Dodik: NATO membership acceptable if people want it
Serb Republic (RS) President Milorad Dodik has said that he is not against the membership of the Serb entity in Bosnia in NATO.Source: Beta
However, he added, citizens are the ones who should decide on this in a referendum.
"NATO has the opportunity to convince us it is a good alliance for Serbs. Let NATO open a few defense industry factories, give jobs to Serbs, and Serbs may change their minds," he told the Belgrade-based weekly NIN.
"But - how is one to explain that all defense industry factories have been shut down in the RS under pressure from the international factor, while in the other part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the Federation (FBiH, the Muslim-Croat entity), there are six. NATO is not without a chance here, it's just that I'm not ready to give my blank support. If the people say accession to that alliance should be signed, I'll sign it," Dodik stated.
He then remarked that Bosnia-Herzegovina will be "unsustainable" if "third-rate foreigners govern it."
"If you're not going to engage in dialogue with us, if you won't harmonize Bosnia-Herzegovina with the Dayton (peace agreement), in 2017 our proposal will be a referendum on the status of the RS," Dodik said.
The RS leader also responded to High International Representative Valentin Inzko's allegations about his property coming from criminal activities, to ask whether it was "normal that a diplomat from any country presents slander against politicians of a country that welcomed him - and during an election campaign."
"I have a house in Dedinje (in Belgrade) and that's no secret. I never hid that! I took out a bank loan, I bought the structure and rented it for the amount equal to a loan payment. And I live in a village near Laktasi (in the RS). I also have two apartments in Belgrade. Everything's transparent... the Hypo Bank was sold during the mandate of the government of Mladen Ivanic, the Austrian authorities are investigating what happened in Austria. Neither myself, nor my son, nor my dad, nor my mom, are involved in all that," Dodik told the weekly.
He added that the talk about the Russian influence in Bosnia was "paranoia spread by the West about Russia."
"Russia has no political ambitions here. In face-to-face meetings also, Russia's most important people will tell you that they respect the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Dayton Agreement."
Asked whether there could be "conflicts in Bosnia as well because of the relationship between the West and Russia," Dodik replied:
"There can only be an armed conflict here if NATO wants it to happen. I don't see anyone who would clash in that way in Bosnia-Herzegovina."