Friday, September 28, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – Ambassador of Great Britain to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft warned yesterday Bosnia's political leaders that the International Community could consider an option of returning to the old approach of imposing the solutions if no agreement on police reform is achieved.

”If no agreement on police reform is achieved, we will need to think about our role here. That could mean the return to the old-fashioned model of removing the obstacles and imposing the solutions”, Ambassador Rycroft said.

He opened this possibility at the “Open Parliament”, held yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. The event was organized by Transparency International.

Emphasizing the data from the new Global Corruption Index, Ambassador Rycroft said that the Report states that Bosnia is one of the most corrupt countries.

He emphasized that it is vital that the corruption problem is dealt with as soon as possible, for if the important issues are postponed, it will become even more difficult to deal with them later.

Several reforms need to be implemented ion order for the issue to be solved. A good structure and laws that truly function in reality are necessary for a country to function.

”Auditor’s Office functions well in Bosnia. However, implementation of their decisions needs to be insured”, Ambassador Rycroft said.

”He added that the responsibility for solving the corruption issue is in the hands of Bosnia's leaders, not the International Community. The international representatives are the ones to ensure help in the process”, Rycrof said.

Deputy Speaker at the Bosnian Parliament’s House of Representatives, Niko Lozancic, stated that Bosnia is certainly not a functional country.

He said that if everybody truly loved this country, nobody would wait for things to happen. We would all act and take some of the responsibility.

The Open Parliament was organized so that the prominent experts from Bosnia and abroad would talk about the issues of the rule of law and corruption.

One of the leading experts in the field, Professor David Chandler, attended the session.

He has written many works on Bosnia's development and talked at this session about a transparent and a responsible government.

The Open parliament was organized with the support of the British embassy to Bosnia and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – The fourth round of technical talks on Bosnian police reform, held in Banja Luka, has again ended without any results.

Experts from the eight leading political parties in Bosnia said after the meeting at the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) in Banja Luka that agreement has not been reached on a single of the five issues that were discussed, but that they did agree to continue talks in Sarajevo on Friday.

The International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated after shortly attending the meeting that he expects an agreement on police reform to be reached by Sunday.

”I think nobody has any illusions as to where we are now and how serious the situation is”, Lajcak told the press.


ISTANBUL, Turkey (September 28,2007) – Haris Silajdzic,a member of the Bosnian Presidency held a meeting in Istanbul with the Turkish president Abdullah Gül at the Dolmabahce palace.

The focus of the meeting was placed upon the current political situation in Bosnia and in the region, as well as the economic cooperation between the two countries.

Silajdzic said that the Bosnian economic development cannot go at a faster pace because of the complex political system. He informed the Turkish President about the current political events in Bosnia and the halt in police reform.

They also talked about the political situation in the region. President Gul emphasized that Turkey and Bosnia are friendly countries and that Turkey has always tried to advocate the Bosnian interests.

”I have been closely monitoring the developments in the region”, President Gul said.

The two officials concluded that the bilateral relations between Bosnia and Turkey are good but can be made better through economic cooperation.


NEW YORK ,USA (September 28,2007) - The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a meeting in New york.The Bosnian President Komsic has appreciated Iran for its support for the people of Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Iran was among the few nations who determinedly supported the Bosnian nation during the conflict,Komsic said in a meeting with the Iranian President.

President Komsic also briefed the Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the recent developments in Bosnia and said his country is determined to go on with its EU and NATO membership bid.

Ahmadinejad, for his part, said Iran would always stand by Bosnia, and that Bosnia's progress towards its strategic goals, despite all obstacles, was a source of happiness for Tehran.

”Iran understands and supports Bosnia’s efforts to enter the EU. Iran will still support Bosnia and will strengthen the ties with Bosnia, especially in the sector of economy,” the Iranian President said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – A two-day Conference on Bosnia's roads began in Sarajevo yesterday.The conference is organized by the Bosnian Association of Consultant Engineers.

During the Conference, all the important issues related to the construction of roads will be analyzed, as well as the activities planned for the next 20 years.

According to the EU criteria from 2003, Bosnia should have at least 850 kilometers of roads.

Representatives from Bosnia, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey will participate. Seven sessions will be held.

