dodik angered many in Bosnia, including Komsic, many times with his open calls for the secession of Republika Srpska (RS), the Bosnian Serb-dominated semi-autonomous region.

He caused outrage again on Sunday when he addressed members of Bosnia’s Armed Forces in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of the RS, at a ceremony.

Speaking at an event organised to honour the Army of Republika Srpska (RS) and the Third Infantry Regiment in the northwestern city of Banja Luka, he urged the Regiment, which is formally part of Bosnia’s Armed Forces, to wear the uniforms of the Army of the RS at the ceremony next year.

The Army of Republika Srpska was the wartime army of the Serb-dominated part of the country which fought against Bosniak and Croat forces. It disappeared when Bosnia’s leaders decided to melt all armed forces in Bosnia into one in 2005.

Dodik said that abolishing the RS army was “a mistake.”

Komisic filed a criminal complaint against him for violating the Defense Law. The fact that Dodik is the current Chairman of the tripartite Presidency, an institution that is the supreme commander of the army, makes it even worse, he said.

The Presidency consists of representatives of Bosnia’s three main ethnic groups – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. Decisions can only be made by consensus between all three Presidents.

Before he took over the Serb seat in the Presidency, Dodik has for years been either the Prime Minister or the President of Republika Srpska. He has frequently advocated for the RS to secede from the country and possibly become part of neighbouring Serbia.

Komsic explained what he thinks Dodik’s plan is for how to do that.

“The plan is to prove that Bosnia and Herzegovina is an impossible state, that all successful state institutions should be divided,” Komsic said, naming Bosnia’s intelligence agency, the State Police and the Armed Forces as institutions Dodik allegedly wants to “portray as things that cannot work.”

“The next phase is some kind of confederation,” he said, explaining that Dodik would like to turn Bosnia into a confederation of its two regions which would be allowed to organise referendums on secession, which is unconstitutional according to the current setup.

Montenegro split from Serbia this way and Dodik is pursuing that path, he said.

“There are always crazy people who create problems,” Komsic said.

However, he added that now such people don’t have the capacity to incite conflict, as they could at the beginning of the 90s when Serbia had the backing of the Yugoslav National Army.

Without intervention from abroad, a conflict in Bosnia is impossible, Komsic said.

The Croat Presidency member touched upon Russian influence in the country. Russia has been backing Dodik for years but Komsic said that Moscow is “not playing games” with Bosnians “but with the USA and against them, and sometimes (against) the EU as well.”

In those “big games,” Bosnia is just a bargaining chip, he said.

“We are not as strategically important as Iran, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, but we are important in the geopolitical bickering between Russia, the USA and the EU,” he said.

Milorad Dodik has two tactics, Komsic said, adding that the Bosnian Serb leader applies one when he needs to look good in the eyes of the international community, like at gatherings attended by international officials.

“As soon as they leave, then this kind of narrative as in Banja Luka comes out,” he said.

Since Dodik made his controversial speech about the army, Komsic has not communicated with him.

“What do we have to talk about after all of this,” Komsic asked. “I have the right to be angry about everything he did. This is not rational.”

He said that if Dodik wants to scare people or to “show he is a big shark” then “there are other big sharks in this country too.”