International pressure on RS continues

International pressure on RS continues

Banja Luka, September 9, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

International community and Bosniak politicians continue the diplomatic and political pressure on RS institutions and president Milorad Dodik, to postpone or cancel the decision about referendum on January 9, as the Day of RS.

On Friday Dodik traveled to Belgrade to discuss many questions related with the situation in region including the referendum issue, with Serbian PM, Aleksandar Vucic. Also, as Dodik said on Thursday, they will speak about Vucic’s visit to RS at Sunday when opening celebration of highway from Doboj to Prnjavor will take a place. The highway, not surprisingly, is named “January 9 highway”. Dodik said that the referendum will take a place as planed except in case that BiH Constitutional Court change its decision.

How important this referendum is for the international community can be seen by the fact that representatives of several embassies in BiH visited Dodik on Thursday to convince him that the referendum is not a good idea. After the meeting, they didn’t answer to media demands for statement and went on a short meeting – under a tree near the Presidential mansion in Banja Luka. Later in the afternoon, EU Delegation in BiH issued a joint statement.

“The Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, France and Italy, the Charge d’Affaires of the German Embassy, the Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation and the Acting Head of the Banja Luka branch office of the U.S. Embassy met RS President Milorad Dodik to underscore the seriousness with which members of the international community view the current challenge posed by the scheduled referendum in Republika Srpska. The Ambassadors emphasized points outlined in the prior statement of the PIC, and urged President Dodik not to hold the referendum or otherwise undermine the authority of the Constitutional Court. The meeting took place in a frank and constructive atmosphere, howe‎ver, substantial disagreements on important issues remain”, emphasized the embassies in the statement.

They added that the ambassadors reiterated that the Dayton Peace Agreement states clearly that decisions made by the Constitutional Court of BiH are final and binding, and no referendum can change this. The ambassadors noted that the Constitutional Court will deliberate on 17 September on referendum related cases, and stressed that the Court’s decisions must be respected.

“President Dodik told the Ambassadors that the Government of Republika Srpska was committed to implementing the decision of the Constitutional Court of BiH through proposing to the RSNA in the next days changes to the RS Law on Public Holidays to bring it into line with the BiH Constitution. We look forward to initial steps in this direction, keeping in mind that only the Constitutional Court can determine if its ruling has been implemented”, the statement said.

The ambassadors said that they stressed to President Dodik, as they did to the Chair of the BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic on 6 September, that political leaders on all sides must stop inflaming the situation through irresponsible rhetoric and actions.

Dodik on the short press conference didn’t mention changes in RS Law on Public Holidays, but said that he explained to Ambassadors that the referendum is within the function of the implementation of the Constitutional court decision.

“The Constitutional Court did not abolish January 9, as some politicians are trying to impose. It rather prescribed that the relevant Article of the law must be adjusted in accordance with the rights of the constitutive peoples”, Dodik said.

As additional pressure on RS and ist institutions, representatives of Bosinak people in all RS levels of government, held on Friday in Srebrenica a meeting to discuss how to react on the referendum. They again called on the withdrawal of decision about referendum and full implementation of BiH Constitutional Court decision.