Peace has no price, Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik said following a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Saturday, adding that he is ready to sacrifice himself but not the peace for Republika Srpska.
Dodik met Vucic amid increasing tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which emerged after he announced that Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s Serb-majority semi-autonomous region, would withdraw from some state-level institutions including Bosnian Armed Forces, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and the Indirect Taxation Authority.
Dodik’s SNSD is the ruling party in this part of the country and SNSD-led coalition has a majority in the RS entity parliament.
“RS gave its consent for the Armed Forces. The situation of today is such that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not recognise the army. It is absolutely clear that the culmination of negative events for the RS and the Serb people led to a reaction,” Dodik told a press conference after the meeting.
He also blamed the state institutions, namely the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of seizing property from Republika Srpska and annulling its holidays, referring to the court’s rulings passed over the past years.
“This was not done to the Federation,” Dodik said, suggesting that no such decisions were made at expense of the Bosniak-Croat shared entity, the Federation (FBiH).
However, he stressed, the peace in the country “has no price” and that he is not ready to sacrifice the peace for Republika Srpska, but that he would sacrifice himself for the entity.
He also said it is necessary to extend the mandate of the European Union’s military deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR Althea, which is set for vote at the UN Security Council in November this year.
Vucic also addressed media, noting that he would not accept any sanctions on Dodik or Republika Srpska.
“What matters to me is Dodik’s message that, if problems are solved, he is ready to talk and have the institutions function uninterruptedly,” said Vucic, reiterating that it is of utmost importance to maintain talks.
“I said it is very important, regardless of thousands of insults from Sarajevo, to talk to the Bosniaks,” he added.
As for potential sanctions against Dodik or Republika Srpska, the President of Serbia said he would strongly object such attempts.
“I don’t want to warn anyone, because we cannot do that, but I am asking for the problems to be solved in dialogue. I saw tonight Dodik’s good will to talk. And sanctions would only heat up the atmosphere and lead to domino effect. Think twice before you make a decision on sanctions,” Vucic said.