Slovenia’s Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry to explain recent rumors about Ljubljana’s alleged plans for the dissolution of the host country and the redistribution of borders across the Western Balkans.
Bosnian media reported on Monday (April 12th) that Ambassador Zorica Bukinac was summoned due to an unofficial document that Slovenian Prime Minister Janez JanÅ¡a allegedly sent to the EU regarding border changes in the Western Balkans, which JanÅ¡a has already denied.
As a result of the Yugoslav wars of 1991-95 and American mediation, Bosnia and Herzegovina became a federation divided into two entities enjoying considerable independence: the Bosnian-Croatian Federation and the Republika Srpska.
Each has its own government, legislature and police force, but the two are united in a central government and a rotating presidency of three people held equally by a Bosnian, a Croat and a Serb.
Å½eljko KomÅ¡iÄ, member of the Croatian Presidency, confirmed to local media on Monday that Slovenian President Borut Pahor asked in an informal conversation during an official visit on March 5 if “a peaceful separation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible” , referring to the secession of Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb entity, RS).
âRecently there have been more and more voices in Europe saying that the disintegration of Yugoslavia should be completed. Can you peacefully dissolve in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Would be the question that Pahor put to members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, Å efik DÅ¾aferoviÄ and Å½eljko KomÅ¡iÄ.
The latter said that he and DÅ¾aferoviÄ, the Bosnian member, replied that it was not possible, while the Serbian member Dodik gave the opposite answer.
âPresident Pahor regularly warns against the idea of ââthe disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the redefinition of borders in the Western Balkans. In this context, concerned by these ideas, he asked this question to his interlocutors, all three members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during his visit to Sarajevo at the beginning of March â, announced the office of Pahor.
Almost simultaneously, the media reported that JanÅ¡a had handed over an unofficial document to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, containing the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency, which included guidelines on the “final disintegration of Yugoslavia”.
The disintegration involves border changes and considers among other things the possibility of secession of the RS entity from Bosnia, as well as the redistribution of the borders in Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania.
JanÅ¡a, whose country takes over the EU presidency on July 1, has denied all allegations. Michel’s press office has yet to confirm the existence of the Slovenian non-paper over the Western Balkans, which, according to unofficial reports, was handed over last fall.
Michel spokesman Barend Leyts said on Monday that he could not confirm that the Council had received such a non-paper and that he would check further.
But Slovenia’s 24ur.com reported that “sources have confirmed to us for several days that there is a strong possibility that this secret document exists, but that it was sent completely outside established diplomatic channels.”
âWe also learned that he was not even seen by senior Slovenian representatives in Brussels. Our sources even claim that the document also deals with the return to the country of former North Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, âthe Slovenian website said.
Gruevski was convicted of abuse of power in his country in 2018, but fled to Hungary. JanÅ¡a is an admirer of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor OrbÃ¡n, who granted asylum to Gruevski. All three represent political forces affiliated with the European People’s Party (EPP).
Croatian news agency Hina recalled that Milorad Dodik said during a session of the RS parliament on March 10 that European politicians are now talking openly about the possibility of a peaceful break in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and announced that he would personally call for a referendum on the status of the RS. “In a year or two”.
The largest Bosnian party, the Democratic Action Party (SDA), responded by saying that “EU politicians who might wish to defend the theme of ‘peaceful separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’ from Changing borders in the Western Balkans should be aware that this will never happen, and the only consequence could be wars in the region and a chain reaction across Europe. “
[Edited by Georgi Gotev]