“I have no doubt that many of the EU’s 28 members (the 27 current ones plus Croatia, which will join next year) will insist that Serbia be clear about where its sovereign borders lie. Germany appears to be insisting on that before the EU gives Serbia a date for negotiations to begin,” he wrote on peacefare.net .
This is how Serwer answered a question as to why Serbia could join the EU without Kosovo but the Republic of Srpska (RS) could not do so without the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“The RS is not sovereign and will not be. But that begs the question, why can’t the RS be sovereign,” he said.
He said that his colleague at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Michael Haltzel had offered a “moral argument”.
“The RS, which occupies the 49 per cent of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is the product of an ethnic cleansing campaign conducted during the Bosnian war (1992-95). Few non-Serbs have been able to return. He argues that the international community will not and should not recognize as sovereign a political entity whose origin lies in war crimes and gross human rights violations. This is not what I argue, even if I agree with Mike on the merits of the case,” he pointed out.
Serwer also stressed that “Kosovo Albanians chased Serbs from the area south of the Ibar River and relatively few of them have returned.”
“Yet the U.S. and 90 or so other countries have recognized Kosovo as sovereign. There are many differences of both degree and principle between the two cases,” he added.
According to the U.S. expert, RS’ independence would inevitably lead to a three-way division of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“The Croat-dominated southern portions would also secede from Bosnia, leaving what my State Department colleagues and I during the Bosnian war called ‘a nonviable rump Islamic state that would be a platform for Iranian terrorism’,” he explained.
Serwer noted that “the RS claim of independence would reignite the Bosnian war, as each of the ethnic groups seeks to lay claim to territory it regards as its own”.