20:59 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska is pictured on an election poster calling for votes for a referendum on their Statehood Day in Prnjavor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, September 21, 2016

    Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina: ‘What NATO? I Don’t Want Any NATO’

    © REUTERS / Dado Ruvic
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    Does the Republika Srpska want to join NATO? Why are Balkan politicians afraid of their Western colleagues? What is the role of new US special envoys to the Western Balkans? What influence do Russia and the US have on Bosnia and Herzegovina? The Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, reflects on these questions.

    The Russian presence in BiH is a lie. If someone is present and has some influence here, then this is the US. Americans, Palmer (Matthew Palmer was appointed US special envoy to the Western Balkans on 30 August – ed. note Sputnik) and others, say something about Bosnia and Herzegovina every day, but it’s worth Mr Lavrov saying something (at the Valdai Discussion Club meeting, he said that BiH is being drawn into NATO – ed. note Sputnik), everyone is getting worked up! If the Americans consider this their right, why can't the Russian Foreign Minister say something? Lavrov is well versed in the details of the situation in the former Yugoslavia and, particularly, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I can witness that he is very objective in this regard. He never respected our rights (the rights of the Bosnian Serbs –ed. note Sputnik) with more esteem than the rights of others.

    The global polarisation that occurs on the line – America and part of Western Europe on the one hand, Russia and China on the other hand – leads to the fact that they (Western powers) begin to understand: who is for them, who is against them. When we (Republika Srpska) refused to introduce duties against Russia at the time, we immediately turned into “Russian subjects”. We have already been labelled as such. Hence this whole story with Russia: they fear that the Russians have more influence than them.

    If you really look at the situation, everything that they (the Americans) are doing is directed against state and national interests of Serbs: Kosovo, the creation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was then to be divided – at the time of signing the Dayton Accords, the then US Secretary of State proposed to divide BiH. But the concept, according to which BiH remained one country, has prevailed, and this one country does not function at all. And now we are to blame. It’s my fault that I don’t understand that they wish us well! Let us think for ourselves what is good and what is not.

    The flags of America and Kosovo in Pristina
    © Sputnik / Dejan Simic
    The flags of America and Kosovo in Pristina

    That is the point. It is not me who went to the USA to create problems for the Americans. They come here and expect me to do only what they say: do we need to join NATO or we don’t need to join NATO... Wait a second, you can’t just come here, bomb us using depleted uranium, and you can’t invade BiH and take the side of Croats and Muslims in the war, determining its outcome, and then impose your Dayton Accords on us in a humiliating manner... What NATO?! I don’t want to join NATO.

    Russia is also a member of the Partnership for Peace. I remember the times when Russia expressed its readiness to become a member of NATO. Then there was such a time. Now it is different. Everything changes, only their pressure remains the same. NATO itself says: “We are not forcing anyone; this is the personal business of every country”. In reality, you get Palmer, and another second and third one (special representative or special envoy), who tells you that you must join. But we don’t have to and we will not.

    It is known that in Sarajevo there is an intelligence centre created by the Americans, British, and Bosnians for collecting information on “Russian malign influence”. And they (the Americans and the British) do not hide that they are funding it. A whole galaxy of Balkan politicians was brought up on the fact that when they go somewhere to America or Britain, they are told: “this or that official would like to hear from you this thing...” But I didn’t come to say that he wants to hear but to convey my opinion about the situation. This is atypical and no one likes it there.

    The story of Russian influence is completely made-up. I have never heard at least one Russian coming here and saying: “That's how it has to be done”. There is not a single Russian media in BiH, but there is Al-Jazeera, N1 – a CNN subsidiary, the European TV Nova. They are in Zagreb, in Belgrade, and Sarajevo. And they still talk about Russian influence! Unbelievable!

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    Republika Srpska, United States, Russia, NATO, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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