The US president apparently sent greetings to Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik on a Muslim holiday he doesn’t celebrate
US President Joe Biden congratulated Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik on a holiday his people boycott. Arguing that only Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Muslim population celebrate Statehood Day, Dodik accused Biden of attempting to humiliate his people.
Speaking at a press conference in Belgrade, Dodik accused Biden of stoking division within Bosnia and Herzegovina by sending greetings to the country ahead of its Statehood Day on November 25.
“I don’t know what I would call it and all the employees of the US embassy know that November 25 is not a holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he said, according to local media. Dodik added that he viewed Biden’s message as an attempt to humiliate Bosnian Serbs, as only Bosnian Muslims celebrate the day.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, often shortened to BiH, is made up of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska. The former is more than two-thirds Bosnian Muslim, with Croats accounting for 20% of the population and Serbs a minority at 2.5%. The latter is more than 82% Serbian.
Power in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is shared by a representative of each ethnic group, while Dodik was elected President of Republika Srpska earlier this month.
Addressed to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three leaders, Biden’s letter called on BiH’s leaders to “put aside their differences and work to build a better future.” The letter urged them to clamp down on corruption and align themselves with “the Euro-Atlantic community of nations,” N1, a Balkan news agency, reported.
Statehood Day marks the decision of the Bosnian National Anti-Fascist Council (ZAVNOBiH) in 1943 to declare BiH a future federal unit within the socialist Federation of Yugoslavia. It became the national holiday in modern BiH as laws passed over from the former federal state under the US-brokered Dayton Agreement, although Republika Srpska and Serbian leaders within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina never recognized the occasion.
“27 years since the end of the [1992-1995] war is enough time for the American representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn this and finally inform their government and the service that deals with sending congratulations on behalf of the US president,” Dodik declared at Thursday’s press conference.