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News 27 Dec 16

Dodik's Attempt to Attend Trump Inauguration Falls Flat

Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, said the US had denied him a visa to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump because he refused to change his policies.

Srecko Latal
BIRN
Sarajevo
Milorad Dodik. Photo: Anadolu

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik on Monday said the United States had refused to issue him a diplomatic visa to attend the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Dodik said he was told that he would not be travelling to the US as representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Why then [have] a diplomatic passport of BiH?" Dodik asked, adding he might renounce it and start travelling with a Serbian passport next year.

Dodik's planned trip to Trump's inauguration had caused controversy in recent days.

While Dodik claimed on Monday he was invited to the inauguration ceremony by Trump's transition team, media in Bosnia reported on Tuesday that Dodik had never been invited to the official inauguration, but had only bought a ticket for one of the accompanying balls that take place in Washington on inauguration day.

Dodik showed a TV station what he said was the invitation, but most of the document, including its header and signatory, could not be seen.

Previously, Bosnia's Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak denied that Dodik received an invitation to the official inauguration ceremony.

In the past, Dodik has spent millions of US dollars from the budget of Republika Srpska on foreign lobbying firms which critics said he used to promote himself as well as the RS. 

Dodik blamed the US embassy in Sarajevo for the muddle over the [non] invitation, saying that as soon as he has received the invitation, he was subjected to pressure from US diplomats, who demanded he change his policies.

"I told them that the most responsible party for the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in crisis is the old administration of the US because they are the [de facto] rulers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have asked them to ... stop meddling," he told thre RS broadcaster, RTRS, adding that the next day his US visa was officially denied.

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