SARAJEVO, Bosnia: Bosnia could face its most serious "existential threat of the post-war period" if the international community does not counter the separatist actions of Bosnian Serbs, according to United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt.
Schmidt's warning was scheduled to be presented during a briefing to the UN Security Council, but this was canceled because of opposition from Russia, a close ally of Serbia and Bosnian Serbs.
"The prospects of further division and conflict are very real" if Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik withdraws Serb troops from the Bosnian Army and creates a separate Serb force, he stated, in an excerpt from his briefing, as reported by Bosnia's Klix.ba portal.
Schmidt added that Dodik's threatened actions 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 that ended the Bosnian War in 1995.
On Tuesday, Dodik dismissed the report as "a propaganda pamphlet" written to "favor Bosnian Muslims."
"If we are separatists, he is an occupier," Dodik said, adding that Schmidt represents no one.
The Bosnian War began in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs, with the help of the Yugoslav Army, tried to break away from Bosnia and join neighboring Serbia, leading to the deaths of more than 100,000 people.
Dodik, who is supported by Russia and Serbia, has long been advocating the creation of a separate Bosnian Serb state that could eventually become part of Serbia.
The UN Security Council session where Schmidt was meant to deliver his report was postponed until Wednesday, in hopes of reaching an agreement with Russia, which diplomats said proved impossible.
Russia threatened to veto the resolution approving the extension unless all references to the high representative for Bosnia are removed, which undermines Schmidt's authority as the observer of the 1995 peace deal.
In July, the Security Council rejected a resolution put forward by Russia and China to strip the powers of the high representative and eliminate the position within one year.