In power for fifteen years in Banja Luka, the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, threatens to remove the Serbian Republic from common Bosnian institutions, in particular the army. He is contesting a resolution sanctioning the glorification or denial of war crimes. Back from Russia, where he met Vladimir Putin, he received The world December 4 in Banja Luka.
Threatened with new sanctions by the European Union and the United States, you went to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin. Did you find the support you were hoping for in your confrontation with the High International Representative in Bosnia, the German Christian Schmidt?
The kind of conversation I can have with President Putin is very different from the ones I have in Sarajevo or in the West, that’s very honest. We have tried to find solutions to the political crisis in Bosnia.
Mr Putin confirmed to me that Russia did not vote for the appointment of Christian Schmidt as high international representative in Bosnia to the UN Security Council, so the latter has no legitimacy. Mr. Putin’s approach is that there must be dialogue and compromise between the leaders of the three peoples of Bosnia, without foreign intervention. The situation is therefore clear: there is no high international representative in Bosnia. I have no time to waste with Mr. Schmidt.
Mr. Putin also informed me of his views on NATO, which I share. We refuse to allow Bosnia to ever be a member of NATO, an organization which has bombed the Serbs twice in twenty-five years.
Are you still threatening to withdraw the Serbian Republic from the Bosnian army?
This Bosnian army story is irrational. This army makes no sense. It’s actually more of a NATO army than a Bosnian army, and its officers talk more with foreign officials than with us, the country’s three presidents. According to [l’accord de paix de] Dayton [signé en 1995], each entity of the country had to have its army. The Serbian Republic had its own until a high representative decreed that these armed forces should merge. This army law is illegal.
For me, the best solution is that there is no armed force in Bosnia. I am proposing total demilitarization. If that is not possible, then we will go back to the Dayton terms and recreate our army. The parliamentarians of the Serbian Republic will soon register the withdrawal of our agreement for a Bosnian army, then we will give six months to negotiations. If, after six months, the negotiations on the demilitarization of Bosnia have not been successful, then we will reform the Army of the Serbian Republic.
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Milorad Dodik threatens to “recreate a Serbian army” in Bosnia if the country is not “demilitarized”