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24 Oct, 2023 00:25

Serbian region may split Bosnia over US sanctions – leader

Hunter Biden’s father blacklisting my children is a bit rich, Republika Srpska's president has said
Serbian region may split Bosnia over US sanctions – leader

President Milorad Dodik of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska has brought up the Hunter Biden controversy to accuse US President Joe Biden of hypocrisy for blacklisting his children for alleged corruption. He argued that Washington's moves are more likely to make Srpska independent than to destroy it.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Igor and Gorica Dodik on Friday, alleging they were part of their father’s “patronage network” that they accused of “undermining” the 1995 peace treaty and “the authority of the High Representative” in Bosnia. The US claimed Dodik is profiting “at the expense of the territorial integrity and functional governance” of Bosnia and the “general economic wellbeing” of Srpska.

Addressing the sanctions announcement over the weekend, Dodik said the US was “trying old imperialist tricks” - personalizing politics by going after his family. Srpska is far more likely to declare independence from Bosnia if the West continues its bullying, he argued, noting that separation has become “a very real alternative” in recent years. 

“Biden’s own son is the most corrupt and he invokes immunity if someone wants him arrested,” Dodik told reporters. “Where are the crimes? Why do you keep lying? If the Americans had any evidence of Milorad Dodik’s involvement in crimes, do you think I would still be here?”

Republika Srpska is the ethnically Serbian half of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The US-brokered Dayton Accords ended the civil war in the former Yugoslav republic by partitioning it between Srpska and a federation run by the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and Croats.

The 64-year-old former basketball player is currently serving his third term as president of Srpska, having sat on Bosnia’s three-member presidency between 2018 and 2022. He has been open about his friendship with Russia and opposition to NATO membership, suggesting recently that Bosnia would be better off as a member of BRICS.

According to Dodik, the US and the EU are the ones subverting the peace by having their ‘high representative’ in Sarajevo strip Srpska of her constitutional rights and empowering the central government. His government has refused to recognize the authority of German envoy Christian Schmidt, given his lack of UN approval.

Dodik has pointed to all the infrastructure and business construction projects in Srpska as proof that the US was disingenuous to accuse him of somehow harming the entity.

“The US is no longer the world’s biggest political or financial power,” Dodik argued, pointing out that Washington is down to just raw military force. “They’re the most indebted country in the world, and they’re lecturing us how to live? Oh no you don't.”