U.S. embassy: Referendum violation of Dayton, provocation

The U.S. embassy in Bosnia is "alarmed at the direction in which this planned referendum is taking the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic; RS) as an entity."

Source: Tanjug

The embassy said it saw the referendum as "a threat to the security, stability, and prosperity of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

"We oppose this referendum and any preparation for it as as a violation of the Dayton Peace Accords, and because we fear the repercussions it will have for the people in the RS and for Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole. We are engaging relevant U.S. government departments and agencies to determine an appropriate response to those responsible for creating this political provocation. We are in close coordination with the EU Mission and OHR on next steps," said a statement.

The RS Assembly in Banja Luka on Wednesday passed a proposal to organize a referendum on the state-level justice system, and plans to hold it within six months.

The U.S. embassy also said they were "encouraged to see legitimate debate emerge within the RS on the roots of this political maneuver and the motivations that underlie it," and added:

"This honest discourse on the disconnect between the corrupt forces driving decision-making in the RS and what is truly in the best interest of its people is indicative of the vibrant, transparent democracy Bosnia-Herzegovina could and should be."

"Nothing good can come of this referendum," said the embassy, and concluded:

"The future of this country and all of its citizens lies with continued integration with the European Union. That objective is clearly attainable, and we want to work with the people of the RS to improve their quality of life by making it a reality. It is now up to the entity's leadership to choose between progress, or political and economic isolation."

The Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia on Wednesday also reacted, quoting High Representative Valentin Inzko as "regretting that a majority of delegates in the RS National assembly adopted a proposal to organize a referendum on the state level judiciary" and his authorities, saying it "goes beyond the competences of the assembly."

"To ask citizens to vote against essential parts of the Dayton Peace Agreement is irresponsible and shows the readiness of a powerful elite to continue to drive the RS and Bosnia-Herzegovina into an ever deeper crisis," said the statement.

"Entity authorities should desist in their pursuit of a referendum which is in violation of the GFAP (the General Framework Agreement for Peace) and outside their jurisdiction and focus instead on delivering the promises they have made to voters to improve conditions within the RS," the OHR concluded.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Serb people in Bosnia believe that decisions of Bosnia's Court and Prosecution are aimed against the Serb population.

RS President Milorad Dodik said the Prosecution of Bosnia-Herzegovina was "under the direct influence of the Bosniak (Muslim) Party of Democratic Action (SDA)," and that the high representative, with the imposed laws, has created "a new justice system in Bosnia that is functioning contrary to the rule of law."

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