Moscow, Banjaluka – Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik told SRNA that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised that Russia will continue helping Srpska to repair the damage from flooding as soon as possible.Dodik said that at a meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg, which was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, there was word of all segments of cooperation between Russia and Srpska, which concern a number of political and economic, and even social, issues.
“We also discussed how to improve the defence from natural disasters. We reached agreement at the highest level to procure two large helicopters for Republika Srpska which might serve in such conditions and could help fight forest fires and transport goods and passengers,” Dodik said.
He said that this issue will be resolved in the coming weeks and months.
“President Putin supported the prospects for the best possible conditions for Republika Srpska for such an arrangement,” Dodik said.
He added it is evident that Russian-made helicopters, such as those that arrived in Republika Srpska from Croatia and Slovenia, are the best for emergency situations.
Dodik said that Putin expressed his condolences over the flood victims in Republika Srpska and regret at damage suffered by Srpska.
“President Putin said that the aid the Russian Federation delivered will not stop and that Russia will continue supporting the people of Srpska to repair the damage done by flooding, which is really great, as soon as possible,” said Dodik.
Moscow supports the letter of the Dayton agreement
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik told SRNA after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg that Russia remains strongly committed to the Dayton Agreement and international law. “All the activities Russia is undertaking in this regard on the international scene, as a witness to the Dayton Agreement, amount to support for the letter of this Agreement, without improvisation and the things we were witness to in the past,” Dodik said in a telephone statement for SRNA from St. Petersburg.
Dodik said that this principled position is seen in the behaviour of Russia and the fact that by its presence in the UN and the Security Council Russia often presents the positions of Republika Srpska as well.
“Russia is doing this not to make a fuss or disrupt the atmosphere, but so as to enable the truth to be heard, since that which the High Representatives stated in their reports to the Security Council was most often a twisted truth, half-truth or falsehood,” Dodik said.
He said that the High Representatives in their reports to the Security Council always accused Republika Srpska, which now has an opportunity by way of Russian participation in the UN Security Council to present its positions.
“I thanked the Russian President for such support and for Russia’s principled behaviour in the Peace Implementation Council in BiH, supporting that which they call support for the Dayton accords and international law,” Dodik said.
He added that at the meeting with President Putin, which was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, there was word, in addition to BiH, of the region and developments in the Ukraine and Russia’s position on this issue.
Russian support for budget and institutions of Srpska
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik told SRNA that Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he spoke today in St. Petersburg, expressed his determination to support finding new and faster modalities for support for the budget and institutions of Srpska.“I asked for assistance in connection with prospects for building certain industrial capacities in Republika Srpska in order to reinforce our ability to create new jobs,” Dodik told SRNA in a telephone statement from St. Petersburg.
He says that they also discussed financial support for the budget and institutions of Republika Srpska, for which there is blockage at the BiH level.
“The Russian President is determined to support finding some new, faster modalities towards achieving such solutions,” Dodik said.
Dodik said that in any case, talks about a loan with Sberbank and VTB Bank will continue.
“We are completing talks about a 70-million euro loan with VTB Bank, and I believe it will arrive very soon. We have additional talks about a 300-million euro loan, and we have talks with Sberbank about approximately the same amount,” Dodik said.
He said that money now is needed even more since a comprehensive plan for repairing the damage done by flooding has to be drafted, and along with this, all functions in Republika Srpska should be maintained so that wages and pensions would not be reduced.
“We discussed ways to find a modality that would be sustainable and acceptable for us as well and allow us to re-package some of our commitments,” Dodik said.
Dodik said they also discussed past cooperation concerning the presence of several Russian companies and banks in Republika Srpska and the need for these projects to be maintained, supported, widened and strengthened.
“The Russian President was informed of the activities in connection with Zarubezhneft and the Oil Refinery. Despite the fact that there are many problems, the Russian President supported the implementation of the oil industry project in Republika Srpska and the Southern Stream project,” Dodik said.
When it comes to the Southern Stream, President Dodik said that regardless of procedural problems that exist at the BiH level, primarily with the FBiH, new modalities will be sought for formal agreements between the Russian Federation and Republika Srpska, with the support of the BiH Parliament, as stipulated by the BiH Constitution.
“We think that thus we can solve completely the problem of our formal participation in the Southern Stream project. It is important that the Russian Federation does not give up because of procedural problems, but rather firmly supports this project,” Dodik said.
President Dodik said they also discussed projects in connection with the presence of Sberbank in these parts, and oil and natural gas exploration.
“I am very pleased that here I encountered complete understanding and that the message from President Putin to Republika Srpska and the Serbian people is to endure in these difficult times. The Russian Federation and the Russian people absolutely support our efforts towards economic recovery and our political position regarding respect for the Dayton Peace Agreement,” Dodik said.