Milorad Dodik Serb member of the Bosnian Presidency Photo: EPA/Stephanie Lecocq
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has threatened to torpedo a number of major achieved reforms in the country, including the formation of joint armed forces and a state court and police agency, unless a state-level government is formed soon.
On Tuesday, he said the Serb-led entity, Republika Srpska, “will withdraw from the Armed Forces Agreement. It will withdraw its consent to the formation of indirect taxes [the main source of income for state-level institutions]. It will reject the work of the [state] Court and Prosecutor’s Office as well as the work of the State Investigation and Protection Agency [SIPA]”.
Dodik added that the RS would also question all the other competencies that have been transferred from the two entities in Bosnia to state level over the years.
Leaders of the three parties that won most votes in the October 2018 elections, Bakir Izetbegovic, of the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, Dodik, of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, and Dragan Covic, of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, on August 8 agreed on 12 principles that covered a range of key issues that had effectively blocked a new government from being formed.
After the agreement was signed, it seemed that Bosnia was finally about to emerge from the political deadlock it has remained in since the October 2018 elections.
But it soon turned out that the deal was not as clear as some thought. It is still disputed what the three leaders agreed to about NATO – which remains a major stumbling block to the formation of a government.
Future membership of NATO and submission of a plan for this, an ANP, remains an important cause of disagreement. Bosnian Serb leaders are strongly against membership of the Western alliance, while Bosniak and Bosnian Croat politicians support it.
Dodik has said that the issue of NATO is not, and must not be, on the agenda of the three-member state presidency session scheduled for August 20, at which the formation of a state government will be discussed.
“Bosnia will not hand over the ANP to Brussels. It does not say anywhere that it will. The agreement says nothing [about it],” Dodik said.
But the Croat chair of the state presidency, Zeljko Komsic has scheduled two sessions for August 20 – one at Dodik’s request on the nomination of candidates for the new chair of the Council of Ministers [the state government], and a second on sending the ANP to NATO headquarters.
“Everyone will have an opportunity to vote on the agenda, and if there is no ANP [on it], there will be no mandates [for the new Council of Ministers],” Komsic said on Tuesday.
According to BIRN sources in the Bosnian Serb ruling party, the Alliance of the Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, it is “highly unlikely that they will make any progress on August 20”.
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