The parliament of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska passed on October 18 a resolution proclaiming its military neutrality. The non-binding resolution opposes the country's potential membership in Nato, provoking yet another political tension in the already unstable country.
Republika Srpska has been against potential membership in Nato for years and in August the entity’s President Milorad Dodik even said that he will call a referendum on accession into the alliance as soon as it comes on the agenda.
On the other hand, the Muslim-Croat Federation, comprising Bosniaks and Croats, wants to join Nato as well as the EU.
“This resolution defines the neutrality of Republika Srpska in relation to military alliances,” the parliament said in a statement.
It added that the entity will coordinate its future status with Serbia, which is officially military neutral with the highest level of cooperation with Nato and its members, but also with Russia and non-Nato countries.
Russian activity in the Balkans has been growing rapidly since Montenegro entered Nato, and Moscow loudly opposes further Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkans, even though it claims that it has nothing against European integration as long as it does not jeopardise its own interests.
Dodik claims that Nato is the party that "interferes too much" in Bosnia’s internal affairs and has accused the alliance of manoeuvring to have Bosnia declared a member without Republika Srpska’s consent.
The October 18 resolution is largely symbolic as foreign policy is conducted at state-level, but provoked a strong negative reaction from the main Bosniak party, Party of Democratic Action (SDA).
“The resolution on military neutrality of RS adopted by the parliament of this entity represents a new flagrant violation of the Dayton peace agreement and attack on the sovereignty of BiH,” SDA said in a statement.
Republika Srpska’s opposition did not participate in the voting as once again it was thrown out of the parliament because of its loud protests against the decision not to include certain topics in its agenda.
In September, the police prevented 30 opposition MPs from entering the plenary hall of the parliament. The MPs were shut out after they blocked the work of the parliament for two days in protest against the assembly’s refusal to consider a highly critical report on the budget.
Ahead of the October 18 vote, the same MPs stood behind the speaker's chair and blew whistles, interfering the work of the parliament.