At the ceremonial academy on the occasion of 9 January – the Day of the Republic, the President of the Republic of Srpska, Želјka Cvijanović, said that, 29 years after its founding, Srpska could be proudly described as a modern, democratic, politically and institutionally stable community with everyone living freely in it.
– Today we are celebrating the 29th birthday of our Republic. And although we are proud of what we have every day, 9 January is always a special holiday because it is the day that brings us together and unites us in a special way. That is so also today, although this year we are marking the Day of the Republic in the conditions of a pandemic, with epidemiological measures and in a somewhat different fashion – said Cvijanović.
She added that this, however, did not diminish the significance of this day and that the joy in celebrating this holiday throughout the Republic of Srpska spoke best of how deep it was rooted in the people and how futile was the work of those disputing it.
– That is why also this year, from Herzegovina to Krajina, from the Drina to the Una, with flags flying high, we are celebrating with pride the peace and freedom in which we live, as well as our right to be on our own – said the President.
She pointed out that no one gave that freedom and right to Srpska and that ‘we know very well that we do not owe gratitude for the freedom we enjoy to foreign armies or states, but to our fathers, sons, brothers, compatriots and fellow citizens who wanted to pass peace and life around own hearths to future generations’.
Cvijanović said that it was the duty of us all to appreciate that sacrifice, to respect the fallen, to take care of their families and to remember all those who were up to the task when it was most difficult.
– Because of them, but also because of those who are yet to come, it is our obligation to safeguard the Republic of Srpska, to develop it and to pass it on to future generations as even more developed and stable than it is today – she pointed out.
The President of Srpska emphasized that, 29 years after its founding, the Republic of Srpska could be proudly said to be a modern, democratic, politically and institutionally stable community in which everyone lives freely, regardless of religion, nationality or any other affiliation.
She reminded that for the last ten months the Republic of Srpska, as well as the whole world, has been fighting a dangerous enemy and solving the challenges and problems caused by the pandemic.
She said that appropriate measures had been taken to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, the health sector had been trained to better care for and treat the sick, interventions had taken place in the economy to protect jobs, budget stability had been preserved and financial obligations were regularly fulfilled, without decreasing personal income, subsidies and incentives, or social benefits.
The President emphasized that, in such difficult times, that would be a serious undertaking even for the much bigger and stronger than the Republic of Srpska.
– Although we know that this is neither the first nor the last challenge we face, we must not lose sight of the fact that this pandemic continues to take people’s lives every day and seriously endangers not only the healthcare system and the economy, but also the way of life we are accustomed to – she said and added that it was extremely important to maintain discipline and responsibility in the coming period, in order to cope with this crisis as smoothly as possible.
Cvijanović expressed special gratitude to health professionals, who are investing superhuman efforts to save every human life and who have been on the front line since the beginning of this pandemic.
In her address on the occasion of the Day of the Republic, the President also touched on the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which was marked last year, stating that the agreement had stopped tragic war conflicts, but also defined the constitutional order and internal organization of BiH.
– Opinions about the agreement, its achievements as well as the missed opportunities still differ within BiH and abroad. The Republic of Srpska brought into the Dayton Agreement its subjectivity and all the necessary elements of statehood – territory, population and sovereign power within its borders. In return, we obtained peace and international verification of the Republic of Srpska as an equal entity within BiH with a high degree of autonomy. What we expect and what we strive for is for this legal, political and historical fact to be fully respected and recognized – Cvijanović pointed out.
She said that this anniversary once again showed that even 25 years after the establishment of peace, many inside and outside BiH have not given up on intolerance or unitarization.
– Instead of messages of peace and coexistence, we received messages of hatred towards the Republic of Srpska, which tainted further the already contaminated situation in BiH, but also strengthened our desire to safeguard the Republic of Srpska. We are facing numerous absurdities in BiH, so those who advocate consistent adherence to the Dayton Agreement are regularly being accused of anti-Dayton actions. The loudest in speaking about the rule of law are those to whom the BiH Constitution represents a dead letter on paper, and about coexistence and tolerance are those who satanize anyone who does not fit into their political ambitions and goals – said Cvijanović.
The President of Srpska said that, regardless of the disincentive environment, Srpska had its own path called a stable, strong and developed Republic.
– We are looking to the future in which we will be partners, not opponents, to each other in BiH and in our region, and in which cooperation and mutual understanding will replace quarrels and conflicts. But that does not depend only on us – she stated.
The President of Srpska pointed out that she was proud of the cooperation with Serbia, which was getting stronger, more concrete and more substantial every day.
– It is natural that for our people, that connection represents security, a guarantee of survival and preservation of identity. Besides, it is of utmost importance for our further economic development – she said.
Cvijanović also stated that Srpska was open for cooperation with all other countries in the region and beyond.
– We want to revitalize our relations with Montenegro, with which we share not only the border, but also strong historical, cultural, spiritual, and even personal and family ties. Better understanding, better economic cooperation and infrastructural connections with neighboring Croatia and other European Union countries are also in the interest of both the Republic of Srpska and BiH – she said.
The President emphasized that the Republic of Srpska was committed to active participation in the process of European integration, while retaining its competencies and constitutional position, and at the same time implementing all reforms relevant for overall development, in compliance with the rules of coordination.
Our priorities are further strengthening of strategic cooperation and friendly ties with the Russian Federation, improvement of traditionally good relations with China, better understanding and cooperation with the United States, but also all other partners both in the East and in the West, who respect the constitutional position of the Republic of Srpska and want to build partnerships – said Cvijanović.
The President expressed her belief that the year ahead, despite all the challenges and difficulties, would be successful.
– It is true that no phase on our development path has been easy or simple, but it is also true that we have always managed to overcome difficulties – of both political and economic nature. We did not always progress at the desired pace, but we were always moving, we were never standing and I am proud of that – said Cvijanović.
She also said that she was proud of the strong, unbreakable connection between institutions and citizens who understood well that the Republic of Srpska was the only guarantee for development, prosperity, but also survival in this area.
Cvijanović pointed out that, just as it was important for citizens to trust institutions, it was equally important that institutions and their representatives never lost contact with their citizens and that they could recognize their needs at all times.
– Although we have achieved very much, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. In parallel with remedying the negative effects of the pandemic and preserving the healthcare sector, we must not abandon our infrastructure and development projects. We must continue to provide support to our economy, taking care of those who had lost their jobs due to the reduced economic activity because of the pandemic – she said.
The President of Srpska emphasized that care for vulnerable categories remained one of the priorities for the institutions, as well as the implementation of the national program of demographic renewal, care for family and further strengthening of institutional ties with the diaspora.
– As we never have, we will not close our eyes to the challenges now, but we will work actively on overcoming them, together with our social partners. I believe in the Republic of Srpska, in the libertarian idea that is at its foundations, in its strength that comes from our strong will and the love we cultivate for it, as I believe in its peaceful, stable and prosperous future – said the President of Srpska.
At the end of her address, the President congratulated the citizens on the Day of the Republic, wishing that every following 9 January would see the Republic of Srpska better, more successful and more developed.