November 25 is one of the most significant dates in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the day when the country reinstated its statehood, said Bosnia Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic as he laid the flowers at the Eternal Flame memorial in Sarajevo.
“That's the day when the principle of equality of all peoples and citizens who live in this country was promoted. Today, we're also fighting for equality of all peoples and citizens on the whole territory of the country,” said Dzaferovic, adding that those rights are being jeopardised in some parts of the country.
That kind of discrimination has to be eliminated, he stressed, and Bosnia must become a place where every person will feel comfortable and be equal to others.
“Politicians bear a special responsibility in achieving that goal. They must refrain from inflammatory statements,” said Dzaferovic, the Bosniak Presidency member, who represents one of the three major ethnic groups alongside the Serb and the Croat members of the tripartite Presidency.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina can only take the path of ensuring the equality for all of its peoples because that's the path of civilization,” he added.
Dzaferovic was accompanied by the leader of the SDA, Bosniak main party, Bakir Izetbegovic, as well as the representatives of the Sarajevo Canton's institutions.
“Every inch of Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs to all of us,” Izetbegovic told the reporters following the ceremony.
Izetbegovic spoke in response to Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who told Russia Today a day ago that “the Bosniaks must know Bosnia and Herzegovina does not belong to them only” but that “Republika Srpska (the Serb-dominated region) is ours only.”
“Nothing in Bosnia and Herzegovina is called the Serb except the name of Republika Srpska, and I'm not sure this will stay the same if Mr Dodik goes on with such statements,” said the Bosniak leader.
Bosnia's Statehood Day is marked only in its Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) entity while the Serb dominated Republika Srpska and its leadership deny it. Instead, they mark the day of initialling the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), when the Serb-majority region was established.
In the statement for Russian media, Dodik reiterated the idea that the Serbs never felt Bosnia and Herzegovina as their own country and that “Republika Srpska” remains devoted to its autonomy and wishes to have as best as possible relations with Serbia.”