SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – The Bosnian Serb leader on Thursday renewed calls for Bosniaâ€™s dissolution and pledges to block decision-making in the countryâ€™s institutions, in a move slammed by Western envoys as a challenge to the U.S.-sponsored peace agreement that ended Bosniaâ€™s civil war.
Milorad Dodik said after a meeting of the Bosnian Serb leaders in a Sarajevo suburb that the crisis in Bosnia â€œwill disappear only when Bosnia disappears.â€
The U.S.-brokered Dayton peace agreement has divided Bosnia into two entities, the Serb republic and the Muslim-Croat federation. All the decisions on the state level have to be reached by consensus of the three ethnic groups, and if one votes against, the decisions are blocked.
Tensions increased in Bosnia earlier this month when the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that unclaimed agricultural land is the property of the central Bosnian state rather than the Serb mini state, contradicting a Bosnian Serb law.
Lawmakers in the Bosnian Serb mini-sate have given a 60-day deadline for the court to revoke its decision and reform itself by kicking out three foreign judges that the Serbs claim are biased against them.
The pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader has reiterated his calls for secession of the Bosnian Serb lands so they could join neighboring Serbia – the plan by Serb nationalists that triggered the 1992-95 war that left at least 100,000 dead and millions homeless.
“Goodbye Bosnia, welcome (Bosnian Serb) exit,” Dodik, who is also the Serb member of Bosnia’s joint presidency, said earlier this week.
A tweet issued by the U.S. Embassy after a meeting Wednesday between Ambassador Eric Nelson and Dodik said the U.S. â€œexpects nothing less than full respect of the Dayton Accords and the territorial integrity and sovereignty” of Bosnia.
The U.S., European Union and four Western European countries have denounced the Bosnian Serb blockade.
â€œUnilateral withdrawal from institutions, or blockages of decision-making within them, are unacceptable and counter-productive from any side and would only undermine the very improvements and progress that citizens wish to see,” a joint statement said.
â€œDecisions of the (Bosnian) Constitutional Court, as decisions of any Constitutional Court in any country, are final and binding, and must be implemented,” the statement said.
Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia.