Calls for arming or weapon threats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are dangerous and should not be a part of public discourse, said the US Embassy in Sarajevo, following recently raised tensions triggered by statements by Bosniak member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic.
“We are very concerned about the continuing rhetoric of divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which concerns the public across the country,” the embassy said on Friday, adding that: “It was very hard to establish the peace in Bosnia. Given the recent turbulent past of Bosnia, mentioning or insinuating a war is unacceptable”.
We clearly and openly call on the political leaders to refrain from such harmful statements, the embassy added.
The US Embassy's comment came after Izetbegovic spoke about developing Bosnia’s military industry at a recent ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Bosnian Army.
He said Bosnia wouldn’t waste its money on buying rocket systems and fighter planes, but would instead rely on its own industry which could produce arms for exports, but also “just in case, God forbid.”
Bosniak leader also said he did not believe anyone would dare to start a conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina as this would be too dangerous and produce a maelstrom that would “swallow the one who started it.”
The statement triggered fierce reactions among Bosnian Serb representatives, with the quickest to react was the President of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous entity Republika Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik.
“He doesn’t have an army, he doesn’t have a police force,” Dodik said, explaining that utilising the country’s army requires approval from all three members of the Presidency, where a Bosnian Serb also sits.
“Let him wait for that ‘God forbid’ (case),” he added.
Representatives of Dodik’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), which is represented in the Bosnia’s House of Representatives (HoR), one of two chambers of the state bicameral parliament, launched an initiative requesting an urgent session of the HoR, with only one topic on the agenda, namely “the warmongering statements by member of Bosnia’s Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic”.
They emphasized that these statements disturbed the public and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “but particularly the RS, which sees them as a threat to peace both in Bosnia and the entire region”.
Izetbegovic’s Party of Democratic Action (SDA) promptly responded, stressing that the request for holding an urgent session is a harsh attempt of abuse of parliamentary procedure.
“This is a classic case of shifting arguments, particularly for the Greater Serbia ideological kitchen, where others get accused of what in fact they actually do. So, the only thing causing concern is the constant arming of neighbours, which may jeopardize the Annex 1 B of the Dayton Peace Accords on the balance of military forces in the region, as well as the constant statements and moves by Milorad Dodik, which attack Bosnia’s sovereignty, threatens its territorial integrity and brings into question the peace and stability,” SDA said.
The aforementioned session has been cancelled due to the lack of quorum.