Bosnian Serb officials dismiss call to abandon referendum

The most senior Bosnian Serb officials on Tuesday dismissed a call by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cancel a referendum scheduled for September 25.

The President of the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, said that he was absolutely not interested in PIC's positions.

"It certainly do not intend to preoccupy myself with PIC and their statements," Dodik said in the only statement, given to the entity news agency Srna, adding that he was busy celebrating the birth of his granddaughter.

Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic gave a slightly longer comment, saying that citizens' right to vote in referendums on issues of importance to them could not be questioned.

"PIC is the one that has been stifling democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina for years and it frequently prevents the country from starting to breath by using its both lungs. Together with the government in Sarajevo they have been remodeling Bosnia and Herzegovina's constitutional structure generally to the detriment of Republika Srpska,"  Cvijanovic said, but did not reveal what her government planned to do after the international community called on it to give up the referendum in which citizens would vote on whether or not rulings by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be respected by the Serb entity.

Regardless of the political conflicts between them, Dodik and Cvijanovic were joined by the Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective presidency, Mladen Ivanic, in the condemnation of PIC's position.

"PIC's condemnation of the referendum is not wise because it reveals one-sidedness," Ivanic told the on-line edition of the Nezavisne Novine daily.

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