EU talks "best chance to change Dayton"
The Dayton agreement should be changed, and a special opportunity to do that is to move closer to the European Union, says Bakir Izetbegović.Source: Beta
In an interview for Radio Free Europe, Izetbegović, the Bosniak (Muslim) member of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said he believed that the recent announcement by RS President Milorad Dodik about calling a referendum in the Serb entity was "a campaign gimmick - because it would not be allowed any domestic or external factors, including neighboring Serbia."
The Dayton Peace Agreement was initialed on November 21, 1995 by former presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia Alija Izetbegović, Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević, to end the three-year war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
After 1995, this former Yugoslav republic has had two entities: the Serb Republic (RS), and the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FBiH).
When it comes to relations in the region, Izetbegović said that "calming impulses are coming from Zagreb and Belgrade."
"We can talk about mature leaders in Serbia who interpret and articulate the interests of the Serbs in the right way, and the right way is to recognize the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to create even more correct relations with Bosnia, and all their neighbors, and not be creating problems," Izetbegović said.
On the anniversary of the peace agreement for Bosnia, Izetbegović said that "Dayton stopped the destruction, physical, as well as of this sort of multi-ethnic matrix, the spirit of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
"Dayton has saved the life of the patient, but the patient cannot live unless a series of operations are performed afterwards. The sequence of operations has been done - 60 state institutions have been made. This process should continue. It will in fact be effectively launched when negotiations with the European Union start. That's where I see the way out," he was quoted as saying.
Commenting on Dodik's recent statement that the RS is a state, and will sooner or later hold a referendum, Izbetbegović said that this "can only be done by force." "A referendum on the future together, on the common territory can only be carried by all citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It cannot be done by a single entity or a part of Bosnia-Herzegovina," he added.
"Today there is no readiness in the region to support such an adventure. Everyone wants tranquility, even Serbia. I think it's just election cliches that are repeated in a panic," said Izetbegović.