Bosnian Serbs Rebuff Western Criticism

Bosnian Serb leaders have shrugged off the latest criticism from the international community’s top envoy to Bosnia and Herzegovina as “incorrect and generic.”

“People in the Office of the High Representative, OHR, think that their opinions are imperative and that they should remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina but we will not allow that,” local media on Monday quoted the premier of the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, as saying.

Criticism from Dodik and other senior Bosnian Serb officials was triggered by the address which High Representative Miroslav Lajcak gave before the United Nations Security Council, on Friday evening.

In his address, Lajcak strongly lambasted Bosnian leaders for their radical rhetoric and demands.

“In the past months we have seen negative and nationalist rhetoric from all quarters continuing to be the norm, instead of the exception. There have been numerous challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement, both against the state and its structures and against the existence of Republika Srpska as one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Lajcak said in his address.

“It is of some comfort, naturally, to note, that this has not spilled over onto the security situation, which remains stable. However, the nationalist and ethnic agendas have continued to prevail over the agenda that actually should matter – the Euro-Atlantic agenda,” he said.

In his address to the UN Security Council, Lajcak singled out the Bosniak member of presidency, Haris Silajdzic, as well as Republika Srpska leadership as the main culprits for the continued political deadlock in the country.

Lajcak accused the Republika Srpska authorities for challenging the state institutions, competencies and laws, as well as playing “political games” with the rule of law.

The OHR is “encountering difficulties” in the relationship with the Bosnian Serb leadership, Lajcak complained. He stressed that the recent criminal charges, initiated by the Republika Srpska Government against a number of local and international officials, including principle deputy High Representative Raffi Gregorian was a move “against the international community as a whole.”

In his address to the Security Council, Lajcak said the political situation in Bosnia has delayed the closure of the OHR, and stressed the need for a stronger international and especially European Union presence in the country.

Dodik told media that this Lajcak’s criticism was “unacceptable” and mostly aimed at prolonging the OHR mandate in the country. He added that the criminal charges have been legitimate move of his government, using legal mechanisms, to protect Republika Srpska and its government.

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