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News 18 Oct 17

Bosnian Serbs Adopt Resolution on Military Neutrality

The Bosnian Serb entity assembly has passed a largely symbolic resolution proclaiming its 'military neutrality' as a perceived counterpoint to Bosnian moves to join NATO.

Danijel Kovacevic
Banja Luka

The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska. Photo: Narodna Skupstina RS

The National Assembly of Republika Srpska has adopted a resolution proclaiming the entity's military neutrality at a session that opposition and ethnic minority MPs boycotted.

The resolution proclaims the neutrality of the Republika Srpska entity in relation to military alliances, and says the RS is committed to coordinating its future status with Serbia.

The resolution is largely symbolic as neither of Bosnia's two autonomous entities has an army, while foreign policy is conducted at state level.

However, Ramiz Salkic, the Bosniak Vice President of the RS, said the resolution was more dangerous than it seemed and accused the RS President, Milorad Dodik, of pursuing "a policy that is dictated outside of BiH. Such a policy has the task of destabilizing the region”.

The resolution was adopted only by the deputies of the ruling coalition, after opposition MPs parties and MPs from the Domovina coalition, representing Bosniaks and Croats, refused to participate.

The opposition parties had demanded a discussion on their own proposal, for a resolution on the strategic goals of the RS for the next five years in terms of military neutrality.

After the ruling majority rejected their proposals, around 30 opposition MPs stood behind the Speaker of the Assembly and, with whistles, made a loud noise, trying to interfere with the work of the parliament.

Opposition MPs used similar tactics at the last assembly session.

Speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic ordered opposition MPs to leave the chamber, citing the rules of procedure, but they when to refused to go, the ruling majority continued the session in a small hall.

Branislav Borenovic, a leader of the opposition Party of Democratic Progress, said the opposition did not block the work of parliament but "stopped its illegal work".

“We have stopped the work of the RS assembly in order to preserve it from further anarchy... this is our democratic and correct attitude towards the National Assembly”, Borenovic said on Tuesday evening.

Dodik - and many other Bosnian Serbs - are fiercely opposed to the prospect of Bosnia eventually joining NATO, especially because of the alliance's role in the late 1990s in terminating Serbian rule over the mainly Albanian former province of Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008.

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