Bosnia's Bosniak and Croat Presidency members Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic refused to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Tuesday because he first met with Bosnian Serb state officials from Republika Srpska (RS) entity in Istocno Sarajevo, on Monday evening, where no Bosnian state flag was seen in the room.
“In this way, we want to preserve the dignity and pride of our homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Russian Federation is a great state, a world power, Bosnia is not a world power, but it is a very important country in the world. We have our pride and we want to say what we think at a given time. Russia respects the Dayton Peace Agreement, but the statements given yesterday at a press conference by Minister Lavrov tell a different story,” Dzaferovic said.
According to him, respecting the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 192-1995 war in Bosnia means respecting all its annexes.
“The first thing stated in the Agreement is the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its continuity, institutions, its flag and coat of arms. That must be respected, it was not respected yesterday. Respecting the Dayton Agreement means respecting all 11 annexes. The OHR’s departure from Bosnia is advocated by forces that constantly talk about secession,” Dzaferovic said referring to Monday evening statements by Lavrov and Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Milorad DOdik who called for the closure of the office of the High Representative in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Agreement.
“This is a message to our European friends and our partners, that we are a proud and determined people. Once we make a decision in this country, we must abide by it,” said Dzaferovic.
“We all know that Mr Lavrov is among the top three Foreign Ministers in the world. He’s a man with such a great experience and force behind him whose actions are always planned in the finest detail especially in his public appearances. Every move he makes sends a message. What we’ve seen ever since he came to Bosnia are not his personal messages, but those of his country. The lack of the state flag during the meeting with Milorad Dodik is no mistake. We see this as a form of disrespect and denial of our country’s institutions to which came in an official visit,” Komsic said. “The statement in which he supports the resolution of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity parliament’s resolution on military neutrality is also evidence of Russian Minister’s awareness of the situation and experience in disregarding the fact that only Bosnia’s state institutions can make such a decision.”
In these two examples, Komsic said, Lavrov showed disrespect for Bosnia’s institutions, Constitution and the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“With all due respect to the Russian Federation as a great and powerful state, we will not agree to be a Russian pawn in the Balkans in their games and confrontations with either EU or NATO member countries. We expect them to understand and support that,” Komsic concluded.
Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov came to a two-day visit to Bosnia where he was supposed to meet with all three Presidency members and Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic. In stead, he met was only received with the Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik, With Bosniak and Croat Presidency members refusing to meet with him, Lavrov Will only meet with the Bosnian Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik, after which he will sign a Consultation plan between Bosnia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia for the period 2020/2021.