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Analysis 26 Apr 17

Mine Sale Sparks Bosnian Serb-Israeli Diplomatic Row

The possible sale of Bosnia's key iron-ore mine to an Israeli investor has sparked political infighting in Republika Srpska and a diplomatic row involving Bosnian Serb politicians and Israel.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik. Photo/Media Center Belgrade, Wikimedia Commons

The National Assembly of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, opened a discussion on Tuesday on the possible sale of the Ljubija iron-ore mine, an issue which in recent days has been at the centre of clashes among Bosnian Serb politicians, as well as in Israel.

The vote on this complex and deeply controversial issue will test the ruling coalition in Republika Srpska, and could exacerbate a diplomatic spat between Israel and Republika Srpska.

These political tensions have grown in recent months as the RS government inched closer to selling Mines Iron Ore, MIO, Ljubija Prijedor to the Israeli Investment Group-Balkan - an unknown offshore company with little or no experience in mining ore.

The government meanwhile rejected an offer from ArcelorMittal - a global iron ore-producing giant, which has been exploiting ore from a nearby mine in Omarska since 2004 and was seeking to expand its business.

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