SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in contrast the insurance policies of the Bosnia Serb separatist chief to these of Russian President Vladimir Putin following his strikes to curb dissent and LGBTQ rights.
Blinken tweeted late Wednesday that “Milorad Dodik’s assaults on fundamental rights and freedoms in Republika Srpska present he’s on President Putin’s authoritarian path.”
Republika Srpska is the title for the half of Bosnia that’s dominated by the nation’s Serbs. Dodik is the entity’s president and main politician who has repeatedly advocated for the breakup of Bosnia and clashed with Western officers within the Balkan nation.
Earlier this month, Dodik’s authorities confronted criticism from the U.S. and the European Union for pushing ahead with a legislation to recriminalize libel and insult offences, which was seen as an assault on the liberty of expression and unbiased media.
Dodik additionally introduced a legislation within the upcoming months to ban entry for LGBTQ activists to kindergartens, colleges and universities. This got here solely days after a gaggle of hooligans attacked LGBTQ activists and journalists in Banja Luka, Republika Srpska’s administrative middle.
Dodik, who’s staunchly pro-Russia, has rejected Western criticism and mentioned his entity would break off relations with the U.S. and British embassies in Bosnia. He has dismissed the necessity for U.S. help and blasted Washington’s engagement in Bosnia, together with continued monetary backing.
“It might have been higher in the event that they (U.S.) hadn’t given a single greenback, in the event that they hadn’t gotten so concerned,” he tweeted on Thursday.
Washington and London have imposed sanctions on Dodik and his shut associates for his insurance policies of undermining Western efforts to advertise reconciliation and democracy in Bosnia following the devastating ethnic battle. Dodik has traveled typically to Moscow and met with Putin there.
Blinken mentioned that the U.S. “represented by Amb. (Michael) Murphy, continues to advocate for the democratic and affluent future that each one residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina deserve.”
Bosnia’s 1992-95 ethnic battle erupted when Serbs launched a rise up to interrupt away from the nation’s Bosniaks, who’re primarily Muslims, and Croats. Greater than 100,000 folks died within the battle earlier than the U.S. brokered a peace settlement in 1995.
The deal divided Bosnia in two entities however saved them collectively by joint establishments. Fears have grown because the battle in Ukraine that Russia may search to stir hassle in Bosnia and elsewhere within the Balkans to avert consideration from its full-scale invasion.