The presence of the South Ossetia president, Anatoly Bibilov, at the Day of Republika Srpska’s celebration caused more problems than RS president, Milorad Dodik, is able to see.
Just a day after celebrating this holiday, the day that RS commemorates the establishment of this entity in 1992, ministers Zlatan Klokic and Dimitri Medoyev, in the presence of Dodik and Bibilov signed the Memorandum of co-operation between RS and South Ossetia, announcing that the two “countries” will co-operate in various fields, including industry, culture and sport, and that South Ossetia business people are interested in investing in RS.
But, media under Dodik’s control in RS failed to report that Georgia, which still considers the South Ossetia as its territory named Tskhinvali, occupied by Russia, sent the diplomatic note to the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs protesting against the Bibilov visit and his presence as “South Ossetia’s president”.
“Considering the friendly relations between Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia would kindly request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take all relevant measures aiming to prevent illegal contact of the Tskhinvali occupation regime with the Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and conclusion of any document on unlawful co-operation, including through preventing the entrance of the representatives of the occupation regime to the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In case they still enter the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia kindly asks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina to issue a statement confirming that their visit contradicts the official position of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regarding support of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and denouncing any kind of documents signed during the visit and to regard them as null and void,” reads the diplomatic note from Georgia which was sent to the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a day before the RS Day celebration.
Georgia’s Ministry emphasised that any kind of contact with “occupation regimes is illegal, serving the purpose of legitimisation of the occupation and ethnic cleansing conducted by the Russian Federation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, and represents major violation of the fundamental principles and norms of international law”.
But, Bibilov and his ministers entered BiH and attended all ceremonies, including the parade in Banja Luka. Bilibov said that South Ossetia and Republika Srpska share a very similar path and almost the same historical periods in which they defended their national identity and protected their people’s interests.
“Unfortunately, it all had to do with war and destruction and the West’s failure to understand what we wanted,” Bilibov told to the press in Banja Luka.
After the signing of the Memorandum at Wednesday morning, answering the question about protest note, Dodik said that he “doesn’t care” about it.
“The government of Georgia does not have a friendly attitude towards the RS, we know that, and neither do we have one toward it, because we think co-operation with a legitimate republic and nations represents decent and normal communication. I expected them to consult us, not to react in that way. As far as I’m aware, the president is visiting the Serb Republic, not Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Dodik said.
But, with a reaction like this, Dodik did exactly the thing he was not supposed to do at this moment. If he really wants to separate the Republic of Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina, he will need all possible support of the internationally recognised countries, but not from divided regions, which are doing the same thing as he is trying to do. In this way, he sent the clear message that he will not respect usual diplomatic relations and can expect that RS will end up like South Ossetia – unrecognised and poor, with the feeling that it is the great thing…/IBNA