Serbia “to protect survival” of Serb entity

Aleksandar Vucic

BELGRADE — Aleksandar Vučić said on Saturday that Serbia respected the Dayton Agreement and the integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But the deputy prime minister in the outgoing government and leader of the SNS party added that the country “would always protect the survival of the Serb political entity in the country, Republika Srpska (RS).”

“On its way towards membership in the EU, Serbia will protect its stability, but it will also always protect the stability and survival of RS,” Vučić told a joint news conference after a meeting with RS President Milorad Dodik in Belgrade.

Vučić also said that a new, special team for the improvement of the relations with the RS would be formed and also that it would not be a threat to anyone.

“The team will include important officials of Serbia and the RS and it will follow the Dayton Agreement in its work, respecting the territorial integrity of all the countries in the region,” he explained.

Vučić said that during the meeting Dodik raised the issue of cooperation in the power supply industry and putting to use the potential of the river Drina, which runs between Serbia and RS, including the development of tourism in the area.

Dodik also wanted to discuss building a separate leg of the South Stream gas pipeline that would go through the RS, Vučić stated, adding that the issue would be talked over with the Bosnian government. According to Vučić, Dodik informed him that the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina might take a negative stand regarding the issue.

“In that case, the way would be open to make such an arrangement with the RS,” Vučić remarked, adding that Serbia would still try to find a joint solution.

The two officials also discussed forming a joint team to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One, which began with Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia.

“Strong Serbia”

RS President Milorad Dodik has said that “a strong Serbia was crucial for the existence of the RS within Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

Serbia got “a powerful government and institutions” after the snap parliamentary poll, Dodik told a joint news conference after a meeting with Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade.

He congratulated the Serb Progressive Party (SNS) on their victory in the election, stressing that “it is an important breath of fresh air in political terms.”

He stated that as leader of the Party of Independent Social Democrats of the RS, he would be willing to sign a cooperation agreement with the SNS on issues that should be addressed by the authorities of both Serbia and the Serb entity in Bosnia.

He said he had discussed with Vučić ways in which to speed up the procedure of granting Serbian citizenship to RS citizens, but that they had also discussed dual citizenship.

“If the Hungarians and Bosniaks are entitled to dual citizenship, why cannot we have the same right,” Dodik wondered.

Commenting on the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he said that nothing was functioning on the federal level and accused the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina – the Muslim-Croat entity – obstructing Bosnia-Herzegovina’s EU integration, and thereby RS’s as well.

Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina do not feel comfortable and the country costs the RS more than it should, he stressed. “They (the government in Sarajevo) have no solution. They block everything and strengthen our conviction that we do not belong there,” the RS president noted.

“Sarajevo is the key of the problems, political problems,” Dodik stated, stressing that “that is why the RS wants a powerful and strong Serbia” that is crucial for RS’s existence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (TANJUG)