"Changes in Bosnia only if all sides agree"

BANJA LUKA -- Željka Cvijanović has said that any possible changes in Bosnia-Herzegovina "must be the result of an agreement between the three peoples and two entities."

A file photo of Željka Civjanović (L) and RS President Milorad Dodik (Tanjug)
A file photo of Željka Civjanović (L) and RS President Milorad Dodik (Tanjug)

Cvijanović heads the government of Bosnia's Serb entity, the Serb Republic (RS).

Speaking for the weekly Nedeljnik, she also appraised that Bosnia can survive only as a highly decentralized country. Cvijanović said that her government has good relations with the Serbian government led by Aleksandar Vučić, "as it did with all the previous governments."

"The practices of some countries show that it is possible to make a combination of a sustainable external framework and sustainable autonomies of internal units, and that's a formula for maintaining complex societies with complex inter-ethnic relationships. The problem with Bosnia-Herzegovina is that through the intervention of the international community, in accordance with the political aspirations of Sarajevo, an opposite direction was being taken from what is the essence of Bosnia's Dayton architecture," she stated.

The post-war Bosnia is made up of the RS and the Muslim-Croat entity, the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FBiH). Asked what stance she would take in the event a separate Croat entity were formed, Cvijanović stressed that "any changes, especially constitutional changes" must be the result of an agreement between the three peoples and two entities, "and cannot happen at the expense of the interests of the RS."

Commenting on Vučić's recent visit to Sarajevo, Cvijanović said that it was in the interest of the Serb entity that Serbia is "strong and stable" with many international friends who will then be able to "effectively defend the Dayton principles that Mr. Vučić supported during the visit."

Commenting on speculation that RS President Milorad Dodik's SNSD party "could fare the same as the Democrats (DS) did in elections in Serbia," - that is, suffer defeat at the hands of the opposition, in this case the SDS party led Mladen Bosić, Cvijanović said she "does not see any analogy."

"He (Bosić) thinks he is an important factor in international relations just because some idle foreigner who works in Sarajevo texted him," she remarked.

The prime minister added that the Homeland ("Domovina") coalition consisting of all major parties from Sarajevo was unacceptable for the SNSD as a political partner, because it is "a political project aimed at destabilization and collapse of the RS and of the Dayton Bosnia."

She added that her cabinet had adopted decisions related to residence issues that prevented "an artificial increase of the Bosniak electorate in the RS and electoral engineering through fictitious residences".

"The party that I belong to and which is the backbone of the ruling coalition cannot be a political partner to those who want the disappearance of Srpska (the Serb Republic) or suggest a continuation of the process of transferring powers from Srpska to Bosnia-Herzegovina," Cvijanović concluded.