Beginning of the meeting with Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to reiterate what I said at the beginning: you will have elections in your country soon, and I wish you success. I hope that the results will strengthen the position of the patriotic forces in the country, allowing us to continue to develop productive and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for your kind wishes. Thank you for inviting me to be here today. This is our second meeting this year.
I bring you greetings from my people, from the Republika Srpska, and gratitude for your attention and support at the multilateral level, primarily at the UN Security Council, your understanding of the specific circumstances in which we work, and your commitment to preserving the Dayton Agreement, which has preserved Bosnia and Herzegovina to this day. On the other hand, we also have people who want to be a vehicle for changing the rules and the international system. It is important that we have friends who understand our specific situation.
The elections will take place on October 2. I have put forward my candidacy for the office of President of the Republika Srpska, and now I am a member of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am convinced that we will fare well. The polls are saying there will be no problem, and we hope that the result will be good.
I would like to say that our meetings are always very important for me. We have previously discussed some issues. I would like to say that I remain committed to continue advancing our cooperation, which is very important for us, because we are a small community, and the fact is that we, most importantly, stay in communication with you, which is what makes our positions stronger.
Several days ago – I would like to tell you, brag about it, in fact – we had the opportunity to make sure that Bosnia and Herzegovina play a friendly match with your football team in St Petersburg on November 19. Our people have secured this decision for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team, and we hope that we will keep this date, November 19, even though one part of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not want it. In any case, we accomplished this in the current circumstances.
Vladimir Putin: Sport should unite, not divide people, and I hope that the sporting event that you mentioned will play its role in promoting sports and relations between people.
I want to emphasise once again that we know you as a friend of our country. I am glad to see you and to have the opportunity to discuss with you the situation in the region and bilateral relations.