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news 12 Sep 14

Bosnia Serb Leader Rubbishes Secession Plan

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has dismissed reports that he planned to declare the Republika Srpska independent during the Crimea crisis, and was only stopped by the Serbian Prime Minister.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska, has denied claims that he planned to declare the independence from Bosnia of the mainly Serbian entity with Russian support - just after Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine.

“The Republika Srpska surely has that concept and will, according to the estimates we have, go in that direction,” he said. “But our prime goal [now] is to strengthen autonomy of [Republika] Srpska,” he added.

The claim emerged in an analysis written by Bodo Weber and Kurt Bassuener of the Democratization Policy Council.

The report on the Western Balkans and the Ukraine crisis said that Dodik planned to separate the entity from the rest of Bosnia after the crisis erupted in Ukraine.

“According to Western diplomatic sources, the Russian annexation of Crimea encouraged Republika Srpska entity President Milorad Dodik to consider undertaking concrete steps toward the entity’s long-threatened secession, allegedly with Russian support,” the report said.

“According to these sources, only Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stopped Banja Luka through his refusal to support such a move,” it continued.

The report noted that the Serbian government led by Vucic “has struggled to maintain a tactical balance between its goal of EU integration and its special relationship with Russia.”

Dodik denied having concocted any such plan, saying that it was all part of the “hysteria in the West around Russia and Crimea”.

“I believe that Mr Weber is informed, but this time he missed it all because everything that he said is spin and a hoax,” Dodik told the Serbian daily Danas.

Democratization Policy Council is led by it political analyst Bassuener and is headquartered in Washington. The organization defines itself as a global initiative to promote accountability in Western democratization policy.

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