The participants will also discuss the Land – Peljesac bridge. Participants are of the opinion that Bosnia and Croatia can easily solve all the problems related to the issue.

The Bosnian Ministry of Communications and Traffic is the main sponsor of the Conference


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – CIA Director Michael Hayden visited Bosnia.During his visit, Hayden visited the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) headquarters.

During a meeting with the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency officials, a good cooperation was emphasized between SIPA and CIA.The officials also agreed further activities in the field of advancement of cooperation and joint participation in fight against organized crime.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The Appellate Panel of Section II for Organised Crime, Economic Crime, and Corruption of the Bosnian State Court issued a decision on appeals against the Trial Panel’s verdict rendered of 17 November 2006 in the case of former bosnian President Dragan Covic and Others.

The decision upholds the appeals filed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office and defence counsel for Dragan Covic, revokes the Trial Panel’s verdict and orders a retrial before the Appellate Panel.

The decision states that the appeals were upheld on the basis of essential violations of criminal procedure provisions.

On 17 November 2006, the Trial Panel handed down the first instance verdict in this case, finding Dragan Covic guilty of Abuse of office or official authority and sentencing him to five years imprisonment.

The Panel acquitted Dragan Covic, Jozo Ivankovic – Lijanovic, Slavo Ivankovic – Lijanovic, Mladen Ivankovic – Lijanovic, Jerko Ivankovic – Lijanovic, Mato Tadic, and Zdravko Lucic of the remaining charges in the indictment.

As the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office did not file appeals in relation to the Accused Mato Tadic and Zdravko Lucic, their acquittals by the Trial Panel have become final.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic and Head of the NATO’s Department for Defensive Planning Frank Boland harmonised in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo the document on defining partnership objectives for Bosnia, which will be delivered to all NATO member states, the Bosnian Ministry of Defence stated.

The document has been harmonised after two days of work by NATO experts from Brussels, representatives of the Bosnian Defence Ministry, the Bosnian Armed Forces, the Bosnian Ministry ofn Security, the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bosnian Ministry of Finance.

The Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process (PARP) document for 2007 has been prepared based on NATO guidelines.

The partnership objectives, which will be adjusted to Bosnia, will be prepared after NATO experts discuss this document.

This is the first PARP cycle for Bosnia. All countries that aspired to joining NATO had to go through these procedures.


NEW YORK, USA (September 28,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic addressed the UN General Assembly in New York.Here is a part of that address:

"You are all well aware that my country has in the recent past paid a high price for the imperfect and inefficient UN system. The UN alone have admitted that mistake and underlined in their Report on Srebrenica that the 'UN experience in Bosnia was one of the most difficult and painful in the history of this organisation' and that the 'Srebrenica tragedy will haunt us forever'.

The International Court of Justice, a UN court, passed a verdict on 26.02.2007 concerning Bosnia's lawsuit against Serbia and Montenegro for genocide. The Court ruled that genocide was committed against the Bosniaks in and around Srebrenica in the eastern Bosnia. You will agree that this was not an isolated case. It is for these reasons that Bosnia is fully committed, together with the dominant majority of the member states, to the necessary reform of the UN.

Bosnia thinks that only a strong UN can be an efficient instrument for collective regulation of international relations based on the UN Charter and international law. Besides necessary reform of the Security Council, further work is also needed on the revitalisation of the UN General Assembly and its committees, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat and other bodies.

I wish to stress that it is the interest of Bosnia – if reform results in the increase of the number of non-permanent members of the Security Council – that the East European Group be given one more seat.

Bosnia as a multiethnic and multiconfessional country with its historic legacy, having survived the failures of the international community, primarily the UN, which have carried serious consequences for my country, but also positive experiences in the post-war development of peace and in cooperation with UN officials, bodies and agencies, can significantly contribute to the UN becoming an efficient instrument in the regulation of international affairs. My country thinks that there can be no peace and security without economic and social development. It still stands at the position that the Security Council should remain an unavoidable body of international cooperation in the field of peace and progress in the rights of all nations.

I come from a country which has moved from a post-conflict phase to a phase of building a modern democratic society and integration with European and transatlantic structures. My country is therefore fully committed to the strengthening of international cooperation at the regional, European and global level.

