Russia's interest in having the influence in the Balkans is as natural as the interest that the US, the European Union or Turkey have in the region, said former member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency and former foreign minister Mladen Ivanic, speaking from Baku where he is attending the 8th Global Baku Forum.
“They are all important actors in the Western Balkans and they all have their own interests,” Ivanic told N1.
Commenting on the UN Security Council session on Bosnia and Herzegovina, held on Wednesday, Ivanic said that the countries certainly reached a deal behind the closed doors in which everyone saw their own benefit.
If any of them felt their interests were threatened they would have used veto.
“The fact that none of them used veto tells that they all are satisfied with certain elements,” he said, referring to the session in which the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of EUFOR mission, which is the EU's military deployment overseeing the implementation of peace process after the conflict of the 1990s.
Although it was originally planned, the international community's High Representative in BiH Christian Schmidt did not present his report on the situation in the country but only delivered it to the missions at the UN.
Ivanic deems that the countries managed to reach a compromise that satisfied each side.
He finds it “annoying” that local actors in BiH are often using the foreign interests rather than their own.
“Our interest is supposed to be logical and normal, to have a communication among all those who regionally represent different actors. I think this is a huge problem that will result in the conflict of the big ones because of us. And when the big ones are in conflict because of the small ones and on the territory of the small ones, trust me, the small ones will suffer,” said Ivanic.
Asked to comment on the support that Russia shows for the ideas of Milorad Dodik, current Serb member of Bosnia's Presidency, who often advocates secessionist plans for Bosnia's Serb-majority region Republika Srpska, Ivanic said that he is not sure about that.
He stressed that Russia keeps reiterating its support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and has never denied it.
“I think that Russia is firmly trying to create a balance, because thre are those who acted against Republika Srpska in the past, by imposing some laws, punishing some people. There should always be a balance, it is somewhere in between,” Ivanic added.