The National Assembly of Republika Srpska confirmed support on Thursday evening for an initiative by the Serb member of the tripartite State Presidency Milorad Dodik to block a presidential decision his other two colleagues passed concerning the construction of a bridge in Croatia.
Serb member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik stated before the Republika Srpska National Assembly that Thursday’s special session represented an affirmation of the interests and rights of Serbs, especially when outvoting took place, and stressed he would always use the right to protect the entity’s vital interest, if threatened.
He reiterated that the conclusion on accepting official BiH’s position on the continuation of the Komarna-Pelješac Bridge construction, passed without consensus at the BiH Presidency session, was highly detrimental to Srpska’s vital interests.
“The National Assembly is the place for our protection, not the BiH institutions. For the first time, I use the right to protect the entity’s vital interest and I will always use it if it is threatened,” Dodik said in the opening address at the session where the proposed Decision on confirming his statement that conclusion on accepting BiH’s official position on the continuation of the Komarna-Pelješac Bridge construction is detrimental, will be reviewed.
Dodik said that the will to respect the Dayton Peace Agreement and the commitment to BiH as a union of two entities and three constituent peoples is expressed and confirmed by applying this constitutional provision, as the BiH Constitution reads, not the decisions made by the OHR and the Constitutional Court of BiH as the instruments of violation and re-writing of the Dayton Agreement.
BiH Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik said that the conclusion reached by two members of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić, threatened the vital interest of Republika Srpska as an entity in BiH, thus he left the final decision on this issue to the National Assembly – the highest legislative body in Srpska according to the BiH Constitution defined competencies.
“Those who say that Republika Srpska and its National Assembly will harm BiH by challenging this conclusion, or undermine or deny rights that belong to it according to international conventions, did not take into account irresponsibility and irresponsible approach of two members of the BiH Presidency who make such decisions not taking into account the actual interests of the country they represent,” Dodik said.
He said there were malicious claims that Republika Srpska, declaring the continuation of the Pelješac Bridge construction a vital interest, wants to harm BiH, while in fact, it is about the need to prevent political abuse of the fact that BiH is a maritime country with an access to the sea.
“According to the views of the international community and the EU, including the documentation submitted to date – the access to the open sea, i.e. the right to access to the sea based on international conventions, will not be denied by the construction of this bridge, as it is being built 500 meters away from the temporary line of demarcation, while its dimensions will not be a threat,” Dodik said.
He adds that the conclusion explanation says it is necessary to establish that BiH is a maritime country, with all the rights of the Convention on the Law of Protection of the Sea, which is the essence.
“It would not be disputable if the obstruction of other key projects, such as the agreement on the construction of a bridge on the Sava River near Gradiška that was finally signed in Zagreb on the same day when two Presidency members passed challenged conclusion by outvoting, was not attempted,” said Dodik.
He assessed that the construction of a bridge near Gradiška in Republika Srpska is of particular vital importance to both Republika Srpska and BiH, bearing in mind that it was one of the most important border crossings towards Croatia and the EU, through which nearly half of the cross-border trade takes place and important road network.
He stressed that the sovereignty and integrity of BiH should be safeguarded by consistently applying the Constitution, establishing institutions in accordance with the law, passing joint decisions that are in the interest of all citizens of this country, not of one nation only, neglecting the other two.
He explained that by entering conclusion adopted by outvoting into force would result in halting EU financed project whose contractor is the Chinese company “China Road and Bridge Cooperation” that won a tender in Croatia.