BELGRADE – The Republika Srpska, a largely Serbian entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, could withdraw from an agreement on the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina amid the activities of the central authorities following the celebration of the Republika Srpska Day, President Milorad Dodik said Tuesday.
On Monday, Republika Srpska celebrated the holiday, violating the ruling of the country’s constitutional court. Representatives of the Bosnian Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment participated in the celebrations.
Following the festive celebrations officials from Sarajevo, as well as from Brussels, criticized the ceremonies and the participation of the troops in them.
“The framework of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina… is undermined. When they were created it was specified that their Serbian part would participate in celebrations of all commemorative dates for Republika Srpska… I know that there are a lot of problems in this context and it would not be an easy move but we should make the first step and to gather Republika Srpska’s politicians and officials to find out if it is possible and politically beneficial to send an application on withdrawal from an agreement on Armed Forces to allow Republika Srpska to exit the deal,” Dodik said, as quoted by the Radio Televizija Republike Srpske broadcaster.
He added that the potential withdrawal of Republika Srpska from the agreement would mean the end of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Republika Srpska is one of the two autonomous entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their relations are largely affected by the civil war among Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Croatians in 1992-1995.
Republika Srpska does not agree to celebrate the national day of Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 1, for on that day in 1992 the Bosnian parliament proclaimed the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina without the presence of Bosnian Serbs.
On September 25, 2016, Republika Srpska held a referendum and decided to celebrate the national day on January 9, as the entity had been declared on this date in 1992.
In November 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional court ruled against the holiday. The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were created in 2005 after the unification of the armed forces of both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Army of Republika Srpska.