After the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB) Steering Board appointed Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative, the leaders of the Republika Srpska political parties, both from the ruling coalition and the opposition, went to Belgrade on Wednesday in consultation with the Serbian President. Aleksandar Vučić.
After the meeting, Vucic said that the PIC SB did not make the appointment in a legal way and that “the reaction will be strong”.
“We talked about all the important issues. Our reaction will be very strong and sharp on the issue of international legal agreements signed in the presence and under the auspices of the European Union. As for Republika Srpska, I listened carefully to all our guests, I listened to all the ideas and I think that the common denominator is that everyone understands quite well the weight and position in which Republika Srpska and all the Serbian people are. What Serbia can do is that it will always be with RS, respecting the integrity of BiH, but also the integrity of RS within BiH. “We will always help and support RS,” Vucic said.
He added that “Serbia will start acting in a way that has not been done before, but in accordance with what was signed. From now on we will regularly request the reports of the High Representative and we are confident that the High Representatives if they continue to exist in BiH will respect that obligation to Serbia. “
Vucic recalled that so far, every High Representative has been confirmed to the UN Security Council and that he understands why people in RS are concerned about non-compliance or changes in legal procedures.
Serbian member and Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik said after the meeting that the situation requires political unity in RS to overcome “this rush against RS and the Serb people in general”.
“We believe that the appointment of the High Representative in this way is against the interests of RS and the Serb people in BiH. We believe that everything should be returned to legality and that a resolution should determine who the High Representative is. “But in the first place, we think the Office of the High Representative should be closed,” Dodik said.
He said the 2005 initiative was to close the OHR, but that by adopting the “five goals and two conditions”, that would never happen.
“We are against any rehabilitation in terms of Bonn powers or the adoption of legal solutions. We are seeking unity in RS and the support of Serbia is needed. We do not want a dramatization. We want the implementation of the Constitution. We are not anti-Dayton or anti-constitutional. We fear there will be violations of this, given that a new name is being speculated. Whoever was nominated, we believe must be confirmed by a UN Security Council Resolution. If not, it will not be legitimate for us, “Dodik noted.
The meeting provoked a reaction from the Bosnian member of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, who said that “it would be better for Dodik to hold the meeting with two other members of the Presidency”. Džaferović believes that Serbia has no rights when it comes to the appointment of the High Representative in BiH and that the only obligation that Serbia has under the Dayton Agreement is to respect BiH’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by “not taking any action that would violate “those values of BiH in any way.”