Saturday, September 1, 2007


BRUSSELS, Belgium (September1,2007) - The European Union warned the leaders of Bosnia's two main political parties that their rejection of proposals to reform the police could undermine talks on closer EU-Bosnia ties.

"Without an agreement on police reform in accordance with the EU's principles, the EU is unable to conclude a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia," the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement.

The leaders of two main Bosnian political parties Haris Silajdzic and Sulejman Tihic rejected a proposal put forward by the international community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak, saying it failed to reach the EU's aim of unifying Bosnia's police forces.

"This is not a police reform, this is legalisation of the ethnically divided police forces. We cannot accept that," Sulejman Tihic, the president of the Party of Democratic Action,said.

The EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn expressed support for Lajcak and insisted that his plan is in line with the EU's principles.

"I strongly encourage all political parties to continue to work constructively with Mr. Lajcak on the basis of his proposal and reach a comprehensive agreement without delay," he said in the statement.

But,the president of the Party for Bosnia (SBIH) and a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic said : "Those (EU) principles were completely denied in Lajcak's proposal."

Bosnia completed a final round of stabilisation and association agreement talks with the European Union in December, but was asked to finalise the police reforms before being allowed to sign it.


ST.LOUIS, USA (September 1,2007) — The Bosnian president Zeljko Komsic praised the thriving Bosnian immigrant community in St.Louis as Bosnia's "best connection" to the American economy.

In a speech before the World Affairs Council of St. Louis at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel,he appealed for business investment in Bosnia.President Zeljko Komsic and his wife, Sabina, are spending four days in St. Louis during their 11-day visit to the United States. Highlights include attendance at the fourth annual Bosnian Heritage Festival in St.Louis.

Bosnian government officials say the 40,000 or more Bosnian-Americans in St. Louis constitute the largest Bosnian community in the United States. Most of them came to the United states during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Komsic called the United States, with its stew of many national origins, a "role model" for Bosnia's efforts to overcome ethnic conflicts.

"Bosnia must be a country that guarantees rights to its citizens regardless of ethnic, religious or cultural identities.You are a role model for our country. ... You have managed to make this work," Komsic said.

Referring to the Bosnian community in St.Louis, he said, "I want to thank the tens of thousands of hard-working Bosnian immigrants in St. Louis for being the best connection between our countries, and for fostering better understanding and communication."

Local Bosnian-Americans like Adnan Sabic said the impact of the dignitary's rare visit is huge.

"It is nice that they come so we can make connections with them and maybe they can learn from us and we can learn from them," Sabic said.

Komsic also thanked the United States for its key role in ending the war and helping Bosnia form its own democracy.

In his 10-minute address, he said Bosnia "is seeking partnerships for fostering economic development." After he spoke, other representatives of the Bosnian government offered more detailed explanations of opportunity for American investors.

President Komsic arrived Aug. 24 in New York for visits with United Nations officials.He also spoke yestyerday to a dinner honoring Sabah, a weekly Bosnian-American newspaper with offices in St.Louis. He is to attend a Bosnian soccer tournament today and the Bosnian Heritage Festival on Sunday.

Komsic also is to visit St. Joseph Croatian Catholic Church in St.Louis. This is the second visit to St. Louis by a president of Bosnia.Former Bosnian President Sulejman Tihic made a one-day stop here in 2004.

Komsic, a graduate of Georgetown University, fought with the Bosnian Army during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia and was awarded the Golden Lily, Bosnia's highest military honor. He was the chief municipal official of New Sarajevo before being elected the President Of Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 1,2007) – The OSCE Mission to Bosnia continues to support a peer-to-peer training programme for members of student councils from primary and secondary schools from Bratunac, Milici, Srebrenica and Vlasenica. The second round of training is taking place from 31 August to 2 September 2007.

The first round of training held from 19-22 August in Srebrenica gathered 31 students from both main and larger branch schools. The training provided basic skills and knowledge on how to form and activate a student council. Furthermore, the training offered the current pool of peer educators from throughout Bosnia the opportunity to use their skills and become acquainted with students in this area.

The topics presented through interactive workshops included the roles and responsibilities of student councils, team work and leadership, communication skills, conflict resolution, as well as the essentials on project proposals writing.

The aim of the project is to enhance understanding of student council roles and responsibilities, to provide the basic knowledge needed for development of democratic procedures within student councils. It also aims to improve communication between mono-ethnically oriented schools in the area and among youth in general.

The OSCE capacity building project encourages new peer educators to apply the gained skills through implementation of projects within the small grants scheme that will be launched this month.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 1,2007) – US Ambassador to Bosnia Douglas McElhaney called again the main political leaders in Bosnia to show some political will in order to reach an agreement on police reform in September,prior to intensification of negotiations on constitutional reform.

”I am of the opinion that we should conclude the talks on the issue in September. It will be an important test for all the parties. They are to show their willingness to cooperate in the process”, the US Ambassador told the press.

He warned that, in the case an agreement is not reached in September, Bosnia would lose another year and would not be able to sign the SAA with the European Union in 2007.

McElhaney said that there is nothing in the police reform that should pose a threat to anyone. He added that the reform only means one big step forward.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 1,2007) - The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) confirmed in Sarajevo it arrested three Serbians living in Bosnia during this week.They are suspected of war crimes comitted in the Bosnian village of Kalinovik, some 20 kilometres south-east of the Bosnian capitol Sarajevo.

The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency said it detained on Tuesday Nedjo Zeljaja, 60, and Djordjislav Askraba, 56, both suspected of war crimes against the Bosnian population of Kalinovik in the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Nedjo Zeljaja was wartime commander of a Serbian aggressor's police unit, while Askraba was warden of a detention facility in the village, through which more than 1,000 Bosnian civilians passed and where more than 260 were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

Ratko Bundalo, 63,a former member of the Serbian aggressor's forces, was the third suspect arrested in connection with atrocities committed in the area of the village of Kalinovik in 1992,SIPA said in a statement.

The action was ordered by the Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 1,2007) - Representatives of Bosnia and the World Bank signed yesterday in Sarajevo financing agreements for several projects amounting in total to nearly $35 million, the World Bank said in a statement.

Two new projects and two supplemental financing agreements for existing projects would be financed from soft loans signed with the World Bank, according to the statement. The soft loans would support investments in agriculture and rural development, urban infrastructure, forest development and conservation, as well as preparedness against an avian influenza outbreak.

Some $21 million in credit would be invested in agriculture and rural development to “strengthen the capacity of the Bosnian state and entity institutions in delivering more efficient and effective agricultural services,” World Bank country manager for Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli said.

The credit agreement would also accelerate Bosnia's eligibility to access funds under a European Union scheme for countries wishing to join the 27-member bloc, Mantovanelli said.

Nearly $3.5 million would go for forest development projects, while the bird-flu preparedness project and the urban infrastructure project would be financed with $5 million each. The projects are financed through "soft loans" with no interest and a 25-year repayment period, including a 10-year grace period. The World Bank currently supports 16 projects in Bosnia worth over $300 million.