Serbian premier expected to prevent Bosnian Serb referendum

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) " Bosnians hope Serbia's prime minister Aleksandar Vucic could persuade a Bosnian Serb leader to cancel a disputed referendum in the Bosnian Serb region of the country.

Vucic will meet Milorad Dodik Friday evening and local media say he will ask Dodik to give up on the vote scheduled for Sept. 25.

The referendum asks residents of Republika Srpska whether they agree the annual day of the Serb mini-state should remain Jan. 9. However, Bosniaks believe it in fact is a test for a more serious one that Dodik plans for 2018 " on independence from Bosnia.

The constitutional court has ruled the date for the annual day discriminates against non-Serbs as it falls on a Serb orthodox religious holiday but Dodik has dismissed the ruling.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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