What is behind Dodik's call for an agreement on special ties with Montenegro: How strange is the spelling of "Serbian world"

Mandić was the only one of the highest state officials to meet with the President of the RS, who said that "the Serbian world is a phenomenal idea." Analyst Tanja Topić from Banjaluka says that this concept is very dangerous and contributes to the further collapse of relations between neighbors. Some ruling parties kept silent about Dodik's messages, the opposition harshly criticized him, saying that he was insulting Montenegro.

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They claim that the agreement would not harm the citizens of Montenegro and RS: Mandić and Dodik, Photo: Boris Pejović
They claim that the agreement would not harm the citizens of Montenegro and RS: Mandić and Dodik, Photo: Boris Pejović
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

It is obvious that a campaign of open advocacy of the "Serbian world" has been launched, which many rightly see as a vampirization of the concept of "greater Serbia".

These are the words of the analyst of the "Fridrich Ebert" Foundation from Banja Luka Tanja Topic commented on yesterday's arrival of the President of Republika Srpska (RS) Milorad Dodik in Podgorica, his offer of an agreement on special relations between the RS and Montenegro, and the message that the "Serbian world" project is a "phenomenal idea".

In the capital of Montenegro, Dodik met only with the head of the Assembly Andrija Mandić. Unusually, the Montenegrin parliament did not send a press release about their meeting to the media, nor was there any news about it on the legislative chamber's website.

Dodik and Mandić
Dodik and Mandićphoto: Boris Pejović

It is still unclear who invited Dodik to visit. The leader of the RS, who is under the sanctions of the United States of America (USA), cultivates close relations with Russia Vladimir Putin, which, along with Belarus, he officially visited two days ago.

His arrival and position on the agreement with the RS silenced the rest of the state leadership (Presidents of the State and Government) and part of the ruling parties, while the opposition strongly criticized it, judging that it was an insult to Montenegro.

Dodik said that it is an agreement on cooperation in the fields of economy, sports, education and culture and that it is in accordance with the Dayton Agreement.

Mandić announced that he will open a dialogue with representatives of the government and the opposition on the proposed agreement.

"The RS wants to build relations with Montenegro, which wants to have good relations with the RS. This is not to the detriment of any citizen... And in '95. year, when the war ended and the agreement was signed, the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) existed. "Serbia is the successor of the FRY, but Montenegro had equal obligations," Mandic stated at a press conference in the parliament, adding that such a document was refused to be signed by the former Montenegrin government.

Neither Mandić's nor Dodik's jurisdiction is concerned with concluding interstate agreements, which are signed by governments and some ratified by parliaments.

Tanja Topić assesses that the Republika Srpska, according to the Dayton Agreement, signed the Agreement on Special Parallel Relations with the FRY, which was later transferred to Serbia, so, she says, drawing theses about the right to conclude the same document with Montenegro "is far-fetched and represents an elevated political temperature not only in BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina), but also in the region".

"Quickly, the nature of those ties from economic, cultural and sports is transferred to the political field, which Dayton does not allow in any form," the interlocutor underlines.

According to the Dayton Agreement, the entities of BiH (RS and the Federation of BiH) have the right to establish special parallel relations with neighboring countries in accordance with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that state.

The first agreement on special parallel connections between RS and FRY, of which Montenegro was a constitutive part, was concluded in 1997. After the dissolution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (SCG), Montenegro remains outside these institutional ties with the RS, while Serbia concludes a new agreement on special and parallel ties on September 26, 2006, based on the Dayton Agreement. As explained at the time, the agreement was signed for the purpose of developing cooperation between the RS and Serbia in the areas of economy and use of economic resources, planning, privatization and denationalization, science and technology, education, culture and sports, health and social policy, tourism and environmental protection. .

In 2008, as Prime Minister of the RS, Dodik proposed in a meeting with his then Montenegrin colleague Milo Đukanović in Podgorica for the two governments to sign an agreement on special ties. However, this did not happen.

Dodik said yesterday that the RS has the right to special relations with its neighbors through the Dayton Agreement, and that is why they want to cooperate with Montenegro.

"We believe that there is no reason for Montenegro not to accept it... It is nothing against BiH, but this is an agreement in the fields of economy, infrastructure, sports, education, science, culture - everything that represents normal communication between communities, states and nations", he declared, adding that the agreement would bother "some in Sarajevo".

Dodik and Mandić
Dodik and Mandićphoto: Boris Pejović

Most of the parliamentary parties did not respond to "Vijesti" when asked whether they would support the adoption of such an agreement.

Spokesman for the Democrats Mitar Paunović he told "Vijesti" that the messages heard from Dodik, the timing of his visit and "the destinations that preceded the visit to Montenegro" confirmed that his visit was "absolutely unnecessary".

"When it comes to initiatives and agreements, we are not familiar with them, but everything that is not in accordance with the Constitution of BiH, the Dayton Agreement and the decisions of the state authorities of BiH cannot and will not have our support," he said.

