We talked with the Office of Public Relations of the U.S. embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina about sanctions for Republika Srpska’s president Milorad Dodik, about national television and Donald Trump’s policy for the Western Balkans and BiH.
The U.S. recently imposed sanctions to the RS president Milorad Dodik – How long did that proccess take before you made it official? When did you first start to consider imposing sanctions?
As Mr. Dodik’s divisive rhetoric and provocative actions continued to escalate last fall, we warned that there would be consequences.
In its role as a guarantor of the Dayton Peace Accords, the United States has a responsibility to respond to clear violations of the agreement, such as defying an order of the Constitutional Court of BiH, which Mr. Dodik did by holding the September 25 referendum.
Sanctions against Mr. Dodik were officially announced on January 17, 2017.
How long do you plan to keep those sanctions?
Sanctions like these are serious. They are not levied easily, and are not removed easily.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) consults with other U.S. Government agencies with interests and information integral to the process to determine when people are added to, or removed from, the Western Balkans Sanctions Program.
Delistings require a lengthy and independent administrative review in accordance with OFAC regulations.
What do you think about editorial policy of Radio televizija Republike Srpska (RTRS)?
The U.S. Embassy considers press freedom vitally important for the future of BiH, and public broadcasters dedicated solely to serving the interests of the citizens of this country are key to ensuring access to objective news and information needed by an informed electorate in a functioning democracy. We do not believe that the editorial policy of RTRS reflects the interests of all residents of the Republika Srpska.
After Trump’s inauguration, was the US policy towards BiH changed?
The U.S. commitment to peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina has long-standing, bipartisan support. U.S. Government policy remains dedicated to supporting the people of BiH in upholding the Dayton Peace Accords, maintaining the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and promoting continued European integration.