Analysis: Why would it be a Mistake for Christian Schmidt to meet with Dodik on Jahorina

After Milorad Dodik invited High Representative, Christian Schmidt to meet in Jahorina, in a form that would degrade not only the function of the High Representative but also the significance of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the question arises whether Schmidt will weaken his position at the first obstacle.

With the appointment of Schmidt, and especially after Valentin Inzko decided before the end of his term to amend the Criminal Code banning genocide denial, Dodik, among other things, intensified his rhetoric of attacks on the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and the function of High Representative, driven by the support of the Russia and China in the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

He is aware that his interpretation will not change the fact that Schmidt has been appointed and enjoys the support of almost all member states of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), so he is seeking contact with the new High Representative, but in a way that does not recognize him in that capacity.

If Schmidt had not been appointed, as Dodik claims, by an official meeting with him in the BiH Presidency, he would inevitably recognize his legitimacy. That is why he told on Wednesday in Belgrade that he could meet with Schmidt on Jahorina in a completely different format in the presence of opposition representatives. It was a change in his previous position that he would never meet with the High Representative.

“All of us, politicians from Republika Srpska (RS), will come and tell him that we can talk to him as with a former member of the German federal parliament and federal minister of agriculture,” Dodik stated.

The president of the SNSD is bargaining, trying to drag the high representative into the political mud in BiH, where he has dominated for years now.

The first meeting with Dodik in Jahorina would be not only to degrade the role of the Presidency, but also the function of the High Representative itself. There can be no compromise on the issue of Christian Schmidt’s legitimacy, and going to Jahorina would give importance to Dodik’s understanding of the role and position of the High Representative.

Schmidt’s agreement to meet with Dodik outside the institutions in a form that is inappropriate for his function would be a symbolic victory for the SNSD president and a message that, with the same approach, it is possible to negotiate even the existing decisions of previous high representatives in the future.

After all the messages that Dodik sent in the past days, rejecting Valentin Inzko’s decision in the RS National Assembly and refusing to come to a meeting with Schmidt in the Presidencythe High Representative’s acceptance of this invitation wouldshow that his authority is non-existent. In fact, Dodik crossed the red line a long time ago, and if the OHR does not show enough determination, we will soon enter into complete institutional anarchy.

Now Dodik needs any signal from the international community that his policy is yielding results, by which he would justify all previous moves, permanently destroy the opposition, and inevitably continue on the same political course of destruction.

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