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'Goodbye' Bosnia: Serb Leader Dodik Reiterates Call For Secession

Milorad Dodik (file photo)
Milorad Dodik (file photo)

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Lawmakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Bosnian Serb entity have gathered for an extraordinary session to discuss a response to a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court opposed by the Serbs.

Tensions have flared in the divided Balkan country since the Bosnian Constitutional Court earlier this month rejected a regulation passed in Republika Srpska on farmland that used to belong to the Yugoslav state as unconstitutional.

The law, adopted late last year, declared such land as property of Republika Srpska, but the court ruled that the state of Bosnia was the owner.

Addressing Republika Srpska’s legislature in Banja Luka on February 17, Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency, said: “Goodbye [Bosnia], welcome [Republika Srpska] exit.”

Dodik has repeatedly called for a referendum on the status of the Serb-led entity, saying Bosnian Serbs had a right to decide their own future.

Last week, the United States and the EU office in Sarajevo joined Britain, Germany, France, and Italy in saying that “unilateral withdrawal from institutions, or blockages of decision-making within them, are unacceptable and counter-productive.”

The decisions of the Constitutional Court are “final and binding, and must be implemented,” they said in a joint statement.

Bosnia remains deeply divided along ethnic lines. The country emerged from a 1992-95 war as two autonomous regions -- the Bosniak-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska -- united under a weak central government.