Bosnia’s Croat and Serb leaders, Dragan Covic and Milorad Dodik, have agreed to to work together to create a Bosnian Croat entity. The move drew criticism from Muslims, who claimed it would lead to the “destruction of Bosnia.”
Muslims, Croats and Serbs form the country’s three largest groups but it is currently divided into a Serb entity and a Muslim-Croat federation, where Croats feel they are an oppressed minority.
“Each nationality in Bosnia should have its own area,” Covic said.
Bosnia was divided into a Serb entity and a Muslim-Croat federation under the Dayton peace accord that ended the country’s bloody 1992-1995 war. Both are vested with considerable powers. Dodik also voiced support for the Croat entity, provided the Serb entity and its territory remained intact. “We would have nothing against it,” he said.
Covic and Dodik agreed to work together on constitutional changes that would grant Croats their own entity located in the area of Bosnia where Croats form the majority of the population, according to local media reports.
Croats, Muslims and Serbs form Bosnia’s three biggest groups. But Croats have stepped up calls for their own entity, and complain majority Muslims have dominated the Muslim-Croat federation.
Croats have been additionally irritated by the fact that Croat representative in rotating tripartite state presidency, Zeljko Komsic, was elected with majority Muslim votes in elections on 3 October.
Such “electoral engineering”, which has happened for the second time, must come to an end, Covic said.
“It can only be prevented only by giving Croats their own entity,” he added.
A pro-Muslim Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz said in a commentary on Friday Dodik and Covic were working “on the destruction of Bosnia”.
The move might backfire on both of them, because earlier attempts to break up Bosnia had led to a war, it added.