Dodik to Turkish media: ‘Peace’ is primary and most important word in Balkans

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Source: Milorad Dodik (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Milorad Dodik, the Chairman of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency and its Serb member, said the peace is a “primary and most important” word in the Balkans, and that agreement between Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats is needed for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a stable country.

Speaking to Turkish state television TRT World, Dodik said BiH is in peace now, but if an agreement is not possible a peaceful dissolution is one of the options.

“If that agreement is not possible what else is there people can do, using certain rights and as one of the alternative solutions, but get divided i.e. apart and live in peace. The peace is a primary and most important word in the Balkans,” he said.

Commenting on the relations between the three major ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats – Dodik said they can live in peace, respect each other and avoid interfering with each other's political affairs and resources, and exchange their good experiences as good partners and neighbours.

“It is possible. This is only about that no one wants to have anyone above them. So, we must be entirely equal, and then create circumstances to live in peace,” he added.

As for Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia's Serb-dominated region where he was elected for the State Presidency, Dodik said that people here “want to see (Republika) Srpska as a strong autonomy in BiH, without the interference of high representatives but also without constant attacks of Bosniak political elites on Republika Srpska.”

“This is BiH we could live in, but it is becoming a problem to maintain the will to stay in BiH where the existence of Republika Srpska and its dignity is constantly disputed, where its competencies are constantly attempted to be seized,” he said, adding that this is why all options are open.

“But I am calling again, and I also said that before the National Assembly (RS entity parliament), for agreement between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats without the participation of high representative. Of course, there has to be a certain element of the international presence but it cannot be decisive,” said Dodik, referring to the Office of the High Representative, an international institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina established after the Bosnian 1992-95 war to oversee the implementation of the peace process and assigned with special powers to impose laws and dismiss officials.

“If we create such circumstances, the agreement between the three peoples in BiH is possible,” he added.

Dodik recently paid an official visit to Ankara alongside other two Presidency members, Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat Zeljko Komsic, where they met with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The meeting was assessed as successful and officials agreed the relations of the two countries were not burdened by any open issues.

The Presidency Chairman said BiH and Turkey had a large number of agreements regulating many sectors including agriculture, education, healthcare, sports and banking, but that cooperation should be upgraded and broader than it is now.

“BiH is experiencing more and more problems with forest protection given the fact that no adequate measures are taken to enable that protection, and Turkey's experience and its special organisations can certainly help here,” Dodik said.

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