Russia’s “nyet” in the UN Security Council was not enough to prevent the election of Christian Schmidt as the new high representative of the international community in BiH, although the Serbian member of the Presidency of BiH, Milorad Dodik, disputes this.
The fact is that two options clashed at the session – Dodik’s, advocated by Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya, and the Bosniak, represented by BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turković. Nebenzya, absolutely legitimately, asked for this issue to be discussed in the Security Council because this UN body should give the green light to the election of a new High Representative. It has never been the practice for the High Representative, as this time, to be appointed by the Peace Implementation Council in BiH (PIC BiH). The position expressed by Nebenzya was the position of a permanent member of the Security Council and had to be heard, which is indisputable.
On the other hand, Turković argued that the PIC BiH, without the approval of the Security Council, legitimately elected Schmidt. At the session, she said that “BiH will rejoice when there is no need for a high representative, but that the time has not come yet.” What suits Bosniak politics, of which Turković is clearly a representative, in this case, is that Schmidt himself said he would use “Bonn powers” against politicians who do not respect the Dayton Accords. This practically means that the Bosniak part of the politicians in BiH hopes that all those who are against BiH according to their taste will leave the political scene, including Dodik, whom they see as the greatest danger to a united and civil state. In other words, they expect someone else to fulfill their political wishes.
Immediately before the session, Dodik sent a letter to the chairman of the UN Security Council in which he pointed out that Turković did not have the consent of the Presidency of BiH, which is in charge of foreign policy according to the Constitution, to address the session. After she spoke, Nebenzya reacted, asking her to clarify on whose behalf she was speaking if she did not have the consent of the highest state body. A debate on competencies and permits developed, which ended in a draw – both sides maintained their positions.
What is very important in this case is the fact that there is no conclusion of the Presidency of BiH, which strictly states that there is no consensus on Turković address. This should be done at the session of the Presidency, which in this case was not held, but Dodik, as the chairman, took the right to try to prevent Turković from speaking at the session. If he had convened a session of the Presidency and concluded that there was no consensus on Turković’s address, everything would have been different – the letter would have represented the position of the Presidency, Turković would not have been allowed to speak and Nebenzya’s voice would have been far stronger.
Although only Russia was against the appointment, Dodik still believes that no consensus has been reached on this issue in the UN Security Council, so Schmidt did not get the green light to come to the position of High Representative. This suggests that in the coming months there will be a lot of uncertainty in the relations between Dodik and Schmidt, which could end in a very unfavorable way for Dodik.