Austria’s Far-Right Vice Chancellor Criticized for Divisive Bosnia Talk

Austria’s far-right vice chancellor got under fire from the opposition camp for saying that Bosnia’s Republika Srpska entity should be let to pursue independence.

Heinz-Christian Strache made the criticized comments in an interview with the RS public broadcaster in September 2017, before he became the second man in Sebastian Kurz’s government, but they gained wide attention at home after being publicized this week by Austria’s NEOS liberal opposition party. Stephanie Krisper, the NEOS’ foreign policy spokesperson, said Strache’s close relationship with Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik has damaged Austria’s international standing.

“The international community is protecting an artificially created country with violence, which does not reflect the wishes of the people in that country,” said Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party.

“I would like to know why the international community insists on a multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina can’t function,” Strache said in the interview.

Strache said the only part of Bosnia that functioned was Republika Srpska, echoing the claims of the entity’s secessionist leader.

“For this reason, we should consider the possibility of giving the RS the right to break away,” he said.

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