December 15th, local time, two members of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a collective body exercising the functions of head of state, refused to meet with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov because of their position problems.
Dodik, the rotating chairman of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina (i.e. the head of state), called the incident a “diplomatic scandal”. Lavrov believes that the incident was directed by someone behind his back and did not represent the will of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zaferović, who represented Bosniaks in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Komšić, who represented Croatian ethnic groups, refused to meet with the Russian Foreign Minister on the 15th.
According to a report by Russia’s newspaper Izve on the 16th, Lavrov said in response to reporters’ questions on Tuesday that the two were manipulated by external forces. They did not represent the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and were irrelevant to Russia’s development of relations with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that the incident was over. According to Bosnia and Herzegovina media reports, Dodik criticized Zaferrović and Komšić for saying that if they think that Russia’s status as a world power can be reduced through this action, the two will become a laughingstock in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s domestic and world political arenas.
After concluding his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Russian Foreign Minister went to Serbia for a visit. In commenting on the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 15th, Serbian President Vučić said that this was a short-sighted act of the Bosnia and Herzegovina government and violated the country’s tradition of hospitality.
Lavrov began a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 14th to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Russian newspaper Opinion reported on the 16th that on the morning of the 15th, Lavrov should have held talks with three members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but only Dodik, who represents Serbs, attended the meeting.
According to the Constitution of BiH, the Presidency of BiH is composed of three people from Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, and the three members rotate as the chairman of the Presidency to perform the duties of Head of State.
Serbs and their parties usually advocate friendly relations with Russia, but the other two nations want to get closer to the Western countries and join NATO.
Zaferović and Komšić later issued a statement saying that they were dissatisfied with Lavrov’s statement on Monday, and that the position of the Russian Foreign Minister was contrary to that of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Lavrov said on the 14th that Russia supports Dodik’s position that Bosnia and Herzegovina does not join NATO and opposes the amendment of the Dayton Peace Agreement. In addition, they were dissatisfied that Lavrov and Doddick did not fly the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag when they met.
Former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ordzhonikidze said that it is not a violation of diplomatic etiquette not to fly the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because the lowest level of the flag-hanging ceremony should also be the official occasion of the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries, but the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a collective body, not an individual official. He attributed the cause of this incident to the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At present, Bosnia and Herzegovina is arguing about whether to join NATO. Some Russian media commented that the two members of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina would not see the Russian Foreign Minister, which was a scandal in itself and disrespectful of the official Russian representatives.
At present, the situation in and around Bosnia and Herzegovina is very chaotic, and the independence of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is questioned.
Iskandrov, an expert at the Institute of Slavology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that the actions of two members of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina are related to their desire to win the support of Western countries.
According to a report by the Russian newspaper Izvident on the 16th, despite unpleasant events during his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Russian Foreign Minister and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Foreign Minister held a meeting.
Lavrov also invited the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Russia next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.