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Pro-Russian Milorad Dodik said that presence of British soldiers to monitor Bosnian elections ‘borders on intrusion.’4 July 2018
Last month, Dodik accused London of attempting to interfere in the country’s upcoming elections after an announcement that London will send 40 military personnel to join an EU-NATO mission in Bosnia, according to Balkan Insight.
“This deployment demonstrates our commitment to making sure the elections in Bosnia are free and fair – and take place uninterrupted from malign external influence,” defense secretary Gavin Williamson said, as cited by The Times.
However, Dodik said at the time that “Republika Srpska does not need this, nor have its authorities asked for it,” and that the act “borders on intrusion in the country.”
Bosnia is divided into two mostly autonomous entities, Serb-majority Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, largely comprised of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Bosnian Croats. Reflecting its ethnic makeup, the country has a tripartite presidency, and Dodik is running for the Serbian seat.
In a statement cited by Reuters, the British Embassy in Sarajevo said that the United Kingdom “does not take sides” in the upcoming Bosnian elections, and “kindly asked” political players to “stop trying to draw the UK into their election campaigns."
"It is very disappointing that President Dodik has chosen repeatedly to portray the UK as in some way a threat to the Republika Srpska. Inventing fake threats may be a good way to score electoral points, but it risks damaging the long-term relationship with the UK," the statement of the British Embassy in Sarajevo said.
Dodik replied by saying that "The Embassy of Great Britain should not be lecturing about freedom of expression or any other internal political issue because they are not here to deal with that,” according to Bosnian news channel N1.
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