Aleksandar Vučić, Milorad Dodik republika srpska, bosna srbija.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Tanjug/ Marko ĐOKOVIĆ/ ik

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in Bosanski Samac, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Saturday that his government respected BiH's territorial integrity but announced the further strengthening of the special relations with BiH's Serb entity, Republika Srpska, whose President, Milorad Dodik, said the BiH with its current powers was not acceptable to the entity authorities, only the one as defined by the Dayton peace agreement.

In Bosanski Samac, Vucic and Dodik opened a rebuilt elementary school which the Serbian government financed with EUR 500,000. The ceremony was held without any BiH insignia, with the intoning of the Serbian anthem. The country in which this happened was barely mentioned, only in a political context during Vucic's and Dodik's speeches.

Vucic said that since he was Serbia's PM, a new period began in the unity of Serbs on both sides of the Drina river. "That's very important for our people," he said, adding that Serbia would "always be there" for Republika Srpska. He said this meant strengthening bilateral relations and bigger financial support from Serbia based on an agreement on special relations with the entity.

The Dayton peace agreement allows such relations, provided that Croatia maintain them with BiH's other entity, the Croat-Bosniak Federation. Croatia abandoned such relations a long time ago and its Foreign Minister, Miro Kovac, said in Sarajevo yesterday that Croatia's government would strengthen relations with BiH's Council of Ministers.

Vucic said he was aware of Republika Srpska's disputing of BiH but added that Serbia would continue to acknowledge BiH's territorial integrity.

Dodik said the Republika Srpska authorities did not dispute BiH's territorial integrity but that they could not accept a state with powers stemming from decisions imposed by international community high representatives. He again criticised the BiH State Court and State Prosecutor's Office, saying that more than 400 Serbs were arrested on their warrants over the past year on suspicion of war crimes.

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