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Bosnian PM Criticizes Speculation On Serb Pullout From State Posts

Milorad Dodik, the prime minister of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska, is seen as seeking to separate the entity from Bosnia.
ZAGREB -- Bosnian Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, an ethnic Serb, today dismissed as "politically dangerous" any speculation about a possible move by Bosnia's Serb entity to call on Bosnian Serbs to withdraw from state government structures, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Spiric's comments came after Milorad Dodik, the prime minister of Republika Srpska, asked Bosnian Serb authorities to back a proposal that calls on ethnic Serb politicians to pull out of state bodies. They have yet to respond.

Multiethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was subdivided into the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation following the Bosnian War, has government structures at both the state level and the level of the two entities.

Spiric declined to answer when asked by RFE/RL if he would obey a potential call to withdraw from his state post, saying "no such decision has been made yet."

But he criticized concerns in Sarajevo that the Serb entity might represent a threat to the Bosnian state, saying "any mention of Republika Srpska as dangerous for Bosnia-Herzegovina is dangerous for both Bosnia and Republika Srpska."

Spiric blamed such warnings on the "immaturity" and "political autism" of the authorities in Sarajevo.

Dodik, whose political loyalties are seen as lying with Belgrade, has been accused of seeking to detach Republika Srpska from Bosnia.

He recently issued an order forbidding Bosnian Serb officials from speaking to journalists and media outlets based in the Muslim-Croat Federation, a move that was criticized in Bosnia as violating free speech.

Spiric was speaking in Zagreb with his Croatian counterpart, Jadranka Kosor, ahead of a West Balkans summit on March 20 in Slovenia.

Kosor reiterated her country's support for Bosnia as an integrated country with three constituent nations: Serb, Muslim, and Croatian.

She stated that Croatia, as an EU candidate country, strongly supports a European orientation for Bosnia, and will demonstrate that by providing Bosnian authorities with a Croatian translation of the acquis communautaire, the formal body of EU law that is used for negotiations between Brussels and candidate countries.