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news 20 Jun 13

Bosnian Serbs Maintain Boycott of Capital

Bosnian Serb officials are still refusing to come back to work in Sarajevo, saying that they feel unsafe because of the ongoing street protests in the city.

Kenan Efendic

Members of the State Parliament from Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, on Wednesday said security conditions were not yet satisfactory for them to return to the capital.

They said they were awaiting reports by the State Council of Ministers, among others, before reviewing the situation, Drago Kalabic, MP from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the biggest Bosnian Serb party, said.

Bosnian Serb officials have not worked in Sarajevo since June 7, when protesters demanding adoption of a new law on personal numbers blocked the parliament building, trapping MPs, staff and foreign visitors inside.

Bosnia's Security Ministry and the police have since assessed the security situation and guaranteed the safety of Serbian officials in Sarajevo, noting that only small groups now gather in front of the parliament building each day.

The international community's senior official in Bosnia, the Office of the High Representative, OHR, also called on Serbian officials to come back to work.

“The Security Ministry has already said that there are conditions for officials and institutions to perform their duties. Coming to work is not a matter of choice but an obligation”, Eldar Subasic, spokesperson of the OHR, told the media.

The US embassy was more critical, calling the boycott of state institutions an insult to ordinary people. “Citizens expect their MPs and state ministers not to waste their precious time and come back to the capital and work hard to earn their big salaries,” the US embassy's Office for Public Affairs said.

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