Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik has stated in an interview with SRNA that no High Representative can prevent a referendum on Republika Srpska Day to be held on September 25, the first in a series of referendums that Srpska will organise on different topics. Interviewed by: Stasa Krunic
“Republika Srpska is going to resolve its status issue and every other issue via the referendum issue. It is a democratic right recognised to everyone, but, due to circumstances, we need to additionally fight for it,” Dodik told SRNA.
Responding to a question whether he expects a response of the OHR concerning request by Bosniak politicians to take measures to protect the Dayton Peace Agreement and the BiH Constitution over announced referendum in Srpska, Dodik stressed that the referendum on Republika Srpska Day will be held on September 25 and that no High Representative can prevent it.
“Referendum is a matter of Republika Srpska, so even if High Representative is willing to do something, it is not known how he could do it; however we would not comply with it,” said Dodik.
He has pointed out that the referendum topic is carefully selected, which all in Republika Srpska are gathered around.
“The plebiscite will demonstrate the strength and will of the people for a referendum on Republika Srpska Day. There is nothing undemocratic, uncivilised and anti-Dayton in it, but it does not bother the Muslims to do everything to make a problem out of it and `shed tears` before the international community over some of their quasi-interests, “said Dodik.
As High Representative does not respect Republika Srpska, says Dodik, Srpska is no more in need to respect the High Representative in his imposition of solutions, which he was hiding behind democracy and the Dayton Agreement.
“If anyone was violating the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was the High Representative himself, and I do not mean Valentin Inzko only, but the High Representative in general,” said Dodik.
He has said that “sick situation” in which Bosniaks always “cry” before the international community, when they need something, should stop.
Bosniaks should reach agreements if they want to do something in BiH. There are many outstanding issues in BiH that are complex and further gained strength because the SDA was imaginary trying to lead BiH”, said Dodik.
He has said that Bosniaks are powerless in Sarajevo when it comes to the issue of a referendum on Republika Srpska Day, therefore, they are now trying to instrumentalise Muslims in Republika Srpska.
The Srpska president called on Muslims, the Bosniaks in Republika Srpska, to respond to referendum on Republika Srpska Day on September 25 and “be part of the peoples of Republika Srpska who live and wants to continue living here.”
“Not responding to the referendum is their democratic right, but my opinion is that over the future they would like to build in Republika Srpska, it would be very useful for them to do so, and in this regard, to identify themselves with what the absolute will of the people in Republika Srpska is,” said Dodik.
The Srpska president has said that the referendum on Republika Srpska Day will give a power to legal solution, which no law in BiH and Republika Srpska has, and the plebiscite will be the basis of passing the law on January 9 as the Republika Srpska Day.
“Neither will the BiH Constitutional Court be able to do something here, nor any institution, which they refer to, including the high representative,” said Dodik.
Regarding the statement by SDS Deputy Leader, Mirko Sarovic that the SDS supported the referendum on Republika Srpska Day over the general circumstances, but that generally believed that the referendum could not change a thing, Dodik said it was incomprehensible that the SDS has different positions – one in Banjaluka and other in Sarajevo.
The Srpska president said that the referendum will not change a thing, but will confirm that January 9 is Republika Srpska Day, and that in this regard, the SDS was part of the majority in Republika Srpska.
“The fact is that the SNSD together with its coalition partners launched the initiative, but it is a very important to us and we are very glad that other political parties in Srpska were within the initiative’s framework,” said Dodik.
If Sarovic gave the statement to the media in the Federation of BiH, Dodik says, his flattering, by which he is recognizable, is understandable then.
“Whenever he gets an opportunity to respond at the Muslim media and minimize the Serb’s national interests, he will do that. It is impossible that someone who is serious about politics claims that a referendum is not so important. Some did not take UK’s referendum on Brexit seriously, so we see now what consequences it has caused,” said Dodik.
The president of Srpska says that the mere fact that Muslims requesting international community to intervene shows that they understand the importance of a referendum, but only Sarovic and those like him do not.
