Austrian Rightist Leader Backs Bosnian Serb Independence

The international community should stop using force to keep Bosnia and Herzegovina artificially alive and allows its peoples self-determination, Heinz-Christina Strache, a leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, FPO, said in an interview.

Speaking to Radio Television Republika Srpska, RTRS, the public broadcaster in Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity, he said: "Serbs and Croats in BiH should have the right to self-determination and this right should not be denied to anyone."

The Eurosceptic, anti-immigrant party is best known for its anti-Muslim views. Strache recently advocated a ban on what he called "fascistic Islam".

In the interview for the RTRS on Friday, Strache insisted that radical Islamic groups posed a danger to Bosnia, where about half the population is Muslim. He said the country was not capable of solving this problem itself.

"Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but Muslims are behind all the terrorist attacks that have been committed in Europe in the last few years," Strache said.

Strache said he had very good relations with RS President Milorad Dodik and his ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, although the FPO is on the right while Dodik's SNSD belongs nominally to the left.

The FPO is hoping to perform strongly in the next Austrian parliamentary elections due in mid-October.

According to latest polls, the FPO is running neck and neck with Social Democrats, with each party on about 24 per cent, behind the Conservative Austrian Peoples Party, OVP, which has a rating of about 33 percent.

The FPO has long taken a pro-Russia stance, calling for an end to European Union sanctions against Moscow imposed over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It has denied...

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