One of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders has renewed calls for the country’s dissolution, pledging to block decision-making in the country’s government.
Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who is one of the three officials that make up the head of state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said after a meeting with Bosnian Serb leaders the political crisis in the country “will disappear only when Bosnia disappears".
Western envoys see the comments as a challenge to the US-brokered peace agreement which brought Bosnia’s civil war to an end in 1995.
The Dayton Peace Agreement divided the country into two entities, the Serb republic, and the Muslim-Croat federation. All state-level decisions have to be agreed by all three ethnic groups, with decisions blocked if one votes against.
Tensions have been rising this month after the Constitutional Court ruled unclaimed agricultural land is the property of the Bosnian state rather than the Serb republic’s.
Politicians on the Serb republic side have given the court 60 days to reverse its decision, and pro-Russian Dodik renewed his calls for secession of Bosnian Serb lands so they can join neighbouring Serbia. This plan originally led to the Serbian civil war which left at least 100,000 people dead between 1992-1995.
“Goodbye Bosnia, welcome (Bosnian Serb) exit,” Dodik said earlier this week.
The US embassy tweeted following a meeting with Dodik to say it “expects nothing less than full respect of the Dayton Accords and the territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
Dodik, who has been under US travel and property sanctions because of his secessionist stands, accused the US of “leading anti-Serb policies.”
“I'm not threatening anyone,” he said on Thursday. “We are just demanding our rights and no one has the right to impose any solutions, not even Americans.”
“Unilateral withdrawal from institutions, or blockages of decision-making within them, are unacceptable and counterproductive from any side and would only undermine the very improvements and progress that citizens wish to see,” a joint statement from the US, the European Union and four Western European countries declared.