Agreement That Ended Bosnian War in 1995 Under Threat, Envoy Says, Calling for Global Aid

High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt sent a report to the U.N. Security Council this week saying that Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik could create a separatist Serb force.

According to the Associated Press, Schmidt is calling on the international community for assistance.

The threat for a Serb force could "ultimately undermine the state's ability to function and carry out its constitutional responsibilities," said Schmidt, who also called Dodik's threats "tantamount to secession without proclaiming it."

Schmidt also warned that the agreement that ended the Bosnian War in 1995 is in danger. The actions of Bosnian Serbs, he said, "endanger not only the peace and stability of the country and the region, but—if unanswered by the international community—could lead to the undoing of the agreement."

Dodik responded to the Schmidt report in a statement, calling it "a propaganda pamphlet" meant to "favor Bosnian Muslims."

"If we are separatists," he added, "he is an occupier."

In 1992, Bosnian Serbs began the Bosnian War as they attempted to ethnically cleanse Muslims and Croats in the area to try to merge with neighboring Serbia. A U.S.-sponsored peace agreement helped end the war two years later and created the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation.

Schmidt will deliver the report to the U.N. Security Council sometime this week.

For more reporting by the Associated Press, see below.

Christian Schmidt
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt has issued a report to the U.N. Security Council warning of Bosnian Serb separatism. Above, Schmidt speaks during a ceremony in the capital, Sarajevo, on August 2, 2021. AP Photo, file

The Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation were given wide autonomy but kept some joint institutions, including the army, the top judiciary and tax administration. Bosnia also has a rotating three-member presidency made up of Bosniak, Serb and Croat members.

Dodik, the Bosnian Serb member of the presidency, has for years been advocating for the separation of the Bosnian Serb mini-state and having it become part of Serbia. Such a move is unlikely to win support from the United States and much of the West.

Dodik, who has tacit support from Russia and allies in Serbia, recently intensified his campaign, pledging that the Bosnian Serb parliament would by the end of November declare the creation of its own army, tax authority and judiciary.

He has threatened to take over the Bosnian army barracks in the Serb half of Bosnia once the Bosnian Serb military is formed. He said that if the West tries to intervene, he would call Bosnian Serb "friends" for help, an apparent reference to Serbia and Russia.

Extending the mandate of the EUFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia by one year is set for consideration by the Security Council.

Russia has threatened to veto the resolution approving the extension unless all references to the high representative for Bosnia are removed—an apparent attempt to undermine Schmidt's authority as the observer of the 1995 peace deal.