Lavrov condemns ‘unacceptable colonial mentality’ of EU in Bosnia, shrugs off snub by politicians ‘serving external forces’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov brushed off the refusal of Bosnian Muslim and Croat representatives to meet with him in Sarajevo, saying they acted on instructions from outside powers not interested in peace in Bosnia.
The incident will not in the least affect Russia’s position on developing relations with the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lavrov told reporters in Belgrade on Tuesday.
“I think the politicians who made that decision are not independent, and clearly acted on someone's instructions,” the Russian foreign minister said. “They most likely express the interests not of their voters, but of external forces that have no interest not only in the development of Russian relations with Bosnia and Serbia, but in general of the Western Balkans countries exercising their right to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with all external partners.”
Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic, the Bosnian Muslim and Croat members of the country’s tripartite presidency, snubbed the scheduled meeting with Lavrov on Monday, claiming that his statements about the Dayton Accords the day before ran “counter to the position of Bosnia.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry was completely unfazed, sending out a tweet of Lavrov’s meeting “with members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency,” showing only the Bosnian Serb member Milorad Dodik, who currently presides over the triumvirate.
After the meeting, Lavrov warned “some of our partners against attempts to destroy the Dayton architecture,” saying that “such attempts, whatever their motives, are fraught with the most serious consequences.”
The Dayton Accords ended the 1992-1995 ethnic conflict in Bosnia that pitted the former Yugoslav republic’s three main constituent groups against each other. The country’s new constitution was part of the peace treaty, which was officially signed on December 14, 1995 in Paris.
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While the settlement has held off further bloodshed for 25 years now, there have been repeated attempts by the US and EU to alter it in the name of Bosnia’s prospective accession to the EU and NATO. The Serbs have opposed this, while the Bosnian Muslims are in favor. While Komsic sits in the presidency on behalf of the Bosnian Croats, the largest Croat party denies his legitimacy.
At the press conference in Belgrade, Lavrov recalled the words of former EU foreign policy commissioner Federica Mogherini, who called Bosnia an exclusive interest zone of the EU and said Russia had no business there.
“This is a philosophy deeply rooted in the ancient colonial and half-colonial legacy of many European countries,” Lavrov said. “We can’t do anything about it, obviously, except counter this absolutely unacceptable line and mentality.”
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