The most influential Western countries and Turkey are against the referendum the Bosnian Serb authorities have set for September 25 in order to challenge the jurisdiction of judicial institutions at the state level, but there is still no decision on a possible ban or sanctions, which are resolutely opposed by Russia, according to conclusions adopted by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a session in Sarajevo on Tuesday.  

The PIC Steering Board convened at the level of its member-countries' ambassadors to discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and possible measures to be taken to prevent the referendum in the Serb entity that attempts to challenge the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After two and a half hours of discussion, the PIC Steering Board adopted a statement which explicitly warns that holding the referendum would constitute a breach of the Dayton peace agreement just as repeated acts and statements by Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik and the Serb entity parliament challenging the jurisdiction of the state-level judicial institutions have.

"No referendum can change the final and binding nature of decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court. The decision of the BiH Constitutional Court will remain fully in force and must be respected, as required by the GFAP (General Framework Agreement for Peace)," the PIC Steering Board said in the statement.

The PIC Steering Board left the door partially open to an intervention by the international community's High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, underlining that he is  "the final authority on the interpretation of the civilian aspects of the GFAP."

At the current stage, the PIC Steering Board has decided to call on all institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina "to resolve this issue through the established legal processes and the existing constitutional framework, and through constructive dialogue."

It recalls that there are pending proceedings before the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina launched by members of state-level institutions to assess if the Serb entity parliament's decision to hold the referendum is in line with the country's constitution, as well as proceedings launched by the Serb entity parliament to review the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declaring the commemoration of January 9 as the entity day unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is now expected to take a final position by September 25 and put an end to the current crisis.

PIC calls on all sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina to refrain from "reactive measures and divisive rhetoric".

It expresses regret over secessionist rhetoric and reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity and fundamental structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, sovereign state comprising two entities, which have no right to secede.

"We will not tolerate any violation of the GFAP, including but not limited to attempts at secession. There will be no redrawing of the map of BiH," the PIC Steering Board says.

Russian Ambassador Petr Ivantsov was the first to leave the PIC Steering Board meeting. He confirmed to reporters that his position differed to that of the other members of the PIC Steering Board, namely Russia did not give its consent for a statement "that only threatens and condemns."

The Russian ambassador shifted the blame for the tension and political crisis in the country, caused by plans for the September 25 referendum, to the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina which last year ruled that the Serb entity's decision to mark January 9 as Republika Srpska Day was unconstitutional.

I believe that the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina should have been more prudent given the laws and current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivantsov said, thus indirectly confirming that Russia continued to support the Serb entity in its attempt to hold the referendum challenging binding court rulings.

Related stories

EU rep in Bosnia says Serb entity referendum unnecessary

Bosnian Serb officials dismiss call to abandon referendum

Bosniaks in Serb entity urged not to vote in referendum

Croatia considers RS referendum unacceptable

Bosnian Serbs vote in referendum for disputed entity holiday

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.