Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Tuesday during a public event to celebrate his inauguration a week ago that they will not join NATO.
«I was elected president of Srpska for the third time at a very difficult time,» he said before affirming that he will seek cooperation with the European Union, as well as with Russia, China and the United States, although he stressed that he will not be a member of NATO.
As communicated by the Presidency, Dodik, who took office last November 15 after being proclaimed winner in the elections of October 2, stressed that from Srpska they have not given up «on the European path», so they will work «with dedication» with countries such as Serbia, Montenegro or Croatia.
Dodik, who has been critical of Western countries and has publicly supported the policies of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in the Balkans, has also assured that he seeks to preserve regional «peace and stability».
«Srpska is not asking for anything, but for our constitutional position to be respected,» he said, adding that the support it receives from the Russian ambassador is important, while stressing that the institutions will work «if there are talks without external interference.»
Dodik, who was already president of Republika Srpska between 2010 and 2018 and prime minister in two different periods — between 1998 and 2001 and between 2006 and 2010, is a figure of great political weight and influence in the territory regardless of the position he holds. Surrounded by partners such as Russia, Serbia or Hungary, his critics have accused him of being authoritarian and corrupt.