Bosnian leader Izetbegovic slams referendum

Critics of the referendum have said that it is stoking ethnic tension and is bolstering separatist sentiment within the Bosnian Serb ministate

Bosnian leader Izetbegovic slams referendum

World Bulletin / News Desk

Bosnian Muslim leader Bakir Izetbegovic reacted angrily on Sunday night to the Bosnian Serb referendum.

"This is a blatant exempt of a breach of the Dayton agreement, of obstructing decisions by the Constitutional Court, of violating the penal code," he said.

"The only question is when there will be a reaction to this and the form it will take," he said, without elaborating.

Izetbegovic had earlier accused Dodik of "playing with fire", and a wartime commander of Bosnian Muslim forces, Sefer Halilovic, accused him of "crossing the red line".

On September 17, Bosnia's Sarajevo-based Constitutional Court banned the referendum, ruling that the January 9 holiday illegally discriminates against Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats.

Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Muslim member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, had warned that holding the referendum in defiance of the Constitutional Court could lead to "an adventure" in which "things could slip out of control."

 "In the past, Serbs have seen the results of such actions. They will eventually they will fall on their backs. " said.

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo has said there would be unspecified "consequences" if the September 25 vote was not canceled.

Russian support

The Peace Implementation Council, an international body that oversees the Dayton accords, also had urged the Bosnian Serbs to cancel the referendum.

It said in a statement that Bosnia's borders will not be redrawn and it called on all sides "to refrain from reactive measures and divisive rhetoric."

But Russia, one of the council members and a traditional supporter of Orthodox Slavic Serbs, had distanced itself from the statement.

The Russian ambassador to Bosnia has publicly supported the September 25 referendum and called it an act of democracy.

source:AFP/RFE/RL

But some commentators say a conflict is unlikely and suggest a crisis is being stoked to boost nationalists' chances in upcoming local elections.

 

 

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