Bosnia's RS entity party leaders: Refusal to meet with Russian FM damaged BiH

NEWS 15.12.2020 14:20
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Source: N1

The refusal of the Bosniak and Bosnian Croat members of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency to meet with Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister on Tuesday represents an unprecedented expression of disrespect towards Russia and only damages BiH, leaders of parties in Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity said.

Presidency members Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komisic refused to meet with Russia's Foriegn Minister Sergey Lavrov, arguing that he showed disrespect towards BiH and its institutions when he met with their Bosnian Serb colleague in the Presidency, Milorad Dodik, as well as officials from Bosnia's Serb-majority RS entity, separately in a room where no Bosnian flag was displayed.

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They also said that Lavrov welcomed a decision of the RS entity Assembly to proclaim military neutrality, although only Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state has the right to do so.

The move caused an uproar in the RS.

“This is a special kind of diplomatic scandal, but this is not the first time! Unfortunately, this is a constant in BiH, while on the other hand, we have constant destruction of the diplomatic image of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is completely clear that this suits someone,” said Mirko Sarovic, the leader of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS).

Sarovic said that what happened is even more scandalous when taking into account that Russia is a “proven friend” of BiH and the RS.

There is always an attempt to produce some kind of scandal from at least one side in BiH because its leaders benefit from creating tensions in order to distract from the true problems in the country and now, Russia found itself a victim of Bosnian politics, he argued.

According to the leader of United Srpska (US), Nenad Stevandic, the refusal to meet with the Russian minister “not only violated diplomatic rules and foundations of civilised behaviour but also opened the ‘Pandora’s box’ of crisis and tension in BiH.”

Stevandic said that he was present at Lavrov’s meeting with officials from Republika Srpska the day before and that the Russian minister has not shown any disrespect towards BiH in any way, calling the move by Dzaferovic and Komsic a reflection of their “russophobia.”

The two Presidency members have “brought BiH into a situation which could damage mostly Bosniaks, but also all other peoples and citizens (in Bosnia) if it escalates,” he said.

The leader of the Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), Branislav Borenovic, said that the move sent a “very bad message and unprecedented expression of disrespect towards another state.”

Such scandals only damage BiH and deepen divisions within the country, he stressed.