A senior US diplomat in Bosnia denied accusations that he was behind a conspiracy against top Bosnian Muslim leaders leveled at him by an influential newspaper publisher and the country’s Islamic Community.
“There are no lists, nobody is targeted, there is no conspiracy, nothing of that type exists,” the Deputy High Representative to Bosnia Raffi Gregorian told popular investigative TV program 60 minutes on Monday night.
The Avaz Publishing Company accused Gregorian over the weekend of preparing and distributing to international diplomats on behalf of the Office of the High Representative, OHR, a criminal network diagram and a report mentioning most of Bosnia’s Bosniak political, religious, business and media leaders.
Among others, Avaz’s owner Fahurdin Radoncic and spiritual leader of Bosnia’s Muslims Mustafa Ceric were shown in the diagram at the center of an all-encompassing criminal network.
After the diagram was published by Avaz’s publications Dneveni Avaz daily and weekly magazine Global, Bosnia’s Islamic Community said they were “shocked” comparing the document to “the (Nazi Germany’s) final solution for the Jewish question in Europe.”
“Implying that the OHR or I personally are behind an alleged ‘final solution’ for Bosniaks is monstrous,” Gregorian said adding that the representatives of the Islamic Community did not attempt to contact him before issuing the statement.
The High Representative Valentin Inzko previously told the media that he had ordered an internal investigation into the matter.
Gregorian went a step further accusing Radoncic of trying to involve him in rivalries with his long-standing business foes.
“I refused to be drawn into that and that is what I told him,” Gregorian said.
Gregorian also said that Radoncic’s tactics were “almost identical” as those used by Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik to block a probe by Bosnian prosecutors into fraud at highest levels of his government.
Dodik has repeatedly accused Gregorian of plotting against him and his government and said that the US diplomat had devised the investigation the country’s prosecutors launched against him earlier this year.
Dodik has also filed criminal charges against Gregorian before the Bosnian judiciary.
Gregorian accused Radoncic of portraying himself as a defender of Bosniak interests while at the same time “attacking people like myself or theUS ambassador and being friends with Dodik.”
“A senior western diplomat should not allow himself to be drawn into this kind of discussion,” a western analyst who asked not to be named told Balkan Insight.
“If the (OHR) investigation proves that some of the OHR staff were engaged in activities that were against or outside their mandate then it would be up to Inzko to make appropriate decisions,” he added.