Any attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have "grave consequences," the US embassy in Sarajevo said on Thursday in response to repeated threats by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik that BiH entity of Republika Srpska might secede from the country.
“Any action taken toward the dissolution of BiH would violate Dayton and carry grave consequences,” the US embassy said in a tweet.
The message said that the United States is “committed to the principles of Dayton – that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a democratic, multi-ethnic, sovereign, and independent state with unquestionable territorial integrity… Neither Dayton, nor the Constitution of BiH, offers any entity the right to secede.”
This statement came after Dodik’s recent speech at a rally in Banja Luka where he said that the Republika Srpska Serb-dominated entity would “definitely” become independent. He said that he was ultimately seeking the return of all powers that had previously been transferred from the entities to the state, “otherwise Republika Srpska would take the path of secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The rally of Dodik’s supporters had been initially announced as a protest against the country’s Central Election Commission that has not yet confirmed his victory over opponent Jelena Trivic for president of RS.
Dodik also announced that the RS would take over the organization of all future elections, from the country’s Central Electoral Commission, asserting that that body acted illegally when it ordered a recount of all votes for the entity’s president.
The US embassy said in response that “there is no justification for responding to standard election integrity and accountability measures with the dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric about secession that we heard in Banja Luka.”
“Election authorities have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, including by recounting ballots and other measures when circumstances warrant. The United States respects the right of peaceful assembly and protest. They are part of any democracy,” said the US embassy.