Appointment with Hofreiter: High Representative warns of escalation in Bosnia

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From: Florian Naumann

Milorad Dodik and Vladimir Putin in conversation (archive image). © Mikhail Klimentyev/Itar-Tass/Imago

Bosnia is facing a dangerous conflict: UN representative Christian Schmidt wants to prevent “shooting at each other”. On Wednesday he is visiting Berlin.

Berlin – For weeks now, threats and announcements by the Bosnian Serbs have been causing concern about a new source of conflict in Europe – the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is tense. While just before the turn of the year experts were cautious about the announcements made by the Serb leader Milorad Dodik, even the High UN Representative in the country is now issuing an urgent warning. The CSU politician Christian Schmidt clearly sees the danger of an armed conflict.

An explosive side aspect: Dodik has the support of Russia – the EU’s relations with Vladimir Putin’s government are already extremely tense due to the Ukraine conflict.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: UN representative visits Bundestag – “Prevent shooting at each other”

Recently, Dodik has threatened to separate the Serbian-dominated part of the Republic of Srpska from the Bosnian association. The parliament of the Republic of Srpska has already decided to withdraw powers from the central state. A withdrawal from the central government’s judiciary and tax system and – particularly controversial – from the army, which has so far been recruited equally from the Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, has been approved. For the Croatian presidential member Zeljko Komsic a “criminal act of rebellion”.

On Wednesday, Schmidt is now a guest in the Bundestag – specifically at the Europe Committee led by Upper Bavarian Green Anton Hofreiter. Schmidt reported in advance in the news portal The Pioneer to word. He asked the EU for help. “In order to prevent the current conflict from turning into a hot conflict in which people shoot at each other, we have to make it clear: the state must not be divided and it must function,” said Schmidt. Dodik’s secessionist aspirations called for a response, he explained.

Schmidt also had concrete proposals ready for the EU. “Personal sanctions” are an option. He believes that the necessary unanimity in the EU is possible. In addition, financial aid would have to be subject to conditions, the former CSU federal politician demanded. “I recommend all international donors to do this, not just the EU.”

Putin also in focus in Bosnia: Support “against the liberal West”

Most recently, in early January, the US government imposed sanctions on Dodik for alleged corruption and his efforts to destabilize Bosnia-Herzegovina. Schmidt is said to be loud in the Bundestag The Pioneer report on the situation in the Western Balkans.

In the event of a hypothetical NATO intervention, Dodik announced in October that “friends” would be called for help – presumably with regard to Russia, which is traditionally considered the Serbs’ protecting power. In December, Dodik visited Russia. He then announced that President Vladimir Putin* had announced his support “against the liberal West”, including the English-speaking one Financial Times reported. According to other reports, Turkey has offered itself as a mediator.

Dodik is the leading politician of the Republic of Srpska and the Serbian member of the Bosnian Presidency. As a nationalist, he is trying to break off the RS from Bosnia. Dodik had denied the US allegations. In the 1990s, the area of ​​today’s Bosnia-Herzegovina was the scene of a bloody war and, among other things, a genocide against the male Bosniak population in Srebrenica. After the Yugoslavia war, the country reconstituted itself in a complex construction – also to avoid conflicts between the population groups. The country is formally divided into the Republic of Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the special administrative region of Brcko. The state is led by a three-person board.

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