Dodik voices strong support for Tadić

BANJA LUKA -- Milorad Dodik says that another term in office for Boris Tadić will mean Serbia's improved international position.

"Serbia, with Tadić, can count on greater understanding of the international community, since everyone accepts him as an interlocutor and listens carefully to what he has to say, and this is important for the Serbs," the Republic of Srpska (RS) prime minister told Belgrade daily Blic.

Dodik added it is important to have a man of authority who "does not have to carry the burden of previous events, such as Tomislav Nikolić would certainly bear."

Nikolić, according to the Bosnian Serb official, would, if elected, "spend his entire mandate proving he is not what people abroad think he is."

According to Dodik, the Radicals in power would for this reason, i.e., the need to prove the outside world wrong, make many and greater concessions than any of the so-called Democratic Bloc politicians.

"Politically speaking, if Serbia were to elect a Radical, it would unnecessarily waste a few more years and give many abroad an opportunity not to explain, but only to say, 'that's the guy who associated with Milošević'," Dodik said of Nikolić, the deputy president of the Serb Radical Party (SRS).

Asked what either outcome would mean for the Bosnian Serbs, Dodik said the RS would find it "easier to defend itself with Tadić as the Serbian president."

He reminded that both Tadić and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica greatly contributed to stronger ties between Belgrade and the Serb entity in Bosnia, which Dodik says are now at the highest level since the establishment of the RS.

"When the Radicals ruled Serbia along with Slobodan Milošević, we received no assistance. They defended the Republic of Serb Krajina in Croatia, and so it was lost. We were lucky they did not defend us for long, otherwise, we would have gone down the drain too," Dodik told the newspaper.