The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Tuesday that they were moving towards the “highest possible” level of independence, which he said was a legitimate political goal in a country deeply divided since its 1990s war.

Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska (RS), spoke on a holiday for Bosnian Serbs — banned by the BiH constitutional court — to celebrate the anniversary of the creation of the RS entity.

“Our goal is the highest possible independence for the RS. We are moving in that direction and that is a legitimate political goal,” Dodik told Serbia’s national RTS television.

Meanwhile, the goal of Bosnian Muslims and “foreigners” is to make Bosnia a highly centralised country, he said.

“But these two concepts are simply incompatible.”

The peace deal that ended Bosnia’s war split the Balkan country into two semi-independent entities — the RS and a Muslim-Croat federation.

The two are linked by weak central institutions.

Dodik said Bosnian Serbs had to fight to “keep our rights”.

In the past Dodik has repeatedly insisted that Bosnia is not a functional country, labelling it a “useless state” and a “failed international project”.

He has also repeatedly threatened to carry out a referendum on independence for the RS.

On Tuesday, Dodik said that he would “found a non-government organisation that will deal with the independence of Republika Srpska” once he is no longer serving a political role.