The main Bosniak party issued a statement saying it is responding to the Serbian President’s efforts to meddle in the election campaign in Bosnia by accusing Bosniaks of wanting to breach the constitutions of both countries.
Accusations of meddling in each other’s internal affairs erupted when two candidates for Bosnia’s Presidency, a Bosniak and a Croat, drew a parallel between the Serbian province of Sandjak which is mostly inhabited by Bosniaks and Republika Srpska (RS), one of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous regions mostly inhabited by Serbs.
The two did this after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated that Serbia loves the RS and respects its integrity. Sandjak and Republika Srpska cannot be compared because Sandjak as a separate entity does not exist in Serbia’s Constitution, while Republika Srpska does exist in Bosnia’s Constitution, he said.
"Vucic doesn’t have to worry about someone from Bosnia and Herzegovina jeopardizing Serbia. That has never happened throughout history while the other way around, it has, and not so long ago. Despite all of this we want to build with our neighbour Serbia good relations based on equality and better relations between Serbs and Bosniaks,” the statement from the Party for Democratic Action (SDA) candidate for the Bosniak seat in the tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said in the statement.
Bosniaks in Bosnia will always have a special relationship with Sandjak and Bosnia will “respect Serbia just as much as Serbia respects Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Dzaferovic said in the statement.
However, he agreed with Vucic that the RS and Sandjak cannot be compared.
“Sandjak is a historical region where Bosniaks are the autochthonous population, while the RS entity emerged as a result of aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, ethnic cleansing, grave crimes including genocide, committed by the armies and police of Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic,” Dzaferovic said, referring to wartime Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.
All three ended up tried at the U.N. tribunal for war crimes and genocide.
Vucic said that Serbia has invested in Republika Srpska’s infrastructure and that nobody should be bothered by a school there being named ‘Serbia’. He said he would not mind if Bosnia would build schools in Sandjak that would be named after Bosnia.
Dzaferovic replied that Serbia should rather stop ignoring and discriminating Bosniaks in Sandjak and start investing there in order to improve the lives of people in that province.