WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and current and former officials as Washington warned of new measures against those linked to destabilization or corruption.
The US Treasury Department accused in a statement Mr. Dodik, already subject to US sanctions under another authority, of corruption and threat to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Treasury also imposed sanctions on a media outlet, Alternativna Televizija doo Banja Luka, accusing Mr. Dodik of having acquired it to promote his own program and to exercise personal control over it. Alternativna Televizija was not immediately available for comment.
The Treasury designations are the first use of an executive order issued in June allowing the United States to target those who threaten peace or stability in the Western Balkans.
The US State Department has also banned current and former officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina from entering America, targeting Milan Tegeltija, former president of the High Council of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mirsad Kukic, lawmaker and president of the Movement. for democratic action.
?? Other leaders and entities linked to corrupt or destabilizing actors may also be the subject of future actions by the US government, ?? Secretary of State Blinken warned in a separate statement.
Bosnia is experiencing its worst political crisis since the end of the war in the 1990s, rekindling fears of a split after the Bosnian Serbs blocked the work of the central government and Serbian lawmakers voted to start withdrawing the republic Autonomous Serbian state institutions.
Mr. Dodik, a Serbian member of the Bosnian interethnic tripartite presidency, wants to reverse all reforms undertaken after the war and return to the 1995 constitution under which the state was represented only by basic institutions while all the powers belonged to the regions.
“Milorad Dodik’s destabilizing corrupt activities and self-motivated attempts to dismantle the Dayton peace accords threaten the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire region.” Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the statement.
The Dayton Peace Accord brokered by the United States in 1995 ended more than three years of ethnic warfare in Bosnia. Some 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict and two million driven from their homes.
Mr Dodik said he was being punished again but was unsure why, telling the Bosnian Serb news agency Srna that the United States was accusing him of corruption despite the lack of criminal charges against him. He added that he had in no way called into question the constitutional order in Bosnia or its stability.
?? These are the sanctions recommended by several American officials who do not share the vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina that I have and which was signed in 1995, ?? he said.
?? If they think they are going to discipline me this way, they are dead wrong. I have only one motive left to fight for the rights that have been taken from us for 26 years. ??
Image: Milorad Dodik, a Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, speaks during an interview in his office in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 11, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic