The second term of US President Donald Trump will be a chance for ‘reintegration’ of Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, into neighbouring Serbia or for giving it more autonomy, RS President Milorad Dodik told the Serbian public broadcaster, RTS, on Friday.
Dodik is the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the party in power in the semi-autonomous Serb-dominated RS entity, which was established with the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. He has been advocating for the RS to secede from Bosnia for years.
He pointed out that Trump confirmed a policy of non-involvement in the internal issues of other countries at a recent UN General Assembly meeting.
‘Some people within the Trump campaign have started contacting me early, when I was in Chicago and when Trump's candidacy was only being announced. I thought that, based on what I was told, this could be good for Serbs and then I told the Serb community there that he should be supported,’ Dodik said.
He said that 95 percent of Serbs in the US voted for Trump and not for the Democrats, who he said have ‘supported our regional enemies.’
He also said he plans to stay in touch with Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, who met with RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic recently. He said he plans to meet with Bannon should he come to Europe some time in September.
‘Bannon and his group, whoever they may be in Europe, those who push for respecting and favoring identities that do not have to be at war or in conflict with each other, for me represent an acceptable type of politics,’ Dodik said, adding that Bannon is also a friend to Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
The Bosnian Serb leader said that Bannon’s belief is that repressing one’s identity is ‘the worst thing and always causes a reaction, an uprising, and that people need to be allowed to have their own identity and for nations to have their own states, to cooperate, and not for some higher narrative to control everything.’
‘That is what drew me toward him,' Dodik said of Bannon. 'A person has a right to love their people and their state, just as I have the right to love Republika Srpska and Serbia and just as (Serbian President) Aleksandar Vucic has a right to love Serbia and Republika Srpska and the Serb people. That does not imply hate toward anyone else.’
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets had imposed sanctions against Dodik in January 2017 for obstructing the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and defying Bosnia’s Constitutional Court.