Two supersonic US B-1B bombers made a rare flyover over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday in what the US embassy called a demonstration of enduring partnership, while Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said it was not an act of partnership or friendship but quite the contrary.
The US embassy in Sarajevo said in a tweet that “we mean it when we say that the United States is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s true friend and partner and that we are here to stay.”
The flyover took place at a time when Bosnia-Herzegovina is struggling to make progress in its EU membership bid after it was granted candidate status last December, amid continuing secessionist threats and obstructions by Dodik and other Bosnian Serb politicians, including a vote by the Bosnian Serb assembly to pull Serbs out of Bosnia’s armed forces, judiciary, and tax system.
“Today’s B-1B bomber flyover is a demonstration of our enduring partnership with the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and our rock-solid commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH,” the embassy tweeted.
However, Dodik – the president of Republika Srpska, a highly autonomous entity in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina – who is under US sanctions for undermining peace and democracy in BiH did not hide his anger.
“American aircraft in Republika Srpska’s airspace, without approval or consent from the authorities, that is not an act of partnership or friendship but quite the contrary,” he said, according to Oslobodjenje daily.
In an unveiled message to US Ambassador Michael J. Murphy, Dodik, who is openly pro-Russian and met Vladimir Putin in Moscow only last week, said:
“I will just say: Change your intimidation weapons. We are not afraid of this one.”
(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)
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