Address by the President of the Republic of Srpska at the Solemn Academy on the occasion of January 9 – the Day of the Republic of Srpska
Your Holiness and Your Eminent Graces,
Dear Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska,
Dear Serb Member of the BiH Presidency,
Dear Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia,
Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska,
Respected deputies, ministers in the governments of the Republic of Srpska and the Republic of Serbia,
Representatives in joint institutions of BiH,
Representatives of the Croatian National Assembly in BiH,
Prime Minister of the Provincial Government of Vojvodina, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces,
Respected members of the Senate, distinguished officers, soldiers, veterans and representatives of the associations,
Your Excellencies, Dear Guests,
Dear citizens of the Republic of Srpska,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, the Republic of Srpska celebrates its 27th birthday – in peace and freedom, more powerful than before, more aware of itself and the importance of its preservation, determined to bravely pace into the future – proud and eternal, just as the central message of this year’s programme said under which we celebrate the day of birth of our Republic.
We are proud of the Republic of Srpska which is a symbol of our freedom, life and security for every citizen of our country.
Our past, our identity and our desire to build its future is woven in it. We live in it and feel at home.
It reflects our desire to live freely and to build a society for generations to come. The Republic of Srpska is also an obligation for us not to give up our beliefs.
It requires us to be persistent and not to betray the values on which the Republic was created in peace, defended in the war, and then built in freedom during the last 27 years.
That is why, living our everyday lives, we must not lose sight of the strength and magnitude of the idea behind the creation of the Republic of Srpska, nor a long series of historical events that preceded it, as an expression of the aspiration for life in peace and freedom in this region.
That is why the victim of anyone who gave life for the idea of the freedom of his people is built in its identity, from the 19th century liberation wars and the Balkan wars, through the First and Second World War, to the last, Defense – Homeland War.
We, who live today in the Republic of Srpska are grateful to them, for living in freedom, for having our own homeland and for knowing where our hearth is. Without the enormous sacrifice of our people and our fighters, this would not have been possible, therefore, our debt to them is also immeasurable.
That is why it is our duty to defend the Republic, its competencies and constitutional capacity, to further develop, build, adjust and improve it.
At the same time, we must never lose sight of the fact that the Republic of Srpska even today bothers many people, and that is why the struggle for its preservation is constant.
Many deny the fact that we mark this day since it is a confirmation that the Republic was born in peace, before the war, and that during the war which was imposed on us, it was defended.
It bothers them since we celebrate our identity, our freedom, culture, language and way of life. It bothers them since we defend our autonomy, our stability and strengthen our institutions. They are bothered since we know where we are going, and since we are moving slowly, with a slight step, not to make a mistake. They are also bothered since we feel our awareness of the importance of surviving and preserving the Republic.
It keeps us all awake and it makes us not sleep over the present so that history will not overtake us later.
Proud and defiant, since its inception, the Republic of Srpska resisted numerous challenges and emerged from each of them, it is even stronger and even more loved. And precisely in that love lies its strength.
The identity of the Republic of Srpska has its legal and political dimension which is reflected through its Dayton constitutional – legal position, with its clearly defined competencies and prerogatives.
Unfortunately, there are still those who believe that many things in BiH would be simpler if the Republic of Srpska was deprived of decision-making powers and moved elsewhere.
In their view, the powerful Republic of Srpska means a weak BiH and they persistently ignore the fact that the Republic of Srpska in BiH has introduced its sovereignty and territorial integrity and that without the Republic of Srpska there is no BiH.
All the time since the end of the war to date, many have unsuccessfully tried to weaken the Republic of Srpska, to take away at least a fraction of what was verified by the Dayton agreement arrangement.
To their grief and to our joy, the Republic of Srpska today is a politically, institutionally and economically stable and self-sustaining community, which has its clearly drawn up development path, which, after the October elections, was the first to constitute all the authorities and adopted its strategic documents that are the basis for the implementation of its development goals.
