Dodik: Americans wanted me to tear down church in Potocari
Serb Republic (RS) President Milorad Dodik says the United States was responsible both for the the adoption, and the undermining of the Dayton peace agreement.Source: Prva TV
In an interview for Prva TV, he stressed that sanctions which Washington imposed on him "mean nothing to him," and that he will in the coming period "try to explain that to the new U.S. administration."
According to him, "some westerners have his back more than Russian President Vladimir Putin," while "we can only imagine what he spoke about with Putin in Moscow."
Dodik thinks that the U.S. would not have imposed sanctions had he not been invited to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump.
"I was glad to hear Trump say he would not have showdowns with other governments in the world. Why would Trump have one with us? We respect the Dayton agreement. They say we should respect the spirit of the agreement, while we respect its letter. You will not find any statement of mine violating the letter of the Dayton agreement," Dodik said.
He told journalist Nevena Madzarevic that "media are not aware what torture it is when American officials exert pressure."
"We are considered to be nothing, they as a power can do anything, I have been warned about many things, but I never took heed. Excuse me, there is the dignity that nobody can put into question. You can't say that Bosnia-Herzegovina should not have a tripartite presidency and that the RS should change its name. And when I say I would not, they ask me what it is that I want, I say I want to go home, they say I will see what the power of the U.S. is like. the U.S. ambassador asked for the church in Potocari to be torn down, I said I would not, the next day a statement was issued about me being uncooperative. I haven't been tearing down mosques, I won't be tearing down churches," Dodik stressed.
The RS leader believes that Bosnian Muslims "couldn't wait" for the U.S. to impose sanctions on him, and added that he spoke about this with Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic, who he said "has a rational stance - Serbia will not accept these sanctions."
"I don't want to be a problem either for the RS or for Serbia. I have two more years of my mandate... pressure from the outside is as great as you let it be, the problem the Serbs have is that we have been assigning greater importance to foreigners than they really have," Dodik said.
He thinks Trump will "certainly work to strengthen America, not weaken it" and noted that he "respects Russia and the fact he can meet with President Putin two or three times a year."
A strong Serbia is important to the Serb entity in Bosnia, Dodik continued, adding that he "views Serbia with a positive emotion," while the RS has been nurturing good relation with Serbia "through various systems."
He sad his "perception toward" Vucic and President Tomislav Nikolic was "positive," but that he had no desire to act as arbiter "and say who is a better presidential candidate."
"Nikolic is a man who has been doing his job well and there's nothing against him continuing. I think the position of the ruling (Serbian) party is comfortable and that it can completely legitimately propose its candidate. The RS has no intention of taking sides," Dodik said.
The RS president concluded by saying that the work of Bosnia-born Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica should be "positively affirmed," and that Kusturica's authority is much greater elsewhere in the world "than in these regions."