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UPDATE - Turkish, Serbian foreign ministers hold talks over phone

UPDATE - Turkish, Serbian foreign ministers hold talks over phone
Top diplomats discuss bilateral ties, regional developments, current political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina

UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER; CHANGES DECK, LEDE

By Emre Karaca and Talha Ozturk

ANKARA / BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Turkish and Serbian foreign ministers held a phone talk on Tuesday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu and Nikola Selakovic discussed bilateral ties as well as regional developments, according to Turkey's Foreign Ministry.

They also addressed the current political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the conversation, Selakovic said, referring to Sunday's celebrations to ​mark the anniversary of the founding of the autonomous Republika Srpska in defiance of a top court ruling.

The political crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina could only be resolved through dialogue, in line with the Dayton Accords, Selakovic said in a written statement.

Bosnia and Herzegovina sent protest notes Monday to the Russian, Chinese and Serbian embassies for sending their representatives to the celebrations.


- Court order

Bosnian Serbs consider Jan. 9 to be their small state's most important holiday.

However, in late November 2015, Bosnia's Constitutional Court ruled that celebrating Republika Srpska Statehood Day could be discriminatory to other ethnic groups in the country.

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina was established by the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the Bosnian War in 1995. It consists of two Bosniak, two Serb, two Croat, and three foreign judges, and its decisions are legally binding.

However, Serbs in Republika Srpska overwhelmingly passed a controversial referendum on a "national holiday" in defiance of Bosnia's highest court in September 2016.

Over 99% of the voters in the Serb-majority territory chose to observe Jan. 9 as Statehood Day, fueling fears that the referendum could be a first step towards seeking independence from Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country torn apart by violent ethnic conflict in the 1990s.

Prosecutors also summoned Republika Srpska's then leader Milorad Dodik to testify about the controversial referendum on his entity's "national holiday."

source: News Feed
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