In this, in the shortest time, without any delays, conditions have been created for the Republic of Srpska and its institutions to continue to perform its functions in the benefit and welfare of its citizens.
Regarding the relations in BiH, the Republic of Srpska is committed to consistently follow and apply the Dayton Peace Agreement. Over the past two decades, in the crater of various attacks on the Dayton constitutional arrangement, Srpska has had more damage than the benefits from BiH.
The price that Srpska pays in political, institutional, but also development and economic terms due to experiments conducted in BiH is too high.
Therefore, taking into account the internal, regional and global reality, but also the needs of Srpska, the time before us must be used to strengthen Srpska, to return all competencies, which, in particular by the decisions of the High Representative, have been illegally seized.
Srpska should never again allow itself to be the subject to any blackmail from the level of BiH, to be challenged in its constitutional and institutional capacity or blocked in its development and operation.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, respected citizens,
The Republic of Srpska is aware of itself and knows what it wants. In these challenging times, the Republic of Srpska wants friendship and partnership with everyone, both in BiH and beyond.
Certainly, we are stared at Serbia, which in the past time has repeatedly expressed its support for the Republic of Srpska and which we could rely on in the hardest times.
Our sincere friend is also the Russian Federation, which principally defends the Dayton Agreement, which halted the Resolution on genocide and opposes misinformation when submitting the Report by the High Representative to the UN Security Council.
Also, our relations with China are developing dynamically, especially in the fields of energy and road infrastructure, as well as in education and culture.
The Republic of Srpska is committed to the European path, but, unfortunately, this process is often abused for achieving some other goals, weakening of the Republic of Srpska and deprivation of its constitutional competences.
Looking to the future, we want to build the Republic of Srpska as a modern, dynamic, rapidly developing society, with a strong business initiative and social responsibility.
We build it as a society where social justice and the rule of law reside, in which the achieved results are evaluated and which will be an integral part of the modern world in terms of development, we build it as a place of social solidarity, in which the most vulnerable will be the most protected, and in which institutions will be effective in fulfilling their obligations towards citizens.
This is not easy to achieve, especially not in circumstances in which many try to halt our movement, demolish or disable our institutions, abolish our symbols and identity. But, in spite of this, we were moving, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but we were moving. And accordingly, the strength of the Republic is measured.
That is why the Republic looks different today, more structured, more organised, has a clearer attitude and is not afraid to express it. But, there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done for our citizens. Therefore, we must continue our movement with a safe step.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
The Republic of Srpska, as an expression of the will of its people, no one can take away from us, but ourselves. That is why Srpska must be above all, the most important political and every other priority, since without it there is no freedom, no life, no future.
Unfortunately, being guided by someone else’s interests and thinking by someone else’s brains, there are those who persistently work against Srpska, its institutions and the people, bringing lies, causing it both political and financial damage.
We can be proud since in Srpska, as in a democratic political community, everyone has the right to freely think and express their views. But, the practice of rights and freedoms must also be realised within the frames prescribed by the Constitution, laws and basic postulates of a state governed by the rule of law, since Srpska is a legal state.
At the same time, we must not close our eyes to the objective problem faced not only by Srpska, but also many other communities. That is why improving the demographic picture must be one of our priorities, so that children’s noise can be heard much more strongly in all parts of Srpska.
In addition to addressing the political challenges, we shall have to remain strongly committed to improving our financial and economic and social situation and creating better conditions for the lives of our citizens.
That is why we need strong institutions, we need commitment, peace and stability. Our Republic is open for anyone to live in it who respects its laws, thus, it is important that we continue to improve our democratic environment.
I believe in the Republic that will be stronger, I believe in the capability and strength of our people, our citizens and our institutions to preserve and strengthen it.
Dear citizens, dear friends,
I congratulate all of you the January 9 – the Day of the Republic with the desire it to be stable and us to be faithful and loyal to it, to build and guard it together with a lot of love, unity and solidarity.
Long live the Republic of Srpska!