Dodik met with Pope Francis

Dodik met with Pope Francis

The Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Milorad Dodik (Serb), visited the Vatican on Friday and had an official meeting with Pope Francis. Another member of the official delegation was Republika Srpska president, Željka Cvijanović, and that fact raised the question – whom they represented in this visit, Republika Srpska or Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Dodik kind of answered this question after the meeting. He said that it is “a fact that Republika Srpska President Željka Cvijanović was in the Vatican as well, and that he primarily represents Republika Srpska, being the Serbian member of the BiH Presidency”. In the eve of the visit, the Bosniak member of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, said that the visit was not agreed on the Presidency session, thus it is not  a state visit and Dodik does not represent Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, Dodik said that the meeting was very important and that the participants agreed that cooperation between institutions at various levels in BiH and Republika Srpska with the Catholic Church is very important and that tolerance and cooperation with all religious communities, both the Christian and Islamic ones, are needed.

He added that some important issues in Europe and the world were discussed and that he expressed regret over events in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

“The struggle to preserve peace in the world was one of the dominant topics we discussed, as well as the need to preserve family and cooperation between institutions at various levels in BiH and Republika Srpska and the Catholic Church”, Dodik said on Friday.

He continued saying that he conveyed to Pope Francis regards from His Holiness the Patriarch of Serbia, Irinej.

“The Pope expressed satisfaction with the fact that he, together with the Patriarch, paved a road in connection with the beatification of Alojzije Stepinac through a commission which they formed together”, Dodik said.

Dodik stressed that he and the Pope discussed ways of cooperation of institutions through support to the Catholic Gymnasium in Banjaluka, the construction of a home for old aged people in Banja Luka, and the reconstruction of a church in Petrićevac, which is nearing completion.

He added that he discussed many more operational issues at a meeting with the State Secretary of the Vatican, Pietro Parolin.

“We discussed the formation of authorities at the level of BiH. It is a fact is that we have failed in this”, Dodik said.

He says that the State Secretary of the Vatican understood the concrete problems perfectly well.

“There was also talk about the need to adopt an election law at the level of BiH. I told him that we do not see any problem in adopting an election law which would protect all the communities”, Dodik said./ibna