After Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) appointed Christian Schmidt as new High Representative, leaders of political parties in Republika Srpska, both from the ruling coalition and opposition, went to Belgrade on Wednesday on consultation with Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić.
Following the meeting, Vučić said that PIC SB did not do the appointment in a legal manner and that the “reaction will be strong”.
“We spoke of all the important issues. Our reaction will be very strong and sharp on the issue of international legal agreements signed in the presence and under the auspices of the European Union. As for Republika Srpska, I listened carefully to all our guests, heard all the ideas and I think that the common denominator is that everyone understands well enough the weight and position in which the Republika Srpska and the entire Serb people find themselves. What Serbia can do is that it will always be with the RS, respecting the integrity of BiH, but also the integrity of the RS within BiH. We will always help and support the RS” Vučić said.
He added that “Serbia will start acting in a way it’s never done before, but in line with what was signed. From now on we’ll regularly ask for High Representative’s reports and we’re convinced the High Representatives if they continue to exist in BiH will respect that obligation towards Serbia.”
Vučić recalled that so far, every High Representative was confirmed in the UN Security Council and that he understands why people in the RS are anxious about disrespecting or changing legal procedures.
Serb member and Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik said after the meeting that the situation requires political unity in RS to overcome “this rush against the RS and Serb people in general.”
“We believe that the appointment of the High Representative in this way is against the interests of RS and the Serb people in BiH. We believe that everything should return to legality and that a resolution should determine who the High Representative is. But, in the first place, we think that the Office of the High Representative should be closed,” Dodik said.
He said that the 2005 initiative was to close the OHR, but that by adopting “the five goals and two conditions”, it will never happen.
“We are against any rehabilitation in the sense of the Bonn powers or the adoption of legal solutions. We are looking for unity in the RS and the support of Serbia is needed. We don’t want a dramatization. We want the application of the Constitution. We are not anti-Dayton or anti-constitutional. We are afraid that there will be a violation of that, bearing in mind that a new name is being speculated about. Whoever was appointed, we believe it needs to be confirmed by a UN Security Council Resolution. If not, he will not be legitimate for us,” Dodik pointed out.
The meeting caused a reaction of the Bosniak member of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, who said that “it would be better Dodik holds the meeting with two other members of the Presidency”. Džaferović believes that Serbia has no rights when it comes to the appointment of the High Representative in BiH and that the only obligation that Serbia has under the Dayton Agreement is to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH by “not taking any action that would violate those values of BiH in any way”.