“Bosnia’s autonomous Serb entity is ‘fear-mongering’ to undermine the country’s integrity by organising nationalist paramilitary groups and disproportionately arming the region’s police, the national security minister said.

Secessionist pressures in the Serb Republic, set up as one of two autonomous regions as part of a 1995 deal to end Bosnia’s war among Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, is raising international concern about a relapse into turmoil in the Balkans.

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held at federal and regional levels in October and Bosnian Serb authorities have already begun campaigning with steps some see as menacing to the country’s fragile post-war equilibrium.

Under the 1990s peace accord meant to keep Bosnia intact, the country was divided into autonomous Serb and Bosniak-Croat entities with a relatively weak central presidency and government based in the capital Sarajevo.

National Security Minister Dragan Mektic accused the Bosnian Serb (RS) leadership of cranking up nationalist rhetoric and sponsoring paramilitary displays to intimidate opponents and sway voters ahead of the election.

Mektic is part of a moderate Serb bloc in the Sarajevo coalition government but is at odds with the RS nationalists under regional President Milorad Dodik.

‘(RS) politics is verging on fear-mongering; there is an increased feeling of insecurity. All of this is making the security situation more complex,’ Mektic said in an interview with Reuters.” (US News & World Report)