Presidency Chairman: Dodik opposes NATO membership because of Russia


Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik who used to support the NATO membership is now against it, and he is doing that because of Russia, not because of the peoples of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-dominated region, according to State Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, who commented on the ongoing political crisis with the government formation in Bosnia and the country's relationship with NATO.

Speaking in N1's current affairs programme Pressing, Komsic recalled that Dodik used to be supportive of NATO and the officials of his SNSD party had approved the NATO-related documents, which are still valid.

“There is no logic in objecting the NATO, which guarantees elementary security. If you're a part of NATO, you can forget about conflicts. There are no more conflicts, no more wars, no fear of war, no fear that someone will attack you from aside because you have western neighbours who are NATO member states. There is no fear of Serbia which has good cooperation with NATO, and it will probably one day become a NATO member state,” said the Presidency member, who represents Bosnian Croats in the tripartite Presidency, along with two other members who represent the Bosniaks and Serbs.

Adoption of the Annual National Programme (ANP), a document that Bosnian authorities are expected to send to NATO in Brussels, has been a burning issue for months and is now blocking the state-level government formation, although nearly a year has passed since the elections.

The Bosniak and Croat Presidency members, Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic, refuse to vote the new prime minister, who is supposed to come from the ruling Bosnian Serb party – SNSD, because the party leader, Milorad Dodik, the Serb Presidency member, objects the country's path towards the membership in the alliance.

The leaders of the three parties which won the election among three major ethnic groups and two Bosnia's demi-autonomous regions signed an agreement on 5 August, a deal which contains the principles to form the government in an effort to overcome the stalemate, but the main issue, the ANP, is vaguely defined in the document.

The central issue remains unresolved while the 30-day deadline set in the agreement is approaching.

Dodik, who announced he would “take measures” in the parliament of Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity he represents, if the agreement is not implemented, has now toned down the rhetoric, according to Komsic.


“I think he simply overreacted and he realised that, and now he is trying to find a way out, to stay a tough guy, to remain dangerous, to make his electorate believe that he is fiercely fighting for Republika Srpska's interest while knowing at the same time that this is a path to political suicide,” said the Presidency Chairman.

“He brought himself in a very difficult situation, he has to do something at the Republika Srpska National Assembly and he cannot cross the line that is very fatal to him,” he added.

As for the prime minister-designate, who is supposed to come from Dodik's party, Komsic said that the SNSD's candidate is not disputable at all.

“But Dodik has a problem with Bosnia and Herzegovina sending the ANP. The ball is in his court and he was told so. All legal prerequisites have been met, he can be appointed the prime minister-designate and the only thing he has to accept is to respect the decisions of the Presidency, the Parliament, the Law on Defence and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which means the continuation of the NATO road. If he can oblige to that, then let's talk,” stressed Komsic, who is convinced that the Bosniak Presidency member supports his stance in this situation.

Speaking about the relations in the region, the Presidency Chairman noted that the Presidents of two neighbouring countries, Croatia and Serbia, have not paid a visit to Bosnia yet, ten months after the new Presidency assumed office.

“We expressed the readiness at the Presidency level for the meeting. As a Presidency member, I am not escaping it. I am not escaping the meeting with the officials of Croatia or Serbia. I have no problem of that kind. But they obviously have a problem with meeting me. As far as I am concerned they are welcome to come anytime,” said Komsic, without elaborating on this topic.

“We don't have to love each other, but we have to respect each other and work,” he added.