Marking the Day of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-dominated region, should not be the reason to produce tensions because there is no reason for that, Social Democratic Party (SDS) leader Boris Tadic said speaking to N1, adding that focus of attention should, instead, be on structural relations and reconciliation.
“It is my suggestion that the whole discussion on this matter in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is instrumentalised by populist and nationalist political parties, is shifted to the matter of structural relations and functionality in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the matter of reconciliation, which is completely ignored,” said Serbian opposition leader, commenting on the controversial celebration of the RS Day, which Bosnia's Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional as it is marked on an Orthodox religious holiday, St. Stephen Day, and as such discriminates other ethnic groups living in that part of Bosnia.
Despite the court decision and strong opposition of mainly Bosniaks, the holiday is still marked on January 9. This year, a number of Serbian top officials attended the event.
Tadic, former President of Serbia, said he would have attended this holiday had he been invited, adding that the tensions over this matter are exaggerated instead of reduced.
“There are arguments on both sides which have to be taken into consideration but it is the fact that the RS is an expression of the legitimate will of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was established even before the war. What's much worse is the matter of Serbia's defence strategy, which directly interferes with the competencies of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he stressed, refusing to comment on Bosnia's Constitutional Court decision concerning the holiday.
Insisting on the RS Day or any other holiday in Bosnia, shifts the focus from important issues to totally unimportant ones.
Asked about the message that Belgrade sends by saying that the RS is a priority of Serbian Government, Tadic said this is something that “goes in favour of official Sarajevo” and compared it to Belgrade's criticism over the Law on Religious Freedoms in Montenegro.
According to him, such messages are used only for populist purposes.
“Those are chauvinists, nationalists, populists wearing different suits. They arrange things in a very efficient way. When the lights are off, they tell each other: You can make use of this, you can give a patriotic response from your point of view, we will then reply on that, and then we will win the elections,” explained Tadic.