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WJC CEO Robert Singer thanks Republic Srpska for its support of Israel

16 Nov 2015

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer met Friday with Prime Minister Željka Cvijanović of the Republika Srpska​ and expressed the WJC’s appreciation and gratitude for the the administrative entity's support of Israel.

One of the key expressions of this support came in 2011 when the Republika Srpska abstained from a critical UN Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood, despite the fact that its sister entity, the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was in favor of recognition.

During their meeting in New York, Cvijanović reiterated to Singer that the Republika Srpska considers Israel a friend and ally. Since international action by Bosnia can only be taken by unanimous agreement of the tripartite presidency that governs Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska’s opposition to Palestinian statehood blocked Bosnia from voting for the measure.

Cvijanović also described the Jewish cultural center in Banja Luka which her government recently built for the Republika Srpska’s small Jewish community. The coming year marks 450 years of Jewish presence in Bosnia; there are about 1500 Jews living in Bosnia, with about 200 in Banja Luka. Singer expressed the hope that the WJC might participate in the formal Holocaust commemoration in Banja Luka on May 8, 2016.

December 2015 will mark 20 years since the Dayton Accords was signed, putting an end to the three-and-a-half year Bosnian War. During her meeting with Singer, Cvijanović also discussed the efforts her government is making to retain the governing structure for Bosnia set in these accords and to avoid the erosion of the decentralized system she considers so critical. 

Photograph: WJC CEO Robert Singer meeting with Prime Minister Željka Cvijanović of the Republika Srpska​ in New York on 13 November 2015.