On November 9, 2022, The Washington Diplomat published an interview with the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) to the United States, Bojan Vujic. In that interview ambassador Vujic made a number of false, divisive, Islamophobic and controversial statements, which blatantly disrespected Bosnia and its citizens. Throughout the interview, ambassador Vujic clearly demonstrated his allegiance to the interests of Mr. Milorad Dodik, the current president of the Republika Srpska entity, and not the country he is representing in the United States. As a reminder, Mr. Dodik was sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of Treasury (OFAC) in 2017 in response to his role in defying Bosnian’s Constitutional Court. In 2022, OFAC imposed additional sanctions on Mr. Dodik for self-dealing and his continued threats to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia.
For example, ambassador Vujic falsely states in the interview that “Serbs and Croats are marginalized in our Foreign Ministry.” This statement is completely contradictory to the manner in which Bosnia’s government and its institutions function. The existing constitution and system of governance provides Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks equal votes with respect to matters relating to its foreign policy. This results in effective discrimination against, and marginalization of, Bosniaks who have a “one third” vote on foreing policy matters while constituting in excess of 50% of Bosnia’s population. Moreover, Mr. Vujic’s statement is also illogical and nonsensical because if Serbs were indeed marginalized in Bosnia’s foreign ministry, he would not have been appointed to (arguably) the most important ambassador position for Bosnia.
We also take issue with ambassador Vujic’s statement that: “Serbia was […] under attack by NATO, when 19 countries bombed us [bolded and underlined for emphasis]”. First of all, this statement indisputably demonstrates that ambassador Vujic doesn’t consider himself as the ambassador of Bosnia and its citizens, but rather someone who identifies with a country he does not represent. Second, he conveniently omits to explain that NATO bombed Serbia to cease the large scale atrocities that were being committed (including ethnic cleansing) by Serbs against the Albanian population in Kosovo at that time. He also fails to mention that NATO completed similar military missions in Bosnia because the government of Republika Srpska entity, its army and police committed even graver atrocities, crimes against humanity and even genocide against Bosniaks in Bosnia.
Furthermore, the author of The Washington Diplomat article correctly concludes that ambassador Vujic’s biggest “claim to fame” is that he is the only ambassador in DC “who openly rails against his own foreign minister.” In that regard, ambassador Vujic repeats an inflammatory, islamophobic and false claim made by former U.S. Reprentative Trent Franks that Bosnia’s foreign minister Bisera Turkovic had a close relationship with “Islamist mujahideen” extremists. He additionally expresses a false, unsubstantiated, inflammatory and Islamophobic claim that minister Turkovic’s political party (i.e., SDA) desires to establish a “Muslim” country. Not only is this false, but it also directly contradicts the sentiment of most Bosniaks, which can be substantiated through the results of the most recent general election in Bosnia. In October’s general election for members of the presidency, a clear majority of Bosniaks elected the liberal, pro-democratic candidate, Mr. Becirevic. This is in stark contrast to the results in which the genocide denying and Vladimir Putin supporting duo, Mr. Milorad Dodik and Ms. Zeljka Cvijanovic, received a majority of the support of the voters in Republika Srpska.
Ambassador Vujic makes an additional false, divisive and Islamophobic statement, when he states that when he was the “Davis Cup coach for [Bosnia] … they were always telling me that if I didn’t put more Muslims on the team, I’d get in trouble”. While the statement is clearly inflammatory and offensive to the citizens of Bosnia, we believe that it is again illogical, nonsensical and devoid of reality. If his statement was true, we question why would the “extremists” that run Bosnia’s Tennis Association appoint him as the Davis Cup coach in the first place, and not a Bosniak coach? We intend to reach out to Bosnia’s Tennis Association in order to substantiate ambassador Vujic’s claims regarding discrimination within the Tennis Association.
It is widely known within Bosnia, as well as among Bosnian-Americans residing in the United States, that ambassador Vujic’s entire term as ambassador could be politely described as a dereliction of his duty to serve and represent Bosnia and its citizens in the United States. He took every opportunity to denigrate Bosnia, its foreign ministry and citizens. In that regard, we and the Bosnian-Americans residing in the United States look forward to his speedy departure from Washington D.C.