The UN Security Council has extended the mandate of the EUFOR-Althea peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 3, following a diplomatic battle between Russia and its Western permanent members.
Russia was able to impose a request on the US, UK and France to remove from the resolution any mention of the Office of the High Representative, who is responsible for implementing the civilian aspects of the Dayton peace agreement, which in 1995 gave an end to the Bosnian War after more than 100,000 people were killed in just 3 years.
EUFOR-Althea is mandated to implement the military aspects of the same agreement.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is composed of two entities: Republika Srpska governed by Serbs of Bosnia, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina governed by Bosniaks and Croats.
Milorak Dodik, the leader of Bosnian Serbs, has repeatedly threatened to dissolve Bosnia and Herzegovina by declaring Republika Srpska an independent state.
When the former High Representative, Valentin Inzko banned genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dodik, who denies the Srebrenica Genocide, threatened with the country’s dissolution. In addition, Serbs blocked the work by boycotting all major institutions.
When Christian Schmidt replaced Valentin Inzko in August, Dodik refused to recognize his authority and called for the post to be abolished.
Last week, Dodik announced his plan to recreate the Republika Srpska army, who was responsible for the Srebrenica Genocide, as well as for the killing of most of the 100,000 war victims. It is feared that such a move could trigger another armed conflict and Bosnia’s dissolution.
On Wednesday, Russia vetoed the mentioning of High Representative Christian Schmidt and his damning report on Bosnian Serbs’ plans and threats, which marks a victory for Dodik, and puts at risk the future of Bosnia.
Russia does not recognize Schimdt in this position, claiming that he was appointed “in violation of the established practice” and insisting that the post is still vacant.
Serbia and Republika Sprska’s ally Russia accused Schmidt of “demonizing” Serbs in his “extremely biased and anti-Serb document aimed at destroying the glimmer of peace and cooperation among people in Bosnia.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro all have Serb minorities that are politically controlled by Serbia and highly influenced by Russia. Any conflict involving Serbs in any of these countries could easily spill over the whole Western Balkan region.