Intl peace envoy to N1: Dodik should not be given too much significance

NEWS 02.03.2022 19:00
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Source: N1

Milorad Dodik should not be given too much significance, international peace envoy Christian Schmidt told N1, commenting on the Bosnia Serb Presidency member's take on the war in Ukraine.

“I am worried about him personally. Dodik, as a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is obviously not fulfilling his duties and obligations,” Schmidt said, referring to the adjourned session of the Presidency on Wednesday.

“There cannot be common ground if there is no will to talk to others,” he added.

Dodik, who says BiH will not join the EU sanctions against Russia, left the Wednesday session after other two Presidency members, Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat Zeljko Komsic, refused to discuss BiH's official position on the war in Ukraine. The two officials previously condemned Russia's aggression on Ukraine and expressed support for the EU's sanctions, but the country needs the consent of all three Presidency members to officially impose the sanctions on Russia.

Dodik accused them of “using their own ambassadors in Brussels (EU) and New York (UN) to present exclusively their own positions, the positions that were not agreed on in the Presidency.”

Commenting on the matter, the German diplomat who serves as the international community's High Representative to BiH, said this was a too serious topic not to be discussed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, too.

“I am following what the BiH Presidency members are saying. Komsic and Dzaferovic emphasised that BiH's stance on this matter is completely clear – there is no playing both sides, this is how the international law works and that's it,” he stressed.

Asked if Milorad Dodik is more pro-Russian oriented than Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Schmidt replied that regardless of Dodik being pro-Russian or not, “he is getting lost in his own narrative.”

“That is his main problem,” he stressed.

The diplomat deems that Bosnia and Herzegovina should follow the EU's stance regarding Ukraine.

“This is about an aggression. This is about an attack by Russia against its Ukrainian brothers, in a brutal way. Everyone, especially those who feel connected with Ukrainians and Russians should say this is not good. Of course, we should do so together with the European Union, these are the steps we should follow,” he explained.

According to him, Ukraine will not be an isolated case.

He recalled of the speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday which mentioned the former Soviet Union, and he noted that this makes it clear that this is not an isolated case.

“Although BiH never was a part of the Soviet Union, all countries of this region must make sure they will never be brought into a difficult situation,” Schmidt underlined.

However, he stressed that Bosnia and Herzegovina is not in jeopardy and that no one is threatening it now. According to him, the country lacks wise politicians who will decide what to do for the country and what they owe to the people.

He deems that the road to Europe will mean the stabilisation of the country.

“That's what I advocate – that all Western Balkan countries are closely linked to the European union,” added Schmidt.

Asked if there will be accelerated accession procedure for Bosnia and Herzegovina, he replied that it will be “accelerated step by step.”

“It is important for me to send a clear message to the youth here: Europe wants you,” Schmidt stressed.

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