Cooperation between Serbia and Republika Srpska, is very good, Serbia’s Foreign Affairs Minister and the Srpska President said at a joint press conference following a meeting between them in Banja Luka on Wednesday.
The meeting between Dodik and Dacic was also attended by the RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic and the RS Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Petar Djokic.
‘We are one people,’ Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik told reporters at the conference.
Dodik spoke about a recent issue regarding the border between Bosnia and Serbia. Serbia proposed a swap of territories between the two countries and Bosnian representatives declined it, saying it was not in their state’s interest. Dodik then heavily criticised the decision, telling media that the border will be ‘where Serbia wants it to be.’
Speaking about the border at the press conference, Dodik said that ‘for us this is merely a formal issue, in essence, we don’t perceive this established border,’ but added that it was ‘unforgivable’ that the issue is not resolved between Bosnia and Serbia.
Dodik said that he views Serbia as a guarantee for the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war in the country, and he thanked the Serbian Government and leadership for approving funds for helping municipalities in the RS.
He also said that a hospital named ‘Serbia’ will be opened up in Eastern Sarajevo, and that Serbia will donate five or six ambulance vehicles to RS healthcare institutions.
Dacic said that Serbia and the RS have completed many joint infrastructure projects and that they cooperate according to an Agreement on Special Parallel Relations between them.
‘We take care of our people in Republika Srpska and we support the RS. The issue of the preservation of Republika Srpska and the position of Serbs in Bosnia is, for us, an issue of national interest,’ Dacic said, adding that his country wants good relations with everyone in the region.
He announced that he will visit Banja Luka on September 17, when the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov, is to visit the town.
He also said that Serbia respects the Dayton Agreement and does not want to jeopardize the stability in Bosnia and the RS. A Special Parallel Relations Agreement was also in the past offered to the other semi-autonomous entity in Bosnia, the Croat-Bosniak Federation (FBiH), he said.
Dacic also spoke about the controversy over the announcement that Kosovo’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Behgjet Pacolli, will attend an informal meeting of foreign ministers of Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) countries in Banja Luka.
Dodik strongly objected to Pacolli’s visit, saying he is not welcome in Banja Luka. Pacolli then canceled his visit saying he did not want to create a rift in Bosnian internal relations.
According to Dacic, nobody asked his Ministry about anything regarding the meeting and that the decision on who will attend it is made by the organisers of the event.
‘The issue of where this meeting will take place and how it will be organised is not something that someone spoke to us about nor did we get involved into something like that,’ Dacic said. ‘But, regardless of that, Pacolli uses every opportunity to go somewhere and tell his own stories, as he did recently when he spoke about Serbia’s genocide in Kosovo. That mostly happens when I am not there.’
Dacic said Pacolli frequently complains about Bosnia not approving a visa for him as the country, but most of all the Republika Srpska entity, does not recognise Kosovo’s independence.
Dodik said that Pacolli is an ‘unwelcome person who represents a puppet criminal system, aimed against the Serb people, Serbia and Republika Srpska.’
‘I reject any possibility of him being here in any institution in Republika Srpska,’ Dodik said. ‘We did not invite him, and nobody asked us about it. He is an enemy of the Serb people and I am glad that he passed up the visit, as he knew there is a strong stance here that he will be unpleasantly received.’