Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik will on Friday visit the Vatican and meet with Pope Francis.
Dodik said that the position of the Serb entity in BiH, the Serb Republic (RS) would be discussed during the meeting.
According to Dodik, the RS is under threat. He also said that another topic of his conversation with the pope will be the role of Alojzije Stepinac, a top Croatian Catholic cleric during the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) era. The NDH was a Nazi-allied entity during the Second World War, led by the Ustasha regime, that organized and operated death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma, including Jasenovac.
Dodik said that Stepinac blessed the killing of at least half a million Serbs in Jasenovac.
“The topics are the current situation in BiH, relations between the Vatican, as a state, and BiH, and, of course, relations between the Catholic Church and BiH. In this context, we will discuss the current issues concerning the position of the Christian community here in BiH and thus the Orthodox (Christian) community. We will speak about some of the activities that we have initiated in connection with marking the genocide in Jasenovac,” Dodik told Belgrade-based tabloid Kurir ahead of his trip to Rome.
He said that he would discuss with the pope the role of Stepinac – whom the Croats would like to proclaim a saint – and that in this regard he would tell the pope the already known position that Srtepinac was a notorious member of the Ustasa regime, who blessed the killingng of at least 500,000 Serbs in Jasenovac.
“I will speak about (forcible) conversions (of Orthodox Christians to Catholicism), and emigration. This was one of the most horrible crimes, bearing in mind that there was a (death) camp for children in the Jasenovac system, which suggests that these were factories of death, aimed against even the youngest members of the Serb Orthodox community,” added Dodik.
Dodik stressed that another point he would discuss during the visit “is the fact that the Dayton Agreement has been undermined, and there are many problems in the functioning of BiH.”