Serbia's Vucic Vows To Protect Republika Srpska

Vucic said after a meeting with Republika Srpska’s leader Milorad Dodik in Belgrade on Saturday that his administration would always protect Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated entity in Bosnia.

“Serbia is on the way to membership of the EU and Serbia will, while preserving its stability, always protect the stability and sustainability of Republika Srpska by respecting the Dayton Peace Accords [which ended the 1992-95 war and guaranteed the Serb entity’s existence],” Vucic said.

Dodik said that it was important for Republika Srpska that Serbia remained a stable country and that the recent elections helped to assure that it would.

“We are interested in a powerful and strong Serbia, a Serbia which is the most important country in the region in every way,” he said.

But he added that he did not think that Republika Srpska would remain a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina forever.

“I respect the opinion and feeling of people out there [in Republika Srpska], they do not love Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Dodik said.

“I don't love it in any special way either, but that does not mean that this compulsion [to remain within Bosnia and Herzegovina] has to last forever,” he said.

Dodik said that he spoke to Vucic about the issue of Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina gaining the same status within Serbia that Bosnian Croats have within Croatia. Vucic responded that this issue would soon be on the agenda in Belgrade.

The two men also said that they discussed economic cooperation, mostly in the electricity and tourism sectors, and about the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline which will run through Serbia.

Republika Srpska is hoping to become involved in the pipeline project, but can only do so...

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