Drasko Stanivukovic, the mayor of Banja Luka, administrative centre of Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity, met with High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt, becoming the first official from the Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity to meet the international peace envoy.
“I am grateful to Stanivukovic for bringing me to Banja Luka and giving me a possibility to give a reference to development of this important city in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Schmidt, calling Banja Luka the capital of Republika Srpska, although the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina recognises only one capital in the whole country – Sarajevo.
Schmidt Banjaluku nazvao glavnim gradom Republike Srpske pic.twitter.com/r8N2Ydgk13
— TV N1 Sarajevo (@N1infoSA) May 26, 2022
Explaining his meeting with Schmidt, whom the Bosnian Serb leadership does not recognise as a legitimate High Representative, Stanivukovic said that “no exclusivity is good.”
“We are defending the interests of Republika Srpska and we respect the conclusions of the Republika Srpska National Assembly but we must move on,” said the mayor.
Asked by N1 reporter in what capacity he is meeting with Schmidt, Stanivukovic replied that it is the same capacity as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Porfirije, who previously met the German diplomat, however avoiding to say clearly if he has met with the international community's High Representative in BiH.
According to Stanivukovic, the meeting was organised at Schmidt's proposal.
“We discussed projects, it was a simple meeting. The topics included the youth, staying here, jobs, and how much Germany and other countrys can support our cities – that's my priority. I want the economy-related topics to dominate,” stressed Stanivukovic.
International peace envoy, High Representative in #BiH Christian Schmidt tours the streets of #BanjaLuka, after the meeting with mayor Drasko Stanivukovic. They made a stop at the memorial to 12 babies who tragically died in the wartime period. https://t.co/wl2h7Ru9wU
— N1english (@N1info) May 26, 2022