The Srpska president has said that minimizing the referendum on Republika Srpska Day represents the minimization of the right to a referendum of a nation, especially the Serbs, to respond to issues that are of vital national and state interests.
“The date of its creation is of vital national and state interests for Republika Srpska, and anyone who attempts to minimize the decision of the people, in some way, excludes himself from that nation and puts himself on the other side of history,” said Dodik.
He has pointed out that it is impossible that the SDS in Banjaluka voted in favour of the referendum, and that, on the other hand, its prominent members in Sarajevo denied it, adding that this should be avoided at all costs.
“As for the referendum, I believe in the SDS in Banjaluka, and we want to develop a common strategy for the campaign which we will implement in the context of this referendum,” Dodik said.
Answering the question of what is expected of the parties members of the Alliance for Change, when it comes to campaign for a referendum on Republika Srpska Day, Dodik said he would not mind to organize a joint campaign headquarters in order to coordinate all the views and activities.
He has pointed out that the campaign would exclude such statements as the one given by Sarovic or, if already there, then we must deal with it.
“The referendum has a power only if it is owned by the people thus no one separately can access this issue. We must make political clarification with referendum opponents,” said Dodik.
He has stressed that opponents of the referendum, regardless of which side they come from, have the opportunity to publicly express their opinion by voting against it, adding that this is all part of democratic procedures and activities.
“I have nothing against those who thus see their interests, but any other kind that is beyond this attitude towards a referendum, such as a request for international interventionism, is out of question,” said Dodik.
Emphasizing that the process of finalization of formal procedures in connection with the decision on the referendum is underway and will probably end up at the Republika Srpska Constitutional Court, Dodik said that from August 15 – 20 the situation will be clear that there are no more delays in implementing the decision on holding referendum or possible formal obstacles in this regard.
“Institutionally speaking, Republika Srpska has no either structural or constitutional problem to call a referendum on Republika Srpska Day,” said Dodik.
In case of the High Representative’s intervention when it comes to the referendum on Republika Srpska Day, Dodik has said that the eventual decision will be published in the “Official Gazette of Republika Srpska “, while the “Official Gazette of BiH” has no jurisdiction to deal with Srpska’s issues and to publish them.
“Such possible attempt of the High Representative may only make the situation more complex. It is high time for the internationals to leave BiH, not to meddle in everything,” said Dodik.
He has stressed that the international community’s interventionism was not the best for the Serbs, as it was proven few days ago, when the US Ambassador to BiH, Maureen Cormack, organised a meeting on Mostar between the representatives of the two constituent peoples, but failed to invite the Serbs, as if they do not live in that city.
“Serbs in Mostar have clearly positioned views on the elections in Mostar and should have been involved in these processes. I know very well why the American ambassador did not do it. It’s part of the continuity of bad attitude towards the Serbs, wherever they are,” said Dodik .
The Srpska president has pointed out that the mediation and interventionism of the international community must stop so that people in BiH should try to find answers to many questions on their own.
SRPSKA GOVERNMENT HAS ANSWER TO ANY WORKAROUND OF ITS VIEWS
When it comes to the Transport Strategy, which was unanimously adopted by the BiH Council of Ministers, without Srpska’s consent, Dodik has said that Srpska has rejected and will ignore the implementation of this document, and said that the Srpska Government has the answer to such systematic workaround of its views.
“There is no Republika Srpska in this Strategy and they in Sarajevo have abolished it. This is unacceptable. This issue requires repeated decision-making process,” Dodik stated in an interview with SRNA.
According to him, ignoring Republika Srpska has led to a series of bad decisions, from the coordination mechanism to this strategy, the document enabling all capital investments to be realised in the Federation of BiH, none in Srpska.
“How is it possible that those who come from Republika Srpska so shamelessly adopt such a document? If you go tomorrow to some international financial institution and try to get a loan for a motorway, bridge or a similar investment, the representatives of this institution may peek into the Strategy and say- `you are not a priority`,” said Dodik.