I can say with great pleasure today that BiH is an active participant in all initiatives and processes of regional cooperation in Southeast Europe.

Bosnia is building relations with the neighbouring countries based on equality, full independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Bosnia has adopted the position of non-involvement in the internal matters of the neighbouring countries and thinks that the solution to the problem of Kosovo needs to be pursued through dialogue between the interested parties. Bosnia supports dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and is willing to support the search for a solution within the framework of regional initiatives.

BiH has also made significant advances at the wider international stage.BiH authorities are permanently committed to full cooperation with the ICTY. All indicted war criminals from the territory of the former Yugoslavia must be arrested.

ICTY should not close before the most wanted indicted war criminals, namely Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are arrested.Bosnia supports all activities and peace initiatives directed towards prevention of conflict.

We are confident that the strengthening of the multilateralism of the UN can lead to efficient measures in the prevention of armed conflicts.

Bosnia urges all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq to abandon sectarian divisions and to actively join political processes and that joint efforts of the international community and the Iraqi government encourage comprehensive national political dialogue.

Considering the potentially catastrophic consequences of the further escalation of the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program, Bosnia welcomes the readiness of Iran to cooperate fully with the International Agency for Nuclear Energy and to engage in political dialogue with the key players.

The Bosnian foreign policy is directed towards the preservation and promotion of lasting peace, security, a stable democratic and comprehensive state development and to contributing to international peace and security," the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic said in his address before the UN General Assembly.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) – SDA Party delegates, as well as the SBiH and SDP BiH Party delegates, formulated joint conclusions at the emergency session of the FBIH Entity Parliament’s House of Representatives that was held on Wednesday. The session solely focused on the police reform.

The SDA and SBiH suggested joint conclusions at first, and the opposition party SDP added some of their own. These conclusions were made a document and were sent to the delegates for procedure.

Majority of delegates approved the conclusions. Majority of the political parties of the croatians living in Bosnia did not support the conclusions, as well as the Bosnian Patriotic Party “Sefer Halilovic” delegates.

The conclusions state that the FBIH Entity Parliament's House of Representatives asks the Bosnian Council of Ministers, the OHR and all the representatives participating in the process of police reform negotiations, to ensure the implementation of the three basic EU principles: that all legislative and budget jurisdictions are passed to the state level, that police work is not interfered with politics and that the functional police jurisdiction and competences are to be determined on the basis of the technical criteria. The operative command is to be formed at the local level.

The FBIH Entity Parliament expects all the participants in the police reform to accelerate the reform, fully respecting the EU principles and the European Parliament’s Resolution passed March 15 2007.

As a part of the FBIH Entity Parliament, one of the legislative organs in Bosnia which has accepted the Agreement on Reorganization of Police Structures, HoR demands an efficient implementation of the process of police reform and its synchronization with the Bosnian state institutions, in accordance with the constitutional and legislative jurisdictions, obligations and responsibilities, for the benefit of all the Bosnian citizens.

Keeping in mind the importance of police reform, active and coordinated relationship with the International Community, the High Representative, NATO and Elections commission is of the essence.

This emergency session was held a week prior to the High Representative’s address to the FBIH Entity Parliament’s delegates.The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak is to address the assembly October 2.

Some information have leaked that Lajcak could pass the address on Tuesday, but the OHR announced that the speech will be postponed.

38 delegates of the FBIH Entity Parliament’s House of Representatives demanded the emergency session on September 14.

At the beginning of the session, SBiH delegate Mehmed Zilic stated that Lajcak’s document is unacceptable.

He said that the protocol is contradictory in certain segments. It is clear that it foresees the survival of the genocidal "police" of the Serbians living in Bosnia ("the RS police") and that the FBIH police will be eliminated.

Mate Franjicevic, on behalf of the Croat parties’ coalitions, stated that Lajcak’s document should be approved.

The FBIH Entity Parliament is to further discuss the police reform at the October 2 session, when the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia is to address the delegates.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The defence teams of the 11 Serbian war criminals charged with genocide before the Bosnian State Court, have announced that they want to invite Serbian war criminals indicted and convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague to testify.

