State Department’s envoy for the Western Balkans region Gabriel Escobar asked Bosnia’s Milorad Dodik to stop with “some kind of rhetoric that he finds problematic, “ the Bosnian Serb Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik said Thursday evening, adding that US threats are unacceptable and ineffective.
“There was talk about the ‘Open Balkans’ initiative. We absolutely agreed that it was a good initiative. I said I support that initiative. Any initiative that leads to the opening of borders is certainly welcome, regardless of its name,” said Milorad Dodik.
BiH Presidency member added that Escobar initiated several more topics.
“He asked that we allegedly unblock the institutions and stop some kind of rhetoric that is problematic in his opinion. I told him that was no rule of law in BiH, that the latest decision of the High Representative (to ban genocide denial in the country and glorification of war criminals) was not right. He agreed with me that it was not a legal decision, but a political one. I told him that the institution of the High Representative doesn’t exist for us. One should be honest and say that he supported the alleged High Representative [Christian Schmidt]. It is a situation in which one should not talk to those who act from a position of power and not law. That is the essence of the conversation. There were also some allegations of secession. We talked about this solution that will impose itself. We have no plan for secession. Our announcement that we will withdraw the Republika Srpska entity’s consent [for state institutions such as the state judiciary and Armed Forces of BiH] is a return to the original Dayton Peace Agreement, and not the territorial dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Milorad Dodik concluded.
The US envoy told Dodik that the US was never threatening him, but merely stating the facts.
“I told him that if they continued to threaten us that we wouldn’t talk, to which he said that he wasn’t threatening, but that it was a fact. That means the threat is a fact. I know some old practices of that good man, he was the head of the office of the American Embassy in Banja Luka in 1998, but he must have changed as well. This is the only way I can tell him from here that the environment of violence perpetrated by his administration is no longer possible. Therefore, he should choose, if he wants an agreement we can talk, and if he wants threats and sanctions it is absolutely unacceptable. It is absolutely out of place to threaten me with the sanctions of his country (USA), and I am already under their sanctions and nothing special has happened,” said Dodik.
According to the Serb Presidency member, the conversation was quite unpleasant and that some harsh words were spoken. Nevertheless, he said he was looking forward to meeting Escobar in person.
In the end, he said that Bosnian Serb ministers and state officials did not block anything, but that no one is scheduling regular sessions. In his opinion, there was never any blockade, but that their decision not to take part in the decision-making process until the ban was repealed was completely right.
Bosnian Serb ministers and officials in the state government are boycotting the work of state institutions by attending but not voting for any decision on the agenda, thus making their adoption impossible. They initiated the boycott after the former international community’s High Representative in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, Valentin Inzko, imposed amendments to the BiH Criminal Code making it illegal to deny the Srebrenica and any other genocide as well as to glorify convicted war criminals.