Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Chairman and its Serb member, Milorad Dodik, urged the leader of the main Bosniak party in the country, Bakir Izetbegovic, to apologise to the Serb people for his recent controversial statement with which he “humiliated not only Serbs but all the peoples that live in the Balkans.”
“In the situation when we are fighting the pandemic and other issues, Izetbegovic stated for the Serbs that they are bad people. It is not unexpected, it would be unexpected for any Izetbegovic to think differently,” Dodik said, following a meeting with the leadership of his political party.
“We’ve known this about him before, but it’s good that we’ve all heard it. The statements were disappointing and dangerous, I think there are no bad peoples, there are bad individuals among peoples,” he said.
Dodik is the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the ruling party in Bosnia’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
The Sunday SNSD session had two major points on the agenda – the decision by Bosnia’s election authority to annul the election results in the towns of Doboj and Srebrenica and “negative political statements on the Serb people and Republika Srpska.”
Izetbegovic made the controversial statement on Thursday. It caused an uproar in Bosnia, especially among officials in the RS.
Speaking about what he thinks is behind Dodik’s policy and whether the Bosnian Serb political leader is serious when he keeps announcing the secession of the RS from Bosnia, Izetbegovic said that he believes Dodik wants to be remembered as a politician who kept the idea of secession open for some possible future times when such a thing would be possible.
“He knows he can’t do it. And when they say ‘there are no bad people, there are only bad leaders’ – I’m not so sure about that. He is appealing to a large number of people who support a raw Balkan policy,” Izetbegovic stated.
When asked whether he was talking about the Serb people as a whole, he said that he was talking about “voters who are supporting him because they want his rude behaviour.”
“What did he say or did he want to say with that statement – that the entire Serb people stand behind their leader united and support positions that protect them? If I am that leader, then I can be proud about that statement,” he said, reiterating that he believes protecting the interests of the Serb people is his “most important task.”
“With this statement, Izetbegovic did not only humiliate Serbs but argued that he despises the Balkan mentality which people live here. As far as I know, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are from the Balkans and we all have that mentality. I know that he would like to keep foreigners here forever so that in that way he can avoid us taking over the management of BiH,” he said.
The SNSD leader noted that Izetbegovic stated that ‘it will not be good if foreigners would leave’, which he argued “confirms that he has an agreement with them on a common goal.”
want stability in this area and peace, and I stand firmly behind the words of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” he said.
Dodik said that Izetbegovic's statement “could be treated as a factor of instability,” as it “causes unrest among all of us,” arguing that his SNSD wants stability and peace in the region and that he “firmly stands behind the words of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” which ended the Bosnian war.
“I sincerely hope that Bakir regrets the racist statement that poisons the relations between our peoples. I hope his advisers told him that was not a good statement. But, I think that he is not alone in that statement and that many people around him think that way,” Dodik said.
“I urge him to clearly say that he did not mean it that way and that the Serb people are just as good as all other peoples. If you apologize, maybe the Serbs will forgive you because, in the end, we have shown that we are such a people,” he said.
“Izetbegovic will not receive any insults from us, especially not regarding the Bosniak people, we will not qualify any of the Bosniaks that way. What he said does not speak about us Serbs, but about Bakir Izetbegovic. Our most significant historical victory is the formation of Republika Srpska, and it is unacceptable for us to have its existence seen as a problem for BiH,” the SNSD leader concluded.