The address of the President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović at the solemn academy on occasion of the Day of the Republic of Srpska
Your Sanctity and Your Eminences,
Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska,
Honourable Serb member of the Presidency of BiH,
Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia,
Honourable envoy of the President of the Republic of Serbia,
Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Srpska,
Honourable Chairman of the Council of Ministers,
Honourable Deputies, Ministers in the governments of the Republic of Srpska and of the Republic of Serbia,
Representatives of institutions at local, Republic of Srpska and common level of BiH,
Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Serbia,
Members of the Senate, officers, war veterans and representatives of associations,
Your Excellencies, Dear guests,
Dear citizens of the Republic of Srpska,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All across the Republic of Srpska, in all our municipalities and cities, we are marking and celebrating today the 28th birthday of our Republic – in peace and freedom, proud that we have her and determined to safeguard and strengthen her in future.
This is the day of our assembly and of our togetherness, the day when in a special way we celebrate the freedom in which we live.
It is our obligation to be thankful to and respect the sacrifice of those who defended this freedom in the war, especially to those who gave their lives and parts of their bodies to defend our right to live and our right to last. This is why Srpska has existed for 28 years and will continue to keep going – for all time, just as this year’s slogan of our celebration says.
Our past, our present and our future require us to always take the right path and to be prepared to face any challenges. There have been many such challenges in the past, and there will certainly be plenty of them in future, but if our institutions respect the needs and expectations of our citizens, and our citizens respect the efforts made by institutions in solving their problems, then any challenges can be overcome and all success will be shared.
I am grateful to our wonderful people, to the women and men all across Srpska, to our children and youth for giving strength to the Republic of Srpska. I am also thankful to our people in the Diaspora who keep Srpska in their hearts and who, together with us that live here, are happy to see every progress she makes.
Without our people’s fabulous love for their republic, we would not have succeeded in doing much, without that love and sacrifice we would have had a past and perhaps a slice of the present, but we would have no future.
Yet, we also have a future thanks to the courage of those who created Srpska and those who defended it, and thanks to the love and dedication of our people who have tirelessly guarded, built and developed her all these years.
We are proud today of having the Republic of Srpska, and we are proud of the fact that every day she is more modern, more beautiful and more developed.
It has not been easy to ensure development in a complicated environment such as the one in BiH, under circumstances where the shutting down of Srpska’s identity and the diminishment of her capacities, status and competencies are continually sought, in which you do not have a serious partner to solve any economic, social, investment or infrastructure projects. But, we still managed to do it.
Unfortunately, the atmosphere in the region is not stimulating either, and it far from offers conditions in which genuine understanding can be built and confidence and co-operation strengthened. We had to do a lot by ourselves or with the support of Serbia. Others, not only that they did not help, but even tried to hold us back.
Which is why it is so important for us to continue strengthening our capacities. There is still a lot to do. We enter 2020 prepared for new victories in the fields of political, economic, financial and social stability.
Increasing salaries, pensions and social security benefits, the number of jobs and reducing unemployment while maintaining political stability and strengthening Republic of Srpska’s security capacities will remain the priorities of the Republic’s institutions.
We want strong, unbreakable ties with Serbia, which is our strongest support. Srpska and Serbia will continue working closely together in all areas. We want to continue our good co-operation and understanding with the Russian Federation and China. It is also our goal to implement reforms, within the European integration process, that will be good for our society and that will provide stable employment and well-paid jobs. We want a sincere partnership with the United States as well. We are open to co-operate with everyone. Today’s world is fraught with numerous political and security problems, but it also offers enormous opportunities for connecting and for economic co-operation with regions and states that were not our traditional foreign trade partners after the war.
In the coming period, implementation of major infrastructure projects will continue. It is important that we connect all parts of Srpska with good roads, and the highway from Banja Luka, via Doboj, to Serbia is our strategic project.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear citizens,
We are proudly commemorating the day of birth of the Republic of Srpska, just as proudly as our flags are flying throughout our Republic.
