Bosnian Serb Strongman May Halt Threatening Moves – US Diplomat
Bosnian Presidency member Milorad Dodik (R) shakes hand with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Linhart (L) as he arrives for a meeting at the Bosnian Presidency, 15 October 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/FEHIM DEMIR
After holding individual meetings on Monday with the Bosnik, Croat and Serb members of the presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, Zeljko Komsic and Milorad Dodik, Escobar said he had a "productive" meeting with Dodik, adding that Dodik seemed "open to discussing withdrawing all of the legislation that would weaken the [Bosnian] central institutions".
Escobar's latest diplomatic effort was prompted by a fast-escalating crisis in Bosnia, where Dodik a few weeks ago unveiled plans to withdraw Bosnian Serbs from all central state institutions established in Bosnia after the 1995 Dayton deal ended the 1992-5 Bosnian war.
What Dodik called a "return to the original Dayton" deal, local and international officials and experts called a major blow to Bosnia's state institutions, constitution and laws, as well as the possible beginning of a separation of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, from the rest of the country.
According to many pundits, this would likely reignite ethnic violence that could then spread across the region.
"The most important thing we agreed with all of the interlocutors we met today is that we all agreed that there will be no war, and that is the most important message," Escobar said.
Escobar arrived in Sarajevo on Sunday and will be travelling to Banja Luka in Republika Srpska to continue meetings that will last until Wednesday.
His mission was only part of hectic diplomatic efforts made by different American and European officials and diplomats to defuse Bosnia's galloping crisis.
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