četvrtak, 19. svibnja 2011.


Miroslav Lajčak
An authoritative comment by a long-term Balkan analyst on the recent visit to RS by EU foreign-policy chief. Richard Holbrooke often referred to the ‘Yugo-second’ as the amount of time that passed between when a Balkan politician made a promise and broke it. The EU's High Representative for foreign policy Catherine Ashton and her Balkan Director Miroslav Lajcak travelled to Banja Luka last Friday [13 May] in a poorly planned, poorly conceived and poorly executed trip, where they met with Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik. The official purpose of the trip was to dissuade Dodik from holding a referendum and to have him revoke 24 problematic RS National Assembly conclusions. Lajcak's hidden agenda was to demonstrate the EU's ability to take over from the Office of the High Representative and prove that Bonn Powers are not necessary. 
The EU came away with a ‘triumph’ that was not unsuccessful and certainly represents ‘peace in our time’. Rather than have Dodik travel to Sarajevo and meet Lady Ashton at the EU House, Ashton was forced to travel to Banja Luka and have a photo op in front of a large map of RS that shows Brcko belonging to RS. The meeting also took place with only RS flags present -- no B-H state flags. Dodik was accompanied by a large entourage of more than ten people. And after the meeting Dodik emerged triumphant in the RS media, touting victory.

A longtime pro-Serb activist in Washington, Obrad Kesic, hit the nail on the head when he described the outcome of the Ashton/Lajcak visit. ‘The agreement reached in Banja Luka presents a great achievement for RS. When I look at that agreement, I see three already recognizable results. First, the High Representative has been completely excluded, not only from the process of negotiation, but from all future actions… Secondly, this is the first time the RS has been given legitimacy by the EU when it comes to one of the more important state issues… Thirdly, this represents an affirmation of the political and legal status of RS, not only as a negotiator, but as a partner.’

The EU came away thinking that Dodik had committed to annulling the referendum by the end of this week. The EU also thought that Dodik would annul the RS assembly conclusions shortly thereafter. In exchange the EU had committed to send enlargement commissioner Fuhle to Banja Luka to negotiate with RS over the state courts and prosecutors.

Within only hours of the Dodik/Ashton meeting, RS assembly president Radojcic announced that he wouldn't call a special assembly session before the end of the month. Dodik then hinted that RS would only delay the referendum, and would wait until Fuhle arrived to see what those discussions produced. Only then would they consider annulling the referendum.

Today Dodik came out and made it official: no annulment of the referendum until they see what gifts Fuhle has to offer. Dodik's statement can be seen at:

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