Lajčak: Bosnia is not Kosovo's hostage

BANJA LUKA -- High Representative Miroslav Lajčak says Kosovo "will have some repercussions," but that Bosnia is not its hostage.

The Slovakian diplomat said that Bosnia-Herzegovina "held everything in its own hands" and that in this context "one should not think about Kosovo at all."

"Bosnia-Herzegovina has its problems and their solution has nothing to do with the province. Bosnia-Herzegovina does not depend on Kosovo and none of the issues are related to Kosovo," Lajčak told the Banja Luka newspaper Nezavisne Novine.

"Somebody may try to abuse Kosovo, if they want to, but Bosnia-Herzegovina is in no way linked to the situation there," he was quoted.

Last week, Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, although not directly linking the two issues, announced that Serbia's state policy saw preservation of the Dayton peace agreement and UN Kosovo Resolution 1244 as its priorities.

Koštunica's remarks came in reaction to Lajčak's measures changing the procedure of the decision making process in Bosnia. Serbia drew flak from the leading western powers who decided to send a demarche in reaction to the prime minister's statement.

A political crisis was already brewing in Bosnia, with the Republic of Srpska strongly opposed to the Lajčak moves it says would allow for its representatives in Sarajevo to be outvoted.

Lajčak met RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik on Mt. Jahorina Tuesday in a bid to resolve the dispute, but the meeting was not successful. The legal teams from Lajčak's office and the RS authorities meantime continue to search for a way out of the deadlock, with the assembly in Banja Luka in permanent session.

A Serbian cabinet minister and President Boris Tadić's Democrat, Dragan Đilas, told Banja Luka daily Fokus Wednesday that Serbia will use the right which the Dayton Accords give it and fulfill its obligation towards the Bosnian Serbs, pointing out that an agreement of all three nations, "and not imposing of decisions," is the way out of the crisis in Bosnia.

“I expect that amendments to the latest decisions of High Representative Miroslav Lajčak which are being drafted by RS lawyers will eliminate everything that might jeopardize the position of RS within Bosnia,” Đilas said.

But he sounded a calming note when he added that Serbia does nit wish to draw parallels between RS and Kosovo or to cause provocation, "but would rather back the development of Bosnia and the best possible relations with that country, since that was in the interest of the Serbs living on both sides of the River Drina."