news 09 Nov 12

Dodik Blames High Representative for Bosnia's Ills

As the international community's overseer publishes a highly critical report, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik says the High Representative is himself to blame for the problems.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, the Serb dominated entity in Bosnia, has criticised the latest report by the Office of High Representative, OHR, the international community's overseer of the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the 1992-war in the country.

Dodik spoke after meeting Dragan Covic, leader of the largest Croatian party, the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia, HDZ BiH, in Mostar on November 8, where Covic accepted Dodik's recent political deal with Zlatko Lagumdzija, leader of the ruling Social Democrats.

Dodik blamed the OHR for Bosnia's political problems, especially in the Bosniak and Croat dominated entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The main one to blame is the High Representative," he said. “Not even the Bosniak parties are as much to blame as the OHR is. They're the ones who formalized political violence.”

The Federation entity's current government functions on the basis of a decision brought by the OHR, which approved its formation, but which does not include Covic's party.

Covic added that the reconstruction of the Federation government will happen and will involve bringing the “the legitimate representatives of Croats” into it.

The OHR report, which Valentin Inzko is to present to the UN Security Council next week, says promising developments from the beginning of the year have stalled.

It added that after the formation of the state-level government in February and the adoption of a budget in May, the parties immediately started power struggles, sometimes ignoring the laws and due procedures.

The report also said a growing concern is that the “leadership of the Republika Srpska has intensified its six-year policy of open and direct challenges to the fundamentals of the [1995] Peace Agreement.

“Statements uttered by senior RS figures, as well as actions initiated by them to erode the competencies of the state, raise profound doubts about the commitment of the current RS leadership to...the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH,” it stated.

“This issue of open and growing advocacy for the dissolution of BiH by officials from the RS, first and foremost by the entity's President Milorad Dodik, is one which I believe deserves the special attention of the international community,” the report said.

But, speaking in Mostar after meeting Covic, Dodik said it was the OHR that was violating the terms of the 1995 peace agreement.

He could only accept Bosnia and Herzegovina “if it is brought back within the Dayton Agreement,” he added.

“And also if the violence of the High Representative is eliminated, and the issue of Croats and their political-territorial organization solved and respected,” Dodik continued.

He was referring to Croatian complaints that Croats are marginalised in the country and in the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity, which is mostly run by Bosniaks.

“Having in mind this current Bosnia – I am absolutely against it,” he told the press conference after the meeting with Covic.

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