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News 10 Nov 17

Serbia and Bosnian Serbs Vow to Strengthen Ties

A joint session of the Serbian and Republika Srpska governments heard warm words and a pledge to soon release a joint declaration on the Serbian nation’s survival.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Zeljka Cvijanovic, Milorad Dodik, Aleksandar Vucic and Ana Brnabic. Photo: BETAPHOTO/MILOS MISKOV/DS

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Friday that Belgrade wants to maintain its special relationship with the Bosnian Serb entity, announcing the release soon of a joint “Declaration on the Survival of the Serbian Nation.”

At a joint session of the governments of Serbia and Republika Srpska, the mainly Serb entity of Bosnia, on Friday in Belgrade, Brnabic told a press conference with Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic that cooperation with Republika Srpska remained high on the list of Serbia’s priorities.

She added that Serbia and the Republika Srpska were working on drafting the announced declaration, which would be presented soon. “It is going on its course and I hope the declaration will be presented soon. It is better to finish it properly,” Brnabic said.

Cvijanovic meanwhile said Serbia had played no part in the mainly Serb entity’s recent decision to suspend a long-planned referendum on the powers in the Republika Srpska of the Bosnian state court and prosecutor’s office.

“You are talking about something that is called direct political influence. I do not recognise any direct political influence, but I recognise the political cooperation [with Serbia] that exists and will exist,” Cvijanovic said.

After the session, ministers from both governments signed four joint memoranda, on cooperation in aviation, infrastructure, culture and information and post and telecommunications.

The joint session was preceded by a meeting of the presidents and the prime ministers, namely President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and Milorad Dodik of the RS, besides Brnabic and Cvijanovic.

The border issue between Serbia and Bosnia was also discussed at this meeting, among other things, with Dodik saying he expected the delineation issue between Serbia and Bosnia to be resolved by the end of the year.

However, he also warned that Bosnia’s state authorities, with whom he has poor relations, could complicate the issue. “A consensus with us exists [on the border], so it could be [resolved] by the end of the year, but it is beyond the power of Vucic to know what Sarajevo’s reaction will be,” he said after the meeting.

“Republika Srpska and Serbia have identical stands on the issue of demarcation, and do not perceive this as an essential frontier but as a formal line, which needs to be harmonised, bearing in mind international standards,” he added.

This was the eight joint session of the two governments, the last of which was held back in July 2015.

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