Cvijanovic, PM of Republika Srpska: Government stance has to be sought regardless of political trick

Zeljka Cvijanovic

BANJALUKA – Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic says whatever hides behind the game played by the Srpska representatives in the joint institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government finds it important that its view is sought, even though it would be much better if the BiH Presidency member Mladen Ivanic had done so before the BiH Presidency and the Council of Ministers launched the new negotiations. Cvijanovic has told Srna that this is why Ivanic’s statement that he would respect the view of the Srpska Government about the proposed adaptation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement /SAA/ sounds weird, to say the least.

“If he really meant it and if he really wanted to respect the Srpska Government’s stance on the matter, the BiH Presidency, within which body Ivanic had a part in decision making, would not have ordered the Council of Ministers in October 2015 to change the previous negotiating position and through such change allowed a phased adaptation of the SAA, in accordance with the demands from Croatia and the EU, entirely contrary to the view of the Srpska Government,” said Cvijanovic, adding that the behaviour of the Srpska representatives at the State level now seems like a cheap political trick.

Asked to comment on the announcement by the Party of Democratic Progress that their officials will not take part in a meeting on the SAA adaptation, which was called by President Milorad Dodik, Cvijanovic said she wasn’t surprised by it, even though the idea for such a meeting came exactly after the meeting between Ivanic and Dodik.

“It seems to me that the PDP are now evading the whole thing and running away from responsibility because it was them that caused the problem with their action at the State level that we are now dealing with,” said the PM.

She noted that the BiH Presidency and Council of Ministers had totally annulled the previous basis for negotiations, which included the Srpska’s stance, and then, when the negotiations began, the stance of the Srpska representatives was ignored by the negotiating team throughout the process.

“Our stance has been the same and well-known since 2012. The fact that those who ignored our stance and worked regardless of it now suddenly seek it is just a political trick,” she said.

Asked to comment on the claim made by PDP leader Branislav Borenovic that the responsibility for the SAA adaptation lies with Milorad Dodik and the ruling structures in Republika Srpska, Cvijanovic said that the responsibility lies with those who initiated and conducted the negotiations on the SAA adaptation, who failed to ignore the Srpska’s views.

“They can now say whatever they want, they rolled the dice themselves and now they will have to stop it on their own. They started the whole process without respecting the Srpska’s views and now that they got tangled up with it, now it’s suddenly important to know what the Srpska Government thinks,”said Cvijanovic.

Recalling that the Srpska Government had not changed its views, the PM pointed out that the problem was that the entity representatives launched and conducted the process at the State level without respecting those views, and then tried to get away with it when problems occurred.

“The same thing happened with the coordination mechanism; first they accepted everything that was served them on a platter, and then they stepped aside for us to fix what they broke. Now it’s happening with the SAA negotiations, they launched and conducted a new process of negotiations themselves ignoring the Srpska’s views along the way. And now that they are tangled up with it, they throw the ball back to the government to fix their mistakes. If they wanted to know the government’s stance, they wouldn’t have launched, conducted and concluded the whole process of negotiations without taking our views into account,” Cvijanovic told Srna.

She believes this situation will not obstruct the negotiations with the EU, and that solutions need to be sought that will be good not only for Croatia and EU, but for BiH as well.

“We remain open for talks and negotiations in order to reach such solutions,”said the PM.