Bosnia and Hercegovina politics: Quick View - RS president sanctioned by US Treasury Department

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis
Political Geography
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Event

On January 17th the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) confirmed that it had imposed sanctions on Milorad Dodik, the president of the majority Bosnian Serb entity of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), Republic Srpska (RS), for defying the BiH Constitutional Court, obstructing the Dayton accords and threatening the territorial integrity of BiH.

Analysis

The sanctions freeze Mr Dodik's financial assets and property in the US and prohibit US citizens from doing business with him. They do not include a travel ban, although Mr Dodik was recently twice denied a US visa (he was planning to attend a ceremony following the inauguration of the US president-elect, Donald Trump). US officials stressed that the sanctions were targeted only at Mr Dodik and did not affect BiH or the RS.

At a press conference on January 18th Mr Dodik mocked the sanctions, saying he has no assets in the US, and that he felt "proud" for resisting US pressure to accept reforms that would weaken the RS and strengthen BiH. Mr Dodik also accused the outgoing US administration of favouring Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and being anti-Serb. He said that he expects a different approach from and much better co-operation with the Trump administration.

Mr Dodik added that the US ambassador to BiH, Maureen Cormack, was a "proven enemy" of the RS and Bosnian Serbs, who often sided with Bosniak interests. He added that she was no longer welcome in the RS and said that he expected her to be prosecuted in the US for interfering in the business of other countries. Mr Dodik also thanked the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who at his annual press conference on January 17th said that the RS was not undermining the Dayton accords.

Mr Dodik's defiance of the outgoing US administration is indicative of the waning of US influence in BiH in recent years. It also shows the uncertainty surrounding the approach that Mr Trump's administration and NATO will take in the Balkans and whether Russia will increase its influence in the region.

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