Senior EU military official expresses support for Bosnian joint forces

The EU’s vocal support comes as Bosnian Serb secessionist leader Milorad Dodik threatens to recreate the Serbian army.

The European Union’s top military official expressed support for the unified Bosnian armed forces on Thursday, after Serbian leader Milorad Dodik threatened to withdraw the Serbian component of the forces and form an exclusively Serbian army inside Bosnia.

The formation of the country’s Joint Armed Forces (OSBiH), which incorporates Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian components who fought against each other in a war in the 1990s, has been hailed as the greatest achievement since the conflict, in which some were killed. 100,000 people.

The 1995 Dayton peace accords divided Bosnia along ethnic lines into two highly autonomous regions, the Serb-led Republika Srpska and the Federation shared by Croats and Bosnians, linked through a weak central government that has grown stronger. for years so that the state can be functional.

But Dodik, a Russian-backed Serbian secessionist leader dissatisfied with the rulings of international peace envoys and the constitutional court, has made clear that he wants to withdraw from state institutions, including the armed forces.

Claudio Graziano, chairman of the EU Military Committee, said his visit was aimed at showing the great importance that the 27-member bloc attaches to Bosnian unity.

“I bring a message from the 27 that there is support for the armed forces,” Graziano said at a news conference Thursday.

Senad Masovic, head of the OSBiH joint headquarters, said that the armed forces are the only legal and legitimate military force in the entire territory of Bosnia, according to the defense law passed by the national parliament.

“Anything else will be considered a paramilitary organization,” Masovic said.

Bosnian international peace envoy Christian Schmidt, addressing parliament regarding the continuing political crisis caused by the Serbian blockade of state institutions, said it was “unacceptable to undo the achievements of the last 26 years.”

Any unilateral destruction of state institutions would be a “very serious setback” for Bosnia, Schmidt said.

However, later on Thursday, Dodik confirmed in a press conference that the ruling SNSD party had adopted a conclusion on the start of the procedure to form a Bosnian Serb army, the Bosnian news website Istraga reported.

Emir Suljagic, director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center commented on Twitter that “Dodik is moving towards the reestablishment of the Bosnian Serb Army, the institution that the International Court of Justice found responsible for genocide in 2007.

“This is now a security crisis of the highest order. Peace in Bosnia is at stake. The time to talk is over ”.

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