European Western Balkans

Analysts on the plan for the “peaceful dissolution” of BiH: The authors know it is unrealistic

Milorad Dodik; Photo: FoNet/rtrs.tv

A proposal for the “peaceful dissolution of BiH”, which was recently announced by President of Republika Srpska (RS) Milorad Dodik, is not a feasible solution and will neither be supported by the Federal Government in Sarajevo, nor by the international community, political analysts claim. The proposal, which was published this week in the local media, was officially drafted by the Government of RS and is expected to be put on the agenda of the National Assembly of RS.

Dodik outlined the details of the plan in his interview with Sputnik on 28 June. He stressed that the Government and the National Assembly of Republika Srpska would stand behind the document on the peaceful dissolution of BiH, making it Srpska’s official proposal.

According to Dodik, the proposal was created considering the impossibility of BiH functioning normally, even within the framework of the 1995 Dayton Agreement. He claimed that the Agreement had been undermined by foreign interventions, with the assistance of the Bosniaks and without consulting the other two nations in BiH, the Serbs and Croats.

Dodik: Two independent states should be formed

“The document proposes the political dissolution of BiH and the formation of two independent political and territorial entities that will live and function according to an agreement based on this (dissolution). Certain existing things, such as borders and some other elements, should function for three to five years, while in the meantime, relations should be organized in a way that best benefits both people and goods, so there are no significant interruptions”, Dodik said for Sputnik.

In recent years, Milorad Dodik has regularly threatened to secede Republika Srpska from the rest of the country, which he considers to be “dysfunctional”. The intention to propose a peaceful dissolution of BiH was made public in Dodik’s speech in Bratunac, ahead of the UN vote on the Srebrenica Resolution, which took place on 23 May.

Following the adoption of the UN Resolution, the first so-called “All-Serbian Assembly”, under the slogan: ”One Nation, One Assembly – Serbia and Srpska” was organised on 8 June in Belgrade, attended by both Milorad Dodik and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. On this occasion, the governments of Serbia and Republika Srpska adopted the “Declaration on the Protection of National and Political Rights and the Common Future of the Serbian People”, which was adopted by the RS parliament on 2 July.

Topić: I think it is clear to the initiators that the plan is unrealistic

Asked about the proposal, Tanja Topić, a political analyst and head of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation office in Banja Luka, says for European Western Balkans that a lot of things here have been deliberately set upside down, with the aim of manipulating both the domestic public and political actors, as well as the international factor.

“The very term, that has become politically fashionable, is essentially a euphemism for independence, secession, which has been on the agenda of the political leadership of Republika Srpska since 2008. Somehow, it sounds more painless if the term secession is not used, since it is hair-raising, when it comes to both the politicians in BiH and abroad. The document abounds in these subtle deceptions. What does it mean to disengage, if the Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH never even joined together, but gained every kind of subjectivity by the Dayton Agreement?”, Tanja Topić says.

Topić stresses that the creators of this “famous” plan treat the Dayton Agreement as if it were the Bible but the dissolution in practice is nothing more than dodging the chair you are sitting on.

“Not to mention that the dissolution would be treated as a criminal act under the Criminal Code of BiH. The document is flawed because it does not mention Brčko District anywhere. I think it is clear to the initiators of this plan that it is unfeasible and unrealistic, especially not in the sense that it is possible to dissolve the country. At the same time, the document implies further use of benefits, in terms of keeping tax and monetary policy, and customs in the transitional period, everything that gives financial stability to the entities and gives politicians all the luxury. It is an illusion to expect that anyone from the Federation of BiH will be willing to talk about this document”, she states.

Topić points out that the representatives of Republika Srpska act as if it were a serious document, not an expression of political bluff.

“The aim of the document is to maintain the tensions in BiH and make people believe in the new world order, in which Russia will have the leading role. It also wants to make people believe that Donald Trump will return to power in the United States and correct centuries of injustice towards Serbs, as well as to allow them all to live in one state. The political leaders of the Serbs in BiH will not give up these political dreams until the last resident of Republika Srpska leaves this place”, Topić concludes.

Ćerimagić: The authors are asking the Federation to give its consent for RS’ independence and to then co-finance it

Adnan Ćerimagić, a senior analyst at European Stability Initiative (ESI), earlier posted similar interpretation of the document on X. He wrote that the authors of the proposal are not convinced that, at this moment, there is strong legal, economic, political, or geographical basis for Republika Srpska’s independence.

“Much of the text is an attempt to create a legal case for RS independence, with false references to the UN Charter, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and even the decolonisation process. It also provides a list of misinterpretations of the Dayton Peace Accords. This is not the first time for RS to try this. It has been debunked and rejected. It doesn’t hold ground (in today’s world!)…”, Ćerimagić wrote.

He also pointed out that the document seeks full independence of Republika Srpska but wants to keep all the benefits of the post-Dayton socio-economic integration of BiH. For example, it proposes the establishment of the permanent freedom of movement of people, goods and services. It also proposes a temporary monetary, customs and tax collection union.

“With this document authors (Republika Srpska) are asking the Federation to give its consent for RS’ independence and to then co-finance it”, Adi Ćerimagić stressed.

Finally, Ćerimagić remarked that in the background, this document serves also as part of some Dodik-Vučić play.

“In early June, at the All-Serb Assembly, Vučić said in public that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dissolution is not on the All-Serb agenda (in the Declaration). This document brings the dissolution back, at the same moment when RS Assembly is to adopt the June non-dissolution Declaration”, he wrote.

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