NATO, EU condemn Bosnian Serb president’s ‘divisive’ armed forces remarks

Current chairman and Serbian member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency Milorad Dodik has been criticised by the country’s European and international partners after making controversial remarks about the Bosnian armed forces.

Speaking at a conference marking the Day of the [Bosnian] Serb Republic’s Army, the nationalist Serb politician urged the so-called Third Infantry Regiment, the Serb component of Bosnia’s multiethnic armed forces to wear its own uniforms during next year’s celebrations, not that of the joint army, indicating his desire to see the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina having its own military.

The comments were widely seen as divisive.

“In any case, that’s a very dangerous statement. (…) What he said is a severe act of crime,” Šefik Džaferović, the Bosniak member of the presidency said, while the country’s Croat presidency member, Željko Komšić, announced plans to file criminal charges against Mr Dodik for “causing rebellion” within Bosnia’s united armed forces.

EUFOR, the EU’s peacekeeping mission in the country has also criticised Mr Dodik, saying that “any statements which serve to undermine the AFBiH [Bosnia’s united armed forces] and their legal status as the single, united, military force of the state of Bosnia are counter-productive and should be avoided”.

“The Alliance remains committed to supporting defence and security reforms in the country and advising authorities on tasks within the BiH-NATO Partnership for Peace Program,” the Bosnian NATO headquarters said in a statement.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the US Embassy in Sarajevo has also condemned the remarks, calling them dangerous.