He has said that the image of someone in Sarajevo working on behalf of Republika Srpska is completely wrong.
“No one does it. Not even the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is called there the Serb member of the presidency. He does not represent the authentic Srpska’s interests; especially the members of the BiH Council of Ministers, which is constituted and whose members are not elected, having no other power, but to be servants, poltroons. So in this regard, we could witness many decisions passed in the past and in the last two years that have significantly devastated whatever is the position of Republika Srpska, ” said Dodik.
He says that ministers in the BiH Council of Ministers have not got the right to decide authentically and states that they can only decide on what is Republika Srpska’s interest. Even when it comes to the issues that are exclusively under the BiH’s jurisdiction, they must consult Srpska institutions and thus contribute to efficient Srpska.
“Those who sit in the joint institutions are not the representatives of Republika Srpska. Representatives of Republika Srpska in the joint institutions are those appointed by Srpska institutions,” says Dodik.
Dodik has stressed that Republika Srpska has strong institutional mechanisms and power and will answer the issues such as census, January 9 and many others.
“Republika Srpska will start with the series of referendum on various issues. When the political elites in Republika Srpska are divided then the people should be asked to declare. One who refuses to respect the will of the people, is the one who made a mistake and is lost, who the history will remember as a traitor to Republika Srpska,” said Dodik.
SERBIA SIGNS LETTER OF INTENT, FBiH’S MOVE AWAITED
When it comes to the letter of intent to the IMF, Dodik has pointed out that it is signed by Srpska and that the move of the Federation of BiH /FBiH/ is now awaited.
Dodik, who is also SNSD leader, says he is not informed on the allegations by Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers, Denisa Zvizdic, concerning the meeting between the SDA and SNSD in mid next week about the letter of intent to the IMF, and points out that SNSD does not intend to go to Sarajevo since the departure of the SNSD representatives to the FBiH was misused once.
“No one has contacted me and I do not know what Zvizdic is talking about. I believe there is no need for the meeting at the party level. There are other issues to discuss at the level of the parties, but everything is clear when it comes to the letter of intent – it is a matter of the institutions,” Dodik stated in an interview with SRNA.
The Srpska president has pointed out that the FBiH’s attempt to construct a theory about Republika Srpska depending on the IMF is completely wrong.
“We do not depend on the IMF and we are able, of course, in aggravated circumstances, to service all our things. The Srpska Government and Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic said several days ago that more than a half of 50 million that should come from the IMF is covered from local sources through various savings and collection of public companies’ profits. We will already have half of that money, 25 to 30 million, in the coming weeks, ” said Dodik.
He has said that Republika Srpska, when it comes to the IMF’s money, will try to find solution in another place and another market, and the fact is that enhanced growth of industrial production, thus the gross domestic product, is recorded in Srpska.
“According to all the parameters, this is going to be one of the best years in the last few,” says the president of Srpska.
Dodik has reminded that the Srpska Government “said what it was supposed to be told” in connection with a letter of intent to the IMF, and that the SDA, if wants so, may discuss this issue with the coalition partners and the Alliance for Change.
“Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic and Finance Minister Zoran Tegeltija signed the letters, which basically cannot be changed. There are missing signatures and once they are put on the paper, we will talk then,” said Dodik and added that the SNSD and Srpska will accept to review any invitation, if polite.
Dodik says that the associates in the Cabinet of BiH Presidency Chairman, Bakir Izetbegovic, inquired a few days ago about the possibility of a meeting, thus he is ready to meet with Izetbegovic, but in Banjaluka.
“He can come to Banjaluka, we can meet in my office to talk about institutional values, but as a party, the SNSD does not intend to make any coalition agreements with the SDA, nor intends to enter into joint institutions that exercise incompetence and have become a disturbing factor of overall situation and relations in BiH “, said Dodik.
He has added that, politically speaking, the SNSD and SDA diametrically differ concerning the attitudes towards important issues in BiH.