The list of potential witnesses drawn up by Borislav Jamina, defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Branislav Medan, includes, among others, ICTY Srebrenica genocide indictees Ljubisa Beara, Zdravko Tolimir and Milan Gvero, as well as Serbian war criminal Radislav Krstic (convicted to 35 years imprisonment) and Serbian war criminal Vidoje Blagojevic (sentenced by a first instance verdict to 18 years imprisonment for genocide committed by the Serbian aggressor in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica).

Serbian war criminal Ljubisa Beara has already been included in other potential witnesses lists, but the Trial Chamber was informed that he refused to testify. Attorney Jamina considers that these people are "a source of information" and that their refusal to testify should not represent a problem.

"I do not know about Beara, but I think that many of these witnesses are the citizens of Bosnia. I would not say that they have the choice to refuse to testify," Jamina has explained.

The Prosecution considers that the 11 members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) guarded, in the Bosnian village of Sandici on 13 July 1995, several thousand captured Bosnian civilians, who were then driven to concentration camps or executed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.

In addition, the Bosnian State Prosecutor charges the 11 Serbian war criminals with the murder of around 1,000 Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian village of Kravica.

Two defence teams have examined two more witnesses. Slobodan Mijatovic,former member of the genocidal Serbian formations, has said that he was guarding and escorting former VRS commander,Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic - now a ICTY fugitive - on 13 July 1995. Mijatovic has recalled that Serbian war criminal Mladic visited the Bosnian civilians held by VRS on a meadow in the village of Sandici.

"Mladic told them not to worry. He also said that their families had been taken in the desired directions and that they would join as soon as the transportation was organised. Applause followed and people started shouting 'Cheerio!'," the witness said, adding that he did not see any policemen, because the Bosnian civilians were "guarded" by the VRS.

Mijatovic has said that, in the evening of the same day, he passed by the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica but he did not "notice anything unusual".

During cross-examination, the Bosnian State Prosecutor Ibro Bulic presented the witness with the statement he gave to the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) on 8 September 2006. According to this statement, on 13 July 1995 Mijatovic passed by Kravica and saw "a large group of soldiers" and he "supposed" that the Bosnian civilians, whom he had seen in Sandici earlier, were killed on that location.

The witness has not denied this part of the statement.

The trial is due to continue on 3 October, when four defence witnesses will be examined.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - Although he was given permission to defend himself while on bail, the Bosnian State Court ordered to police to arrest Serbian war criminal Rajko Vukovic,again.He is charged with war crimes committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

On 19 September, the Bosnian State Court rendered a decision allowing Vukovic to defend himself while on bail and ordering certain prohibiting measures.But,the Bosnian State Prosecutor filed a complaint against the decision.

Partially acknowledging the Prosecution's complaint, the Bosnian state Court has rendered a decision ordering custody for Serbian war criminal Rajko Vukovic that "may last until the completion of the main trial, but not beyond 26 September 2010".

"There are some indications that, if released, the indictee may hinder the criminal proceeding by influencing the witnesses and accessories," the Bosnian State Court announcement reads.

Serbian war criminals Ranko and Rajko Vukovic are charged with having participated in the persecution of Bosnian civilians from Foca municipality and with having participated in "a joint criminal enterprise" with the aim of "depriving other people of their lives".

Serbian war criminal Rajko Vukovic was first arrested in Foca area on 11 July this year.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The Bosnian Border Police Officers and the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) Officers took part in a Strategic Crimes Analysis training session provided by Europol’s Serious Crime Department from 17 to 26 September. The course provided them with detailed information on how to analyze crime and criminal networks at a national level.

“This training had been seen as a priority by the European Union Police Mission to Bosnia (EUPM) for quite a while and the Mission agreed to pay for the trainers’ travel and accommodation expenses,” explained Hamish Fink, EUPM’s Human Resource and ICU Adviser to SIPA.

“EUPM and SIPA have translated all the material associated with the course, which is substantial, and we have also provided language assistants to translate during the course,” he went on, adding that SIPA themselves provided accommodation and work material for the training.

The students who successfully completed the course received certificates.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak told leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia to stop isolationist policies that were blocking Bosnia's progress towards European integration.

Lajcak addressed members of parliament of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("the RS") as part of campaigning to win approval for his plan to reform ethnically separate police forces and remove a key obstacle for Bosnia to sign an association agreement with the European Union.

