Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic did not support a referendum in the Bosnian Serb entity but in no way wished to influence a change of the political positions of legitimately elected entity officials, electronic media said on Thursday after a meeting between top Serbian and entity officials in Belgrade.
"Serbia's prime minister and president neither wished to support nor influence the decision of the RS (Republika Srpska) authorities to hold the referendum. Prime Minister Vucic left the building," reported Serbian Radio-Television and the portals of the Blic and Kurir dailies.
In a joint press release, Nikolic and Vucic said that "Serbia, despite certain differences in viewing the situation in the region, will always support the Serb people, the citizens of Republika Srpka and its institutions."
Nikolic and Vucic met with Bosnian Presidency member Mladen Ivanic, RS President Milorad Dodik and RS PM Zeljka Cvijanovic.
Earlier today, Vucic told the press he regretted that Bosnian Serb political leaders had already adopted decisions on the referendum and made them public, contrary to agreements, and that a meeting in Belgrade "might be skipped" because of that.
"I don't breach the agreements we reach. I don't go public... I can't stand easy and popular solutions about which the people is enthusiastic," Vucic said ahead of the meeting about the contentious referendum.
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 referendum will not be allowed in the territory of Brcko District, which is a separate territorial unit within Bosnia and Herzegovina, US diplomat Bruce Berton, who is the international community's supervisor for Brcko, decided recently, sending the first concrete warning that the vote, which is considered to be a breach of the Dayton peace agreement, will not be tolerated.
In the referendum, residents in the Serb-dominated part of Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to vote on whether to recognise a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina that declared the marking of January 9 as the Serb entity's day as unconstitutional.