Bosnian Serb PM brands new British foreign secretary 'a bully'

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik on Tuesday branded new British Foreign Secretary William Hague a "bully" after he said the EU needed a more muscular approach to Bosnia.

"Bosnia has its structure and it can function. We don't need bullies who are trying to solve things with muscles," Dodik said quoted by the Bosnian Serb SRNA news agency.

The Bosnian Serb leader was reacting to Hague's recent article for the Europe's World magazine, a Brussels-based policy magazine.

In the article, Hague argued that the European Union's credibility in foreign affairs depended of the effectiveness of its policy in the Western Balkans region.

"In Bosnia in particular, there is a need for a more muscular and demanding European policy which should be capable of using sticks as well as carrots," Hague wrote.

"There is a strong argument for the threat of targeted sanctions against politicians who undermine the Bosnian state."

Dodik, known for his stubborn opposition against attempts to strenghthen Bosnia's central government, said Hague was "being a bully" adding that foreigners were "interfering a lot" in Bosnia's internal issues, SRNA reported.

"Here things should be solved through a compromise within Bosnia-Hercegovina. We are for a compromise and agreement but we reject any muscles," he emphasised.

Since the 1992-1995 war Bosnia consists of two semi-independent entities -- the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. The two are linked by weak central institutions while each has its own government.

The former Yugoslav republic signed in 2008 an association deal with the EU, seen as the first step towards membership in the 27-nation bloc.

But due to the failure of its leaders to adopt reforms sought by Brussels, aimed notably at the strengthening of joint institutions to make the country more functional, Bosnia's progress on the EU path has been slow.

In his article, Hague also warned that Brussels should not allow Bosnia to disintegrate warning that the consequences would be "catastrophic".

"The breakdown of the country into independent ethnic statelets would not only reward ethnic cleansing -- surely a moral anathema-- but would also risk the creation of a failed state in the heart of Europe," he said.

Dodik has repeatedly suggested that Bosnian Serbs could hold a referendum about secession from Bosnia to form its own state.

© 2010 AFP

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