But we must not lose sight of the fact that she is a thorn in the side for many and that many do mind that she has not disappeared or that she has not lost her competences. In various ways, and most often with the intervention of international representatives, efforts were made to change the essence of BiH as defined in Dayton, always to the detriment of the Republic of Srpska and its powers. Many are bothered by the fact that the Republic of Srpska was created in times of peace, before the war, that she was successfully defended in the war, and preserved and built after the war.
Precisely for this reason, we must not lose sight of the importance of the idea behind the creation of the Republic of Srpska, but also of the need to constantly strengthen and develop her as a place where future generations will be born, where they will grow and live in freedom.
This is why it is our obligation to protect the competences and constitutional capacity of Srpska, and the Constitution has conferred to the Republic powers in all areas that are important for the everyday life of citizens and the development of society.
Hence so many efforts to dismantle her by transferring competences to the level of BiH and to quench everything that reminds us that the Republic of Srpska, unlike the Federation of BiH and the Dayton BiH, was the only entity created during time of peace, therefore, before the war.
Hence the denial of January 9, 1992 as the birth date of the Republic of Srpska, because that date reverses the whole phony concept of the war, of the suffering, of the beginning and end of that horrible experience for all peoples in BiH, of victims that are recognized and those that are not, about how international justice was tailored and how history was shaped by the courts.
Therefore, January 9 is an unpleasant reminder for some who persistently attack the Republic of Srpska, which, even though in turbulent political times, was established in times of peace. And only the Republic of Srpska. A reminder that her Constitution was enacted in times of peace, and that, institutionally and otherwise, she existed and functioned even before the war started; while the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina emerged as a product of war through an agreement to end the bloody conflict between the warring Croat and Muslim forces. A reminder that today’s Daytonian Bosnia and Herzegovina was established within the framework of international law through a peace treaty that ended the war, but that also set up a constitutional and political system that certified the Republic of Srpska, which was created in times of peace, and the Federation of BiH that was created during the war.
These are historical facts, confirmed by documents, and they can be evaluated and interpreted in the context of historical circumstances, but nowhere in the world do judgments of historical facts create verdicts or decisions.
For us, a BiH that would respect the competences as set forth in the constitution is not a problem. It could even be a successful country and an example of successful coexistence if it had not been subjected to various experiments and had not fallen into the trap of challenging itself. Therefore, a BiH that would be comfortable for all who live in it is not a problem for us.
But, it is a hindrance to our development if, because of the constant disputing of our rights, we pay a price which is too high in political, institutional, development and economic terms.
We promote consistent application of the Dayton Agreement. We are committed to co-operation and co-ordination within BiH, but we do not accept forced snatching of our competences.
We are looking towards the future. We want all peoples in BiH to be good partners to each other. We want to build the Republic of Srpska as a place where both individuals and collectives can accomplish themselves and their goals. We are working to ensure that the Republic of Srpska is stable and that the love that our people feel for her is our lasting common capital that will help us, by living in peace, develop Srpska as a successful community.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends, esteemed citizens,
The Republic of Srpska is moving forward at a steady and safe pace. Sometimes our movement is faster, sometimes it is slower, but it is always a movement forward, there is no standing still. There are, however, many individuals and many families in need of assistance, and it is our responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable categories of society. Furthermore, the salaries of workers and the pensions of our retirees must be increased, which is why I support the efforts of the Government in this regard. Our children need education that will guarantee them employment and competitiveness upon graduation from secondary school or the university. We have to give up old habits. Each reform causes resistance, but there comes a time when resistance must be ignored and cuts must be made. Now is the time. How successfully we will live in future will depend on how successful we will be in implementing these reforms.
In these challenging times, the Republic of Srpska needs to take care of everything, even those big and small things that are a given in other places. We have to fight for each one of them, because none is implied. That is why it is so important for us not to lose sight that stability is a prerequisite for any progress. We must safeguard our institutions and our stability, because they are the only guarantee that we will overcome problems and move forward.
It is important that we believe in the Republic of Srpska because it is the prerequisite for us to have a future!
I congratulate you on January 9 – the Day of the Republic, and I wish that we live in peace, in a stable Republic of Srpska that will always keep moving forward and be something future generations can be proud of as we are proud of her today!
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