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BANJALUKA, December 6 /SRNA/ - BiH Presidency Chair Milorad Dodik stated Thursday the Presidency can operate in full capacity provided that the flag of Republika Srpska is displayed in all the meetings he attends, and if not, there won’t be any Presidency meetings.


"I didn’t go there to receive a salary and be a decoration. The practice of turning Serb members in various bodies into decorations will be stopped. I don’t challenge the flag of BiH, but the flag of Republika Srpska must be displayed wherever I am present,” Dodik told the press after a meeting with Srpska President Zeljka Cvijanovic in Banjaluka.

Srpska representatives want to be active participants of policies adopted at the BiH State level, he said.

"The Presidency has been deprived of its power with the imposed decisions of the High Representative and brought into the position of the British Queen, even though the Presidency is an executive political body of BiH and the Council of Ministers and all other bodies, apart from the Central Bank, are the supporting bodies of the Presidency. I only want that to be restored,” emphasised Dodik.

The Constitution stipulates that the BiH symbols are to be defined by the parliament and confirmed by the Presidency, but that has not been observed in the case of the BiH flag, he said.

"The BiH flag was imposed by the High Representative and there was no agreement about it, but later on, the parliament passed a law which was motivated exclusively by the inability to change anything apart from what the High Representative had determined. Hence, you had a situation where the High Representative imposed the flag,” he said.

The BiH Presidency chair added that the BiH flag represented also the FBiH flag and that it was used as such formally on the basis of a decision of the FBiH authorities.

"They didn’t even have a chance to adopt any other kind of flag except agree with that one. Basically, that means that I as a Serb member of the Presidency arrive to the business premises where there is the BiH flag and the FBiH flag and perform my duty of representing and presenting Republika Srpska under other flags. That simply cannot be sustained anymore,” said Dodik.

Commenting on the calls by Bosniak officials and High Representative Valentin Inzko to observe the Law on the BiH Flag, Dodik said he too was in favour of observing the law but not of imposed ones which changed the essence of the Constitution.

"All I want is to have the flag of Republika Srpska displayed in a visible place wherever I appear as a Serb member of the BiH Presidency and a representative of Republika Srpska. I do not demand that it stand next to the BiH flag because the law prescribes that no other flags can be displayed next to the BiH flag. This does not mean that the flag of Republika Srpska cannot stand a few metres away or in the other part of the room,” said Dodik.

The issue of the presence of the Srpska flag is a political issue, said Dodik, adding that it turned out he was right to raise it.

"But, for our representatives in the joint institutions it unfortunately wasn’t the top political issue. Now that the issue has been raised we can see how significant it is,” emphasised Dodik.

As for walking out from a meeting between the Presidency and a delegation of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board on Wednesday, Dodik said he did not avoid any meetings, that he spoke there, and said he wanted dialogue as well as the conditions for holding the meeting.

He explained that a meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer went the same way.

"I came in and presented my views in front of the other two members of the Presidency, heard Palmer say something and then went into my office. Later on, Palmer came in and we talked in my office where the flags of BiH and Republika Srpska were displayed. I don’t have a problem meeting with anyone, but we do have a problem in terms of internal relations, I don’t want them to remain conservative, I want them to change,” said Dodik.

Talking about a meeting with the Chinese ambassador in Istocno Sarajevo, where the BiH flag was displayed, Dodik said it was held in the Srpska office and that he was only using the services of Srpska institutions and observed the rules valid inside them. /end/ds