Bosnian Serb Leaders Defy Western Envoy

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All principal executive and legislative officials from the Serb-dominated Bosnian entity of Republika Srpska on Tuesday in the strongest terms condemned the latest decisions imposed by country’s High Representative Valentin Inzko.

“The latest decision of the High Representative represents another step towards the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” media on Wednesday quoted the statement that was signed by most key politicians from Republika Srpska’s ruling and opposition parties that currently take part in the work of state and entity bodies. Signatories include Bosnian Serb member of the state Presidency, Nebojsa Radmanovic, State Premier Nikola Spiric, as well as Republika Srpska President and Premier Rajko Kuzmanovic and Milorad Dodik.

Bosnian Serb officials were referring to the set of laws and other decisions that were imposed by Inzko and Deputy High Representative and special Supervisor for northern Brcko District, Raffi Gregorian, last Friday and Saturday, aimed at unblocking some of the legislative impasse that has gripped Bosnia for the past three years.

The package enables the state power transmission company, Elektroprijenos BiH, whose work was blocked for most of the last two years, to continue working. It also prevents either of the two Bosnian entities getting hold of company’s property in the Brcko district in case of its eventual dissolution. Instead, that property would belong to the district itself.

In addition to the decision related to the power transmission company, Bosnia’s envoys imposed a set of decisions that were supposed to be adopted by local leaders, which enable the final closure of the special Brcko supervision by the end of this year. This was also one of the key preconditions for the eventual closure of the Office of the High Representative, OHR.

In their joint statement, officials from Republika Srpska stressed that they reject these decisions as they represent a flagrant violation of the Dayton peace accord and “a brutal attack on the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“We warn the local and international public that it is high time to end legal and any other violence which is being carried out against Republika Srpska by the so-called High Representatives, which have long ago become a source of problems rather than of solutions for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the statement said and called the OHR to return within the limits of its mandate or face consequences for future developments.

The statement is yet another sign of escalating tensions among Bosnian Serb, Croat, Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and international officials, within the worsening political crisis that has crippled Bosnian government for the past three years.
The joint statement also represents a further challenge to the international presence in the country. Nevertheless, some analysts sought comfort in the fact that Bosnian Serb leaders have so far refrained from calling for a full boycott of all state institutions and bodies that could bring the country on the verge of collapse.

Speaking at the meeting of the EU’s Political and Security Committee in Brussels on Tuesday, Inzko also warned of the worsening environment in the country.

“The political climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina has worsened over the last few months and most reforms have come to a standstill,” he said, listing a long list of problems and setbacks and few improvements that were registered in the country lately.

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