President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, I am happy to see you in Moscow.
I want to welcome you and point out that relations between Russia and Republika Srpska are successfully advancing. Last year, trade grew by 57 percent. The turnover is not impressive in absolute values, but it shows a good trend. We should definitely keep this trend going.
I am aware of the interest our partners in Republika Srpska have in working with our large companies in a number of sectors. I hope this will happen. We have respective tools that can be used to achieve even greater results.
We appreciate your neutral position regarding developments in Ukraine. Only this kind of position can lead to a positive solution. But in any case, we are grateful to you for your restraint.
I know that thousands of schoolchildren in Republika Srpska study Russian, and the government supports interest in the Russian language and culture. We also appreciate that very much.
I am very glad to see you. Welcome to Russia.
President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President.
Thank you for this meeting. We meet quite often, and I absolutely agree with your words about Russia and Republika Srpska maintaining a good level of cooperation. Of course, this meets our interests in the best sense of the word.
Republika Srpska upholds an unwavering commitment to its position on political matters. Some politicians are trying to lay all the blame on just one side. However, it is our belief that the Russian Federation was forced to launch the special military operation after persistently striving to establish a security framework and ensure security guarantees. I hope that the special military operation ends as quickly as possible.
Of course, we all want peace, and Republika Srpska has come under immense pressure in this context. I had to face demands to decide on imposing sanctions against the Russian Federation. This was followed by pressure and sanctions on behalf of our Western partners, who suspended all joint projects.
However, we decided not to be part of all this hysteria that is being whipped up, and believe that there is still a chance for the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the rest of the world to resolve this issue. We do understand that this is not a war between Ukraine and Russia, but a confrontation with the West, which is trying to use Russia for inciting war.
In any case, Republika Srpska is a stable and peaceful entity. Of course, we have to face up to the demands to dismantle the Dayton Accords, while the Russian Federation is their guarantor.
We have already lost over 100 powers guaranteed under the Dayton Accords. Republika Srpska has lost so much over the past 20 years, with all the rules which were imposed on it and violations of international law. We found ourselves in a situation where the Dayton Accords no longer served as a source of stability. We see a trend of imposing decisions primarily in the interests of the West, i.e., the United States and Brussels. In any case, we oppose these decisions and reaffirm our commitment to the Dayton Accords.
But obviously the power that the West has and that is being used against us is enormous, and we have sustained certain losses. On the other hand, you know that there is an official there who was not elected by the Security Council to be the High Representative as provided for by Dayton. And we have to inform you that he has begun to impose laws, and these laws are applied in the other part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is called the Federation. We in Republika Srpska do not recognise his authority and will not comply with the measures he imposes on us.
This all puts us in an even more difficult situation, and we are all determined to fight for the opportunities that Dayton grants us, because as soon as we accept these reforms from the West, the existence of Republika Srpska will be at risk, and it will simply cease to exist. A huge number of our people support Republika Srpska, Dayton, and an international treaty. But in the meantime, our Western partners are rejecting these attempts. Again and again, all they do is accuse Republika Srpska, all of us who lead Republika Srpska, and impose sanctions against us.
In any case, we are not prepared to give up this position and our rights, which we won with Dayton, the international agreement that is a signed document.
The situation there is calm now, there are no excesses of any kind, no ethnically motivated or other incidents, and the economy is stable. Of course, the situation is difficult after the pandemic and amid the current events. In any case, Republika Srpska is subject to pressure from our Western partners, who prevent us from developing normally. We have problems with cooperation to strengthen the economy, but I hope we will overcome that. Your companies are operating under difficult conditions, as you know. The key problem is the correspondent banks are controlled by the West, and they do not let money through. That is the problem.