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04 Jan 13 Republika Srpska Slams Kosovo Recognition 'Pressure'

The president of Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity said it would not allow the country to recognise Kosovo as independent.

Banja Luka

Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, RS, said he had been personally subjected to "enormous pressure in order for Bosnia to recognise Kosovo in the euphoria surrounding the acknowledgment of Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence".

But he said that RS took its lead from Belgrade and would not allow Bosnia to recognise Kosovo.

"Bosnia will not recognise Kosovo and no documents on slow or creeping recognition can be planted. We are following Serbia in this," he told reporters on Thursday.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move that Belgrade strongly opposes. So far, the former Serbian province has been recognised by 98 out of 193 UN member states including the US and 22 out of 27 EU member states.

Dodik said that the entity he leads was "facing an absurd situation in which it is being accused by many for separating RS [from Bosnia], while we are saying that we will not allow separatism in countries such as Serbia".

He insisted that "Kosovo has been taken from Serbia" violently in a breach of international law that humiliated all Serbs.

He went on to set out what he said were advantages for Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority of returning to Belgrade's rule.

"Nobody mentioned that if Kosovo was reintegrated in Serbia's structure, (ethnic) Albanians would be brought back to the political system and form the most compact caucus in parliament, and would at the same time have the right to ask for one of the three most important offices on grounds of constitutionality which could be recognised in their case," Dodik said.

He added that this would imply that "Albanian would have to be introduced in parliament as an official language".

Dodik said he believes that Kosovo is now less of a political problem for Serbia than for the EU, whose members are not fully united behind a recognition policy.

"The EU has more of a problem on how to solve this Kosovo issue, because Serbia has a clear stance on it, saying that Kosovo is a part of Serbia, and that's that," he concluded.

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