With separatism gaining ground among Serb leaders in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a conservative movement in neighboring Serbia is fanning the flames, denouncing the international high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina as an "occupier."
The current separatist push in Bosnia-Herzegovina began last year when ethnic Serb lawmakers disagreed with moves by the former high representative, and the conservative Nashi movement in Serbia is apparently taking up the separatist flag.
Nashi on Friday pasted the center of the Serbian capital Belgrade with posters blasting Christian Schmidt, the new high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a multi-ethnic nation which includes Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.
The posters also said that Schmidt should keep his "hands off" the Serbian-dominated Republika Srpska, one of the two entities in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Nashi also accused Schmidt of seeking to overthrow Milorad Dodik, the ethnic Serb member of the three-member presidential council of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"We will continue to take action for the protection of the Republika Srpska," said a Nashi statement.
High representative oversees peace agreement
Established with the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Office of the High Representative oversees the implementation of the peace agreement in the Balkan country on behalf of the international community. The high representative also coordinates the activities of international institutions operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The high representative annually reports to the UN on developments and problems in Bosnia, has broad powers, including being able to dismiss people who interfere with the implementation of peace in the country, including members of the presidential council, and can also enact laws in case of need.
Political dispute in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently embroiled in a political conflict between Bosniaks and Serbs living in the country.
The dispute erupted after Valentin Inzko, then high representative, amended the criminal code in July to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.
Bosnian Serb lawmakers in response said they would boycott the country's institutions.
Dodik denounced the amendments and pushed for controversial separatist moves in the Republika Srpska parliament.
The steps have been criticized internationally for violating the 1995 Dayton Accords and undermining the country's Constitution.