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Lavrov warns against revision of Dayton Agreement

September 13, 2014, 16:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, September 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Saturday against attempts to revise the Dayton Agreement which ensure the integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“It would be very dangerous to revise the Dayton Agreement as Bosnia-Herzegovina (BH) exists as a single state largely owing to this document,” Lavrov told TV Tsentr’s Pravo Znat programme /The Right to Know/.

“There is a very complicated formula: three state-forming peoples /Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats/ and two entities, as they are referred to in the Agreement - the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. Neither Croats nor Bosniaks have their own entity for they share it while being two state-forming peoples along with a third one, the Serbs. This formula largely reflected history, but also the Europeans’ desire not to leave the Muslims - Bosniaks - alone as this is a very narrow strip of land,” he said.

The Dayton Agreement gives each of the three ethnic groups the right of veto within Bosnia-Herzegovina’s political system.

“If it is broken now, this will create a temptation to turn Bosnia-Herzegovina into a unitary state. These tendencies can be seen now, including in the European Union’s position. They are displeased by the fact that the Serbs have a voice, which must be heeded when crucial decisions are made, including those concerning accession to international organisations such as NATO, and they do not want to infringe upon the rights of the Muslims who they think must be the main ethnic group embodying the Bosnian state. This won’t work,” Lavrov said.

He admitted that the system of government in Bosnia-Herzegovina is “very complex”. “The presidium is made up for three persons: a Bosniak, a Croat and a Serb. They communicate with each other but run into lots of political problems. The EU supreme representative plays a harmful role as he possesses dictatorial powers, which should have been abolished a long time ago. If the EU supported Bosnia-Herzegovina’s election as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, it would be absurd to leave it under protectorate,” the minister said.

“We think these powers must be removed so that the Bosnians could work out agreements themselves, primarily where it concerns common interests to avoid situations, where they would be pushed into structures or partnerships that are unacceptable for one of the tree state-forming ethnic groups,” Lavrov said.

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