Dodik: I want RS to secede, but without any bloodshed
Serb Republic (RS) President Milorad Dodik says he "dreams and believes" that this Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) will be a state some day.Source: Vecernje novosti
And it does not matter if this happens in five or in ten years, he told the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti in an interview.
"I guarantee that an independent RS will fall into our lap like a ripe apple. BiH is unsustainable, and if the RS were to separate today, we would have no problem living as an independent state. If I could make an independent RS happen tomorrow without any bloodshed, I would do it," Dodik told the newspaper.
Dodik described BiH as "a compulsion, not something desired," and himself as somebody who never felt like a Bosnian. "It always pains me when I come to Belgrade and somebody asks, 'what's new in Bosnia'. Such questions make me numb. I don't hate anyone in Bosnia, but I do not identify with that country, instead I (identify) with the people I belong to, with my faith, language, and script. My great-grandfather lost his leg on the Macedonian Front, so it's clear to you what stories I grew up on," said the RS president.
Asked whether by insisting on the independence of the RS he was undermining Belgrade's position regarding Kosovo, Dodik replied by saying that he had not asked Serbia about the topic. "For its own reasons, Belgrade must maintain the international principle of territorial indivisibility, with Kosovo in mind. It (Kosovo) is the most important state issue of Serbia, and I understand that. But the RS is also the most important national issue of Serbia," Dodik said.
According to him, when it comes to Kosovo, "the world" was allegedly punishing Slobodan Milosevic - who was no longer there at that point - to in reality further humiliate Serbia and the Serbs. "that shows to what degree this project is cynical and anti-Serb, not anti-Milosevic. The goal was to undermine and humiliate the Serb statehood and nation. To the Albanians and the Serbs who are fighting and killing each other the international community said - go your separate ways. To the Muslims and the Serbs who are also fighting and don't like each other, they said - you must be together. That's the international community's hypocrisy. We have not been offered a fair solution," he said.
Dodik also spoke about High Representative for BiH Valentin Inzko, to say he "mist leave" - but "not be replaced by anyone."
"That's the essence. He's one fine international swindler. His tax-exempt salary is 24,000 euros, and it's tragic that they claim he is helping us," Dodik said.
As for Inzko's claim that Dodik "softened his rhetoric and gave up on holding a referendum after the US imposed sanction against him," the RS leader said he was of a different opinion. "Here - I plead with the Americans to extend their sanctions if they think that's the reason. My life has been made easier since the Americans stopped coming to my cabinet. What do I need them for? It's very difficult to talk to them. They are always these overbearing types who are asking for things, and forcing you to things."
Speaking about the recent demand voiced by US diplomat Brian Hoyt Yee for Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to "restrain him in his aspirations towards an independent RS," Dodik said Yee was "falsely representing himself here as some sort of power" - while in reality he was "the biggest loser."
"So far it has not happened that an American diplomat would come and say something, to then have to change their stance afterwards. That says he did not receive Washington's support for such a story. That's why the EU also announced that it was not behind it. It's excellent that this happened, because it is now visible that this Hoyt Yee is a totally meaningless political figure and an ordinary meddler."
Referring to the US official's statement that Serbia "cannot sit on two chairs" - i.e., the East and the West - Dodik said it was Yee who had been sitting on chairs - one being the former US administration, and another, "an attempt to ingratiate himself to the new one."
"It is obvious that the other (chair) has been pulled from under him," Dodik said.
"This is not about chairs, but about realistic interests. They demand that we break off our relations with Russia and ask, what Russia has done for us. It has done a lot. Even if they (Russians) did nothing else, they vetoed a draft British UN declaration (resolution) according to which the Serbs are a genocidal people. Not only would that have been an additional attack on the RS, but it would also be dismantling Serbia," the RS president said.
"And what the Americans did for us is give us depleted uranium bombs," he said, referring to NATO's 1999 bombing of Serbia.
"They (the US) are strong, that's okay - but don't expect us to applaud you while you're bombing us," Dodik concluded.