Tadic opens school in Bosnian Serb wartime stronghold

18th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The move is seen as a public show of strong ties between Serbia and the Serb-run half of Bosnia -- Republika Srpska -- at the time when ethnically divided Bosnia is facing a deep political crisis.

Pale -- Serbian President Boris Tadic have officially opened an elementary school named 'Serbia' in the Bosnian Serb wartime stronghold of Pale.

The move is seen as a public show of strong ties between Serbia and the Serb-run half of Bosnia -- Republika Srpska -- at the time when ethnically divided Bosnia is facing a deep political crisis.

Tadic, who received ovations by local Serbs attending a ceremony last month, said that "Serbia has a responsibility (for Serbs) wherever our people live."

The two million euro (2.9 million dollar) cost of building the school has been met by Republika Srpska while Tadic pledged that the Serb government in Belgrade would provide additional funds for an on-site gymnasium.

Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik also attended the ceremony.

Republika Srpska along with the Muslim-Croat Federation makes up Bosnia since its 1992-1995 war. The two entities share weak central institutions, but each has its own government.

The war, that left at least 100,000 people dead, was triggered by Croat and Muslim declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia, a move opposed by Belgrade-backed Bosnian Serbs.

Ethnic tensions in Bosnia have been growing since 2006 when political leaders renewed their nationalistic rhetoric.

The divisions are centered over the issue of how to organise the country, with Serbs insisting on retaining autonomy while Muslims and Croats favour stronger central institutions.

"Relations between Belgrade and Sarajevo have been weak, but I expect that they are going to improve," Tadic said on Tuesday adding he planned to visit the capital by the end of the year.

AFP/Expatica

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