This morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis received in audience Milorad Dodik, the chairman in the collegial presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to a communique issued by the Holy See, the discussions were “cordial,” and satisfaction “was expressed for the good bilateral relations and the presence of the Catholic community” in the country.
The Pope and chairman spoke about the situation of the country and the economic and social challenges it faces.
“In addition,” the statement noted, “the need to guarantee effective parity of the constituent peoples and reconciliation among them was reiterated, underlining the importance of dialogue and mutual respect also in the institutional field, so as to overcome divisions and to achieve peace.”
Attention, it added, then turned “to themes of mutual interest regarding the international sphere, with particular reference to the prospect of the enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkans.”
The official subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States.
Since the 1995 Dayton Agreements, which ended the civil war, the Republic of former Yugoslavia is divided into two entities. Each has its own parliament: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska.
The presidency is made up of three members: one Bosniak, one Croat, and one Serb. The members are elected by popular vote for a four-year term. The member who has the most votes becomes the chairman unless he or she was the incumbent chairman at the time of the election. Every eight months, the chairmanship rotates.