Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik on Wednesday lashed out at the US Ambassador in Sarajevo, Maureen Cormack, saying that she was the only one to blame for his being placed on the US black list of persons responsible for violating the Dayton peace agreement.
Addressing a press conference in his Banja Luka office, Dodik read out a statement after which he did not allow questions from the press, saying that the sanctions imposed on him were an act of revenge by the outgoing administration. He said he was confident that things would change as soon as President-elect Donald Trump took office.
"I feel proud because I did not want to trade with the interests of Republika Srpska," Dodik said, stressing that he was not at all personally affected by being included on the list of sanctioned persons subject to an asset freeze. "They know perfectly well that I have no assets in the US."
Dodik said that the only foreign country in which he had a bank account was Serbia, but that he did not regard it as a foreign country.
He said that US government officials had been threatening him for years, exerting pressure on him to agree to various reforms such as integration of the police forces, constitutional changes and abolition of the Republika Srpska Day, which he rejected. He said that those had been "arrogant strikes by the outgoing administration" which had all along pursued "a pro-Bosniak, unitary and anti-Serb policy".
"These sanctions have been imposed by those who were defeated in elections in the US," Dodik said.
He insisted that he respected the Dayton agreement, which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and blamed the crisis in the country on Ambassador Cormack and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brian Hoyt Yee, describing them as "frustrated characters" who made Bosnia and Herzegovina "a monster incapable of surviving".
"This is personal retaliation by Mrs Cormack," Dodik said, adding that the US ambassador had been "disinformed" by Bosnian Muslims working in large numbers at the US Embassy in Sarajevo. He called the US ambassador a proven enemy of the Serbs and Republika Srpska.
"She is a persona non grata in Republika Srpska and I demand that Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak declare her a persona non grata in Bosnia and Herzegovina," Dodik said.
He went on to say that he expected the Trump administration to urgently withdraw Ambassador Cormack from Bosnia and Herzegovina and to prosecute her for interfering in Bosnia and Herzegovina's internal affairs and sending false reports to the US State Department.
Dodik resolutely dismissed suggestions that he should resign, stressing that from now on he would advocate his views with even greater determination. He said that he expected support from Washington, that he had confidence in the Trump administration and expected it to pursue a new policy and send a new ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as possible.
Dodik was alluding to Trump's call to all politically appointed US ambassadors to resign by January 20, which, however, does not apply to Ambassador Cormack who is a career diplomat.