The entities are a constitutional part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but this does not entitle them to unilateral secession from the country, High Representative to BiH Christian Schmidt said Wednesday after the session of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB), noting that the Republika Srpska (RS) entity has no legal basis for unilateral withdrawal from Bosnia’s Constitutional and legal order.
“The entities are a constitutional part of the state, but that does not give them the right to unilateral secession from BiH. They exist legally only on the basis of the BiH Constitution. This needs to be repeated because it seems to me that some have forgotten it in the meantime. The RS doesn’t have the legal authority to unilaterally withdraw from the constitutional and legal order of BiH. Let me be clear – all attempts to endanger state institutions or to reduce their functionality will affect the instability of BiH and its entities,” Schmidt said, noting this was the PIC SB’s first live meeting after two years of virtual meetings.
He added that Russia was also invited to the session but that they did not take part in it.
The High Representative pointed out that there are several options on the table if this continues, and that the PIC SB mentioned “conditioning of financial support, sanctions and other things”.
“If you look at the economic situation in BiH, we should all be committed to improving it. Unfortunately, we see the economic situation in the RS is especially dramatic. If you compare the situation in other countries of the Western Balkans, BiH is extremely affected by the difficult situations. We have seen through the figures we have that there is economic growth elsewhere but that’s not the case in BiH. Why is that? I think investors are concerned about the stability due to the political situation. The international community is very committed, there is no fatigue, but we must encourage all leaders in BiH to build an atmosphere of mutual trust and start a dialogue so that the citizens of this country can really get visible progress, instead of escalating rhetoric. We need a positive vision of BiH,” Schmidt said.
He concluded by saying that the so-called Bonn powers which give the High Representative the right to sanction politicians and impose laws in BiH are ready to come out of his drawer but that he wants the country to decide what it needs to do, adding that everyone should start cooperating.