Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, and the head of its ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, is attending a three-day Economic Forum in St Petersburg where he will meet President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Dodik’s office said.
According to Dodik’s latest statements, he will also use this meeting to inform Putin about what he describes as the West’s anti-Russian agenda in Bosnia.
“There is a serious pressure from Western countries led by the United States with the false idea that a negative Russian influence exists here [in Bosnia]. Of course, this negative Russian influence does not exist…they have [spent] 6 million dollars through the US Embassy [in Bosnia] to influence a reduction in Russian influence, plus 12 million dollars from US sources to support them with similar media in Republika Srpska,” Dodik told Sputniknews on Wednesday.
Dodik said he would inform Putin about the commitment of the Bosnian Serbs to military neutrality, and recall the decision of the Republika Srpska assembly on military neutrality, which said that no military alliance was acceptable for this Bosnian entity.
The Bosnian Serb assembly passed a largely symbolic resolution proclaiming its “military neutrality” as a perceived counterpoint to Bosnian moves to join NATO in October last year, as BIRN previously reported.
Dodik said the meeting in Russia should also include discussing expanding cooperation in different fields between Russia and Republika Srpska.
“I will inform Putin of our [Bosnian Serb] position, again, that Republika Srpska did not accept the sanctions imposed on Russia, regardless of the fact that the other part of Bosnia [the Federation entity], under the pressure of the West, wanted it,” Dodik explained.
The International Economic Forum will gather a record-breaking 15,000 guests and participants from more than 100 countries by Saturday, according to media reports.
Putin will open the plenary session together with French President Emanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In addition to the presidents of countries and governments, the Economic Forum will gather representatives of the diplomatic corps, financial and academic elites, and business communities from around the world.