Serb member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik has said that the BiH Reform Programme, which was adopted yesterday by the BiH Presidency, does not prejudge BiH’s membership to NATO or impair military neutrality.
Commenting on the SDS and PDP’s accusations of treason and BiH moving toward NATO, Dodik said they should have started from what Vuk Karadžić, who was teaching literacy, used to say “Write as you speak and read as it is written”.
Dodik stresses that the first page of the document says it does not prejudge NATO membership.
“This is not a document prejudging NATO membership, but even openly reads these are reforms not prejudging NATO membership, that any kind of movement towards the membership requires a new decision by the Presidency and the Parliamentary Assembly, and that the decision will be made in accordance with the positions of all authorities. Therefore, it is a new quality,” Dodik told the press in Belgrade.
He states the document contains several important things, one of which, significant for Republika Srpska, provides for reducing the number of the Armed Forces members in order to reduce costs.
Dodik recalled that earlier in BiH, the Bosniak side had insisted on the adoption of NATO Membership Action Plan /MAP/ and that it was a condition for the appointment of a candidate for the Council of Ministers chair.
“We have passed a document called BiH Reform Activities, so it would be good for those who criticize it to read what and how it says, and then to comment,” Dodik said.
He stressed that, after long discussions, certain agreement was reached with the aim of creating the conditions for the appointment of the chairman of the Council of Ministers, which was done.
“I understand those from the SDS and PDP. I think they should stop being angry for a while. I see that they are angry. I understand that as they have been sitting unjustifiably at the BiH authorities for a long time. Privileges and attempts to do much more not in line with the views of the Republika Srpska National Assembly are now toppled,” Dodik says.
Dodik stressed that the principle of military neutrality adopted by Republika Srpska at the National Assembly was not toppled, and called on the SDS and PDP to show where it read it was called into question.
He announced he would inform the Government of Srpska in detail.
Dodik stresses that this now puts Republika Srpska in the position of what Serbia has and that Srpska’s frame has always been to follow Serbia, which is also militarily neutral.
“We will follow all forms of co-operation that Serbia has with NATO. We can cooperate, we were always saying that we could cooperate, but we do not want to make any contribution to moving towards NATO integration,” Dodik repeated.
Dodik said he was sure NATO itself would interpret this document best, and that it might be best for the SDS and PDP to wait and see how NATO itself would evaluate the document.
Commenting on a statement given by Bosniak member of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, that no one either gains or loses with this document, Dodik says it will be discussed these days.
“What has anyone gained or lost is another topic. I believe it is a part of certain compromise. Some things just had to take so long to get there,” Dodik said.
Asked if BiH would move forward afterwards, Dodik said that nothing dramatic had happened, that the authorities’ formation after the elections was normal everywhere in the world, only BiH made a miracle out of it.
“Even forming authorities is a miracle now. There are many unclear questions and issues, and irresponsible policies, but I believe nothing special will happen here,” he added.
He stressed the need to work on European integration, and recalled France’s proposal on seven speeds and chapters. Dodik said the proposal made even more confusion in the accession process, but that the good news was that the European Commission had finally appointed an Enlargement Commissioner to deal with these issues.
Dodik says BiH has several specific projects which, he believes, do not pose problem to anyone, such as the Belgrade-Sarajevo motorway, which the new Council of Ministers should be working on.
He notes that BiH has not adopted a budget for the current year and that preparations for the next year’s have not yet been completed, and added that these are issues that have yet to be addressed.