Nikolic Visit to Banja Luka Upsets Sarajevo

Serbian President’s visit to the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska, has ruffled feathers in the Bosnian capital.President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Ivica Dacic met top officials of Republika Srpska, RS, in Banja Luka on December 26 and discussed the “special relations” between Serbia and the Serb-dominated entity.

Nikolic and Milorad Dodik, the Republika Srpska President, said after the meeting that the good cooperation between Republika Srpska and Serbia could be improved by focusing on concrete projects.

Nikolic said it should not happen “that Serbia has sufficient electricity and RS does not have it or that the RS has sufficient petrol and Serbia lacks it”.

Dodik added that the meeting had focused on energy cooperation with Russia’s Gazprom in constructing the South Stream pipeline and on way sto stop the river Drina from flooding.However, Nikolic’s visit to Banja Luka drew criticism from Sarajevo, where critics noted that the first official visit of the Serbian President since he took up the post in May was not to the Bosnian capital.

Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak member of the tripartite State Presidency, said that Nikolic should have come to Sarajevo first.

“It would have been better if he’d come to Sarajevo first,” Izetbegovic said. “That would be a way of healing relations between Serbia and Bosnia, after all that Serbia has done to Bosnia.”

Nikolic responded only by saying that causing fights between Sarajevo and Belgrade was not the best way to lead the country.

“I will come to Sarajevo when someone invites me, but I wouldn’t like to knock on a closed door,” Nikolic said.

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