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Bosnia: Serbs want Referendum

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik on Tuesday admitted that holding a Serb referendum on independence in Bosnia was a "political adventure" that could be seen as "tilting at windmills", but insisted it was the only way forward. "If Sarajevo persists in claiming that the Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska (RS) shouldn't exist and is a genocidal creature, they will get the answer called 'people' and 'referendum'," said Dodik, during a lecture in northern Serbian city of Novi Sad.

Dodik, who is prime minister of the RS said Serbs in Bosnia might resort to the same tool as Montenegrins had in their 21 May referendum if Muslim leaders in Sarajevo continued to press for the Bosnian Serb entity's abolition, on the grounds that it was "a genocidal creature" forged in war. His comments drew sharp criticism from the international community's high representative in Bosnia, Christian Schwarz Schilling, who said only former Yugoslav republics had the legal right to a plebiscite - which was not the case with the RS.

Bosnia was divided into two entities, a Muslim-Croat federation and the RS by the Dayton peace accord that ended the civil war in 1995. But the international community has been gradually stripping powers from the entities to strengthen the central government.

Dodik acknowledged that the RS did not currently have the legitimate international right to hold a referendum on independence. But neither did ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Muslim-majority Kosovo province, which was nevertheless moving towards independence, he pointed out. If the RS was granted the right to a referendum, he was sure that 90 percent of voter would vote in favor of independence, Dodik said.

He criticised the role of the high international representatives in Bosnia, saying: "There is no ruler in the world with such powers." But, he added: "That mandate will end in the foreseeable future and we must be prepared for a new phase."

The tiny state of Montenegro, the last republic that remained in a state union with Serbia after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, seceded on Saturday, after Montenegrins narrowed backed independence in the country's 21 May referendum

  1. Blogger oskar | 10:03 AM |  

    A couple of thouhts:

    1. Montenegro has fewer inhabitants than RS

    2. There is no acceptance in the intl. community for a future independent Kosovo joining Albania

    3. If war crimes are individual (as opposed to collective) there is no reason to 'punish' RS (or its citizens) for war crimes committed by its leaders during the war

    4. The odd geographical shape of RS would pose problems if it were to become a fully independent state or joing with Serbia

    5. Just like Kosovo, RS could very well become de-jure independent but technically remain a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    6. For half a century the Allies managed to keep East and West Germany as two separate states. Maybe that's what it will take in Bosnia as well...

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