OREANDA-NEWS Russia is concerned about the increasing efforts of NATO and the European Union to further "develop" the Balkan region, which leads to the emergence of new dividing lines and destabilization of Europe. This was stated by Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview to the Greek newspaper.

"The situation in the Balkans is of concern,-  the Minister said. - We see that NATO and the European Union are increasing efforts to further "development" of the region. Countries are urged to make the wrong choice: either with Moscow or with Washington and Brussels."

Such actions, he said, "lead to further destabilization of the security architecture in Europe, the growth of tension, the emergence of new dividing lines."

The Minister added that the protectorate regime in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which is maintained through the high representative's post, hinders the development of the country and hampers the reconciliation process.

"The high representative plays a destabilizing role in BiH," he said. "The protectorate's regime hampers its development, the reconciliation process, and the strict implementation of the peace agreement, although the high representative is called upon to be its guardian."

"Now they are trying to discredit the Bosnian elections in BiH, to create the impression that the victory of the Bosnian Serb leader Miroslav Dodik is illegal," the Russian Minister added.

The high representative, who is also a special representative of the European Union, has the right to cancel the decisions of the Bosnian Executive and legislative authorities of all instances and to dismiss public officials of any level, including members of the Presidium of BiH and the President of the Republika Srpska, and his decisions cannot be appealed. This authority was not provided for in the Dayton agreement of 1995 and was given to the high representative at a later date.

The Russian foreign Minister added that the creation of Kosovo's "armed forces" and the introduction of 100 percent duties on imported goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina calls into question the reputation of the European Union, its ability to force the Kosovars to fulfill their obligations.