- Title: U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions on Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Dodik
- Date: 18th January 2017
- Summary: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF U.S. EMBASSY IN SARAJEVO US FLAG IN FRONT OF EMBASSY
- Embargoed: 1st February 2017 01:34
- Keywords: USA sanctions Bosnia Dodik Dayton Accords
- Location: SARAJEVO AND PALE, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
- City: SARAJEVO AND PALE, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZH16IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The United States imposed sanctions on Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik on Tuesday (January 17) for actively obstructing efforts to implement the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the more than three-year war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dodik is the president of Republika Srpska, the autonomous Bosnian Serb half of the country established by the agreements.
Once praised as a democratic reformer, Dodik oversaw the holding of a referendum in September on celebrating "The Day of Republika Srpska" on January 9 in defiance of a Constitutional Court ruling banning the vote for discriminating against non-Serbs.
U.S. officials condemned the vote as breaching the rule of law and an attempt to undermine the peace accords.
"Milorad Dodik has defied the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, violated the rule of law and poses a significant risk of obstructing the implementation of the Dayton accords," U.S. Ambassador Maureen Cormack said in a video message on the U.S. Embassy Twitter account.
The United States and the European Union opposed the referendum. The vote was praised by Russia, with which Dodik advocates closer ties.
Dodik has called for independence for Republika Srpska, questioned the legitimacy of the judiciary, threatened to hold a referendum on the status of the court system as well as withdraw Republika Srpska soldiers from the country's unified military.
The sanctions imposed by the Office of Foreign Asset Control, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, enable U.S. authorities to block access by Dodik to any of his property or assets that are under U.S. jurisdiction.
The sanctions came several weeks after Dodik said he had been invited to Friday's swearing-in of President-elect Donald Trump, but was refused a diplomatic visa by the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo.
As it turned out, the invitation was to a private ball sponsored by religious and conservative groups. He said he would seek a regular U.S. visa.
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