Republika Srspka raises referendum issue “when under pressure”

Belgrade – Nebojša Radmanović has said that relations between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia are “very important and thus need to be improved on a broad basis.”

Radmanović, the Serb member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency and senior official of the ruling Party of Independent Social Democrats in the Serb entity (RS), spoke in Belgrade late on Thursday.

“We will try to cooperate even more and better in the future,” Radmanović said in an interview to Tanjug and RS-based media.

He said that in Thursday’s talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić in Belgrade, marking of the WWI centenary was underlined as very important for both countries.

In addition to this, they also discussed the paths of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia to the EU which implies certain common issues to be addressed jointly in the future.

The topic that could not be avoided was the current situation in Ukraine, on which the two countries have a similar, though slightly different opinion.

Asked about the likelihood of a referendum on independence in the Serb Republic, as well as the official position of Belgrade on this matter, Radmanović pointed out that Serbia is a signatory to the Dayton Peace Agreement and a guarantor of its implementation.

Radmanović emphasized that the RS supports strict implementation of the Dayton Agreement, noting that “it is a situation where no referendum is needed.”

“We only raise the issue of self-determination when they put us under pressure, when they are trying to take away the autonomy that we have now in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We believe Serbia is thinking along the same lines. A referendum is discussed for several reasons, the first being that all peoples in the world have a right to hold referendums, so nobody can prohibit it to the Serb people in Bosnia, that is, in the RS,” he explained.

Referring to Croatia’s proposal for resolving the entity issue in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Radmanović underlined that Croatia now sticks even more strongly to the position that the rights of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be respected, which implies certain organizational changes.

As for the stances voiced by certain European officials that a special approach should be adopted to Bosnia-Herzegovina so that it can “catch up with other Balkan countries along the way to the EU”, Radmanović said that it remains to be seen whether all European countries will accept that idea.

He said that he was “not sure about that,” underscoring that the internal organization is a matter of agreement within the state.

“Unfortunately, there is a certain number of people in Sarajevo dealing with politics that think that one should hope for interventionism and that this would be a solution. I personally think this will not be the case,” Radmanović concluded.

First World War

President Tomislav Nikolić conferred on Thursday in Belgrade with Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member Nebojsa Radmanović on marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

President Nikolić stressed that Serbia should be an active participant in the events marking the WWI centenary and present its view on historical events to the public, in order to prevent the tendency to rewrite history and revise historical facts, the presidential press service announced.

Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency member Nebojša Radmanović underlined the importance of marking the WWI centenary and emphasized that Serbs in the Federation simply cannot accept the attempts to draw a parallel with the events of the 1990’s, states the release.

The importance of cooperation between the two countries for the stability and peace in the region was also discussed in the meeting. (TANJUG)