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Bosnian serb leader threatens U.S, britain diplomatic ties

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has threatened to cut off contacts with U.S. and British diplomats and embassies in Bosnia-Herzegovina over what Dodik’s office said was interference in the internal affairs of Bosnia.

Dodik’s office said in a statement on March 17 that a team has been formed to “draw up comprehensive information on the anti-Dayton activities of American and British diplomats and embassies and their interference in the internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The statement said Republika Srpska, the Bosnian entity that Dodik leads, will make that decision within the next week.

The statement referred to the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which ended the Bosnian civil war and established an administrative system under which Bosnia remains partitioned between a Serbian entity — Republika Srpska — and the Bosniak-Croat federation connected by a weak central government.

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo said the announcement by Dodik’s office “was unconstructive and factually inaccurate.” In a tweet, the embassy said the United States would “continue to stand with all the people of BiH as they work to strengthen this country and secure their rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations.”

The British Embassy in Bosnia rejected the allegations and called the statement “confusing,” saying it did not contribute to anything.

“We completely reject the allegations made, which seem like a bizarre attempt to divert attention from real problems,” the British Embassy statement said. “The United Kingdom remains a friend of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and will continue to work across the country for the benefit of all.”

Dodik, who has been blacklisted by the United States and Britain in multiple rounds of sanctions over alleged destabilization efforts and corruption, has long threatened to seek Republika Srpska’s independence from the rest of Bosnia. He rejects the administrative arrangement and the authority of the Office of the High Representative, the international community’s overseer of civil and other aspects of the Dayton Agreement.

Dodik in recent weeks has caused controversy by repeating his denial of genocide during the 1992-95 Bosnian civil war in the massacre of 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia in 1995.

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Prosecutor’s Office last week filed a case against Dodik for the denial. Also last week, the United States rejected comments made by Dodik in which he tried to undermine the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and reiterated threats to secede.

The latest round of U.S. sanctions imposed on Bosnian officials was announced on March 15 and named Dragan Stankovic, an ally of Dodik. Stankovic has served as director of the Republika Srpska agency responsible for real estate law and was blacklisted for promoting a law that sought to “usurp” state property in contravention of the national constitution.

Republika Srpska has tried multiple times to implement the law, which aims to transfer Bosnian state property to Republika Srpska, despite it being deemed unconstitutional.

Source: rferl