Bosnia will likely be “peacefully separated” in the future, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said Tuesday, as the Balkan country marked the 28th anniversary of the peace deal that ended its bloody civil war .
Dodik, a 64-year-old Kremlin ally, has for years wielded enormous influence over Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb entity, and has frequently stoked ethnic tensions with his secessionist threats.
“Unfortunately, the epilogue of Bosnia will be a peaceful separation,” Dodik said at a news conference in Banja Luka, the Bosnian Serb capital.
“It is clear that we are on this track and the train has left the station and there is no way back,” he added.
Dodik has long been a staunch opponent of certain institutions and reforms stemming from the Dayton Accords, the U.S.-brokered peace deal that ended Bosnia’s civil war in 1995, during which some 100,000 people were killed.
Under the agreement, Bosnia remained divided into two semi-autonomous blocs – the Serbian Republika Srpska (RS) and the Croatian-Muslim Federation – which are linked by weak central institutions.
Dodik on Tuesday criticized international pressure directed against its leaders, calling Washington’s recent moves a “hybrid war” against the RS.
The anniversary of the peace deal comes as Bosnia faces a new political crisis centered on the distribution of state assets – an issue that has long plagued the deeply divided Balkan country.
Dodik has long resisted any attempts by the central government to maintain control over state property and passed a law enshrining the right of the RS to own the property of its institutions.
The law was later overturned by Bosnia’s top international representative, Christian Schmidt.
Dodik was due to appear in court this week after being charged with passing a series of laws that would allow the Bosnian Serb entity to circumvent or ignore decisions made by Schmidt.
However, the court appearance was postponed until December 6, as Dodik had already hinted that he would not comply with the court’s decision if found guilty.