Banja Luka

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Banja Luka is the capital of the Republika Srpska region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


  • To further weaken Pale, I proposed that the Dayton agreement include a provision moving the Bosnian Serb capital to Banja Luka. Milošević seemed interested in this proposal but, to my surprise, Izetbegović demurred. Even though he hated the leadership in Pale, he seemed to think he could work with them, especially his old associate from the Bosnian Assembly, Momčilo Krajišnik. Izetbegovic also saw value in keeping the capitals of the two entities close to each other so that Sarajevo remained the only important political center in Bosnia. He may also have feared that if the Bosnian Serb capital moved to Banja Luka, which is closer to Zagreb than Sarajevo, it would accelerate the permanent division of the country and strengthen Tuđman. Whatever Izetbegović's reasons for not wanting to close Pale, it was a mistake. The mountain town was solely a wartime capital, established by an indicted war criminal and his henchmen. It was the living symbol - and headquarter - of his organization. We should have pushed Izetbegović harder to agree to establish the Serb capital at Banja Luka. It would have made a big difference in the effort to implement the Dayton agreements.