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News 14 Nov 17

Bosnian Serbs Threaten Walkout Over Izetbegovic Statement

Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, called on its representatives in state institutions to stage a walkout after Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic, suggested waging war against Republika Srpska if it opts for independence.

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Bakir Izetbegovic. Photo: Beta/Emil Vas

Republika Srpska called on its representatives in Bosnia's state institutions to drop everything and walk out after Izetbegovic told German public broadcaster Deutche Welle that war could be a means by which to resolve internal political issues in the country.

"We invite parties within the Alliance for Change ... to leave state institutions without delay and return to Republika Srpska for consultations, where we will prepare a joint response to the threats of war made from Sarajevo yesterday, in cooperation with the other parties in the National Assembly," said a statement issued jointly by ruling RS parties.

The ruling coalition noted that Izetbegovic's insinuation of war deeply disturbed the whole of RS and the region.

In the TV interview aired Monday, Izetbegovic was asked if he was prepared to wage war if RS was to declare independence. He responded, "yes, I am."

"Everyone in this country who loves this country must be ready to go to the end when it comes to territorial integrity," he said.

Across the border in neighbouring Serbia, the president, Aleksandar Vucic, told media on Tuesday that Izetbegovic's interview had reignited many complicated issues in the region.

"His statement is more serious than anyone in Serbia can apprehend at this point," Vucic said.

Both the Alliance for Change and Vucic also condemned Izetbegovic's suggestion that Bosnia would recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

In the same interview, Izetbegovic said, "Kosovo should have already been recognized."

Asked whether Bosnia and Herzegovina would recognise Kosovo, Izetbegovic responded with, "I hope so."

The joint statement from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Socialist Party (SP), and the Democratic National Alliance (DNS) said, "Izetbegovic added fuel to the fire when he committed himself to the recognition of the false state of Kosovo, which has jeopardised Serbia's efforts to preserve peace and stability in the Balkans."

Vucic said that Serbia will wait a few days before officially responding.

"If I'd said that the RS needs to be independent, they would send me to the Hague within 15 days," Vucic added.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, also told TV Prva, that he expects Vucic to call a session of the National Security Council within 48 hours to review Serbia's response.

"This is causing additional divisions between the Serbs and the Bosniaks," he said.

The president of RS and the leader of SNSD, Milorad Dodik, has said many times that RS will eventually emerge as an independent country.

He confirmed on Monday that there is no formal decision in the Republika Srpska concerning the process of independence, but that people in the entity are thinking about it.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. Since then 110 UN members have recognised it, as well as 23 out of 28 EU member states.

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