Spokesperson of the Democratic People's Party (DNP) Jovana Todorović, she told "Vijesti" that they see nothing objectionable in Dodik's initiative.

"Especially if we want to promote regional partnerships. All the more so since this agreement proposal in no way calls into question the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the contrary, the values ​​of the Dayton Peace Agreement are only further affirmed".

She stated that, if the proposal is on the parliamentary debate, the DNP will vote for its adoption, because, she says, there is no segment in it that calls into question the statehood of Montenegro and its national interests.

The Europe Now Movement (PES), the Socialist People's Party, the Citizens' Movement URA did not comment on the agreement and the messages that Dodik sent yesterday... Neither did the Cabinets of the President of the State and the Government. Jakov Milatović i Milojko Spajić.

In addition to the agreement on special ties, Dodik yesterday also spoke about the "Serbian World" project, which he said was a "phenomenal idea", that no one should have anything against "Serbs organizing themselves, expressing themselves, building schools, they go to church...", and that those things should not offend anyone.

"I invite all people of Serbian nationality, wherever they are, to devote themselves to the elements of our national identity. This identity is not directed against anyone, neither Montenegrins, nor Croats... We have the right to express our peculiarities, just like the French, Germans and all nations", he stated.

Topić assessed that it was obvious that a campaign of open advocacy of the "Serbian world" had been launched, which, according to her, represents a "phenomenal idea" for a part of politicians, primarily "advocates", while for a good second part, primarily critics, it represents "vampirization of the concept of Greater Serbia".

"I think that this concept is very dangerous and contributes to the further collapse of neighborly relations in the region. The big projects discussed today by Mandić and Dodik can only be reduced to the relations between the two states, BiH and Montenegro, not to the inter-Serbian issue. It is a concept that drags both countries deep into the 19th century, even though the world is well into the 21st century," the interviewee said.

Dodik's messages were criticized by the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Social Democrats (SD) and Bosniak Party (BS), saying that Mandić and Dodik are working on the realization of a "Serbian world" and Montenegro's setback in negotiations with the EU.

Mandić and Dodik
Mandić and Dodikphoto: Boris Pejović

The DPS announced that "the official reception of this declared denier of the genocide in Srebrenica, who is a proven denier of the state of Montenegro, for whom, by his own admission, the Montenegrin language was invented", is an insult to both the Montenegrin people and civil Montenegro . They state that "this kind of diplomatic activity" is in contradiction with the European path of the state and the continuation of EU integration.

The DPS presidency decided last night that the party would launch an initiative to dismiss Mandić. One of the reasons for such a decision is, as told to "Vijesti", yesterday's meeting of the head of the Assembly with Dodik.

The Social Democrats said that Mandić and Dodik "work very dedicatedly on the realization of the 'Serbian world'".

"This idea, which promotes, among other things, the change of borders in the region, is so 'phenomenal' that it irresistibly reminds us of the introduction to the events of the 1990s," they added.

Letter from BS Kenana Strujić Harbić, announced that "the secessionist policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the protagonists of that policy and the promoters and proxies of the Russian policy must not have the support of official Montenegro."

"Because it is not in line with the image of Montenegro as a European country, with the obligations of Montenegro's NATO membership, and especially not in line with the Dalai Lama's image of the President of the Assembly".

Yesterday, Mandić also talked with Dodik about the economy, the Buk Bijela hydroelectric power plant, Bilećko Lake, issues that, like the agreement on special ties, are not within their competence.

Three fingers for the protesters

A group of citizens gathered yesterday not far from the Assembly as a sign of protest against Dodik's arrival in Podgorica.

They had displayed banners with the following messages: "Yes, Bosnia and Herzegovina is eternal", "Putin's followers are not welcome", "For integral and indivisible BiH", "Dodik is not the way to Europe", "We will not have a Republika Srpska in Montenegro", " Srebrenica is genocide", "Strepci 27.02.1993", "Hands away from changing borders"...

From the protest
From the protestphoto: Boris Pejović

In addition to this, a banner with offensive content was displayed: "A gray falcon, not a coward, a Montenegrin, not a Serb."

One of the participants in the protest, journalist Tanja Pavićević, said that people were killed in Štrpci yesterday, and that with Dodik's visit, Montenegro is "killing them again".

"We don't give support to criminals, let's see who gives them support," she stated.

When Dodik and his entourage appeared in front of the parliament building, the demonstrators chanted "fascists, fascists", to which he responded by raising three fingers in their direction.

Mandić and Dodik "didn't know" that yesterday was the anniversary of the crime in Štrpci

Answering a journalist's question to comment on the fact that Dodik's visit was scheduled on the anniversary of the crime in Štrpci, Mandic said that it had nothing to do with the crime and that they didn't even know it coincided.

"We condemn every crime, especially in Štrpci. It is one of the most disgusting crimes," he said.

Dodik added that some perpetrators of that crime have already been brought to justice, and that those who haven't should be prosecuted.

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