Lajcak warned the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("the RS") to stop behaving as a state within a state, specifically within the economy.

"According to the Bosnian constitution,'the RS' has its place in Bosnia and this must be respected,but I cannot ignore the fact that there is almost no Bosnia in 'the RS'," Lajcak said.

The Serbians living in Bosnia fear they will lose a great deal of autonomy if their police become part of the Bosnian state-wide force, while Bosnians complain that Lajcak's plan falls short of unifying the police forces in Bosnia, as originally planned under a EU-sponsored reform.

Lajcak said the reform had nothing to do with the issue of Bosnia's internal organization.

Lajcak also warned against what he said was obstruction by the Serbians living in Bosnia of key reform legislation in the Bosnian Parliament.

"The choice is yours,you will either continue to opt for isolationist solutions and limit your own prospective in that way or you will be a driving economic force with positive effects for the economy of Bosnia," Lajcak said.

The Prime Minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("the RS") Milorad Dodik reiterated that Serbians living in Bosnia would not approve any reform that would deprive them of having their own police force, regardless of consequences.

But,Lajcak said that consequences would surely follow unless the police reform had been agreed by September 30.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia said yesterday they had handed over the full responsibility for mine clearance to the Bosnian Army, as a sign of a growing confidence in Bosnia's post-war institutions.

"The ownership and responsibility for all demining activities in Bosnia brings with it a sense of pride and progress for the armed forces" of the country, the statement from the EUFOR said.

EUFOR will also transfer ownership of demining equipment, vehicles, ground penetrating machines and the mine detection dogs, it added.

Almost 12 years since 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia ended, landmines still litter more than four percent of the country's territory, representing some 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles).

Some 1,500 accidents involving landmines and other explosives have since killed more than 400 people. A fifth of the victims have been under 18.

The work on mine clearance and removal of unexploded ordnance would be undertaken by newly established joint demining battalion.

However, "EUFOR will continue to support their demining activities offering advice and assistance to ensure a sustainable and effective demining organization," the statement from the EUFOR added.

Due to the improved security situation, the EU this year reduced its EUFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia from 6,500 to some 2,500.

EUFOR, which took over from a NATO peacekeeping mission in 2004, is charged with military tasks set out in the Dayton peace accords that ended Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The Bosnian National Football Team Coach Fuad Muzurović has named three newcomers in his 20-man squad for Bosnia's EURO 2008 qualifiers against Greece and Norway.

Defenders Semir Merzić and Ante Aračić will get the chance to impress along with forward Sejad Salihović as Bosnia faces Greece in Athens on 13 October before taking on Norway in Sarajevo four days later.

Muzurović reckons successive defeats by Hungary and Moldova have ended his side's Group C chances, saying: "Our aim now is to play the best we can and to get some decent results."

Bosnia squad:

Goalkeepers: Adnan Gušo (CS Pandurii Lignitul Târgu Jiu).

Defenders: Džemal Berberović (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Branimir Bajić (TuS Koblenz), Safet Nadarević (NK Zagreb), Ivan Radeljić (NK Slaven Koprivnica), Ante Aračić (FC Molenbeek Brussels Strombeek), Samir Merzić (FK Teplice).

Midfielders: Mirko Hrgović (HNK Hajduk Split), Zvjezdan Misimović (1. FC Nürnberg), Elvir Rahimić (PFC CSKA Moskva), Darko Maletić (FK Partizan), Branislav Krunić (FC Moskva).

Forwards: Sejad Salihović (TSG Hoffenheim), Vedad Ibišević (TSG Hoffenheim), Edin Džeko (VfL Wolsfburg), Adnan Čustović (R. Excelsior Mouscron), Zlatan Muslimović (Atalanta BC), Senijad Ibričić (NK Zagreb), Dragan Blatnjak (FC Khimki), Admir Vladavić (MŠK Zilina).


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - For the past two years, Delaware 4-Hers have opened their homes to Bosnian teens, as part of the Bosnia Youth Leadership Program. Now, the Bosnians are playing the role of host to four Delaware 4-H members departed for Bosnia on Sept. 23 for a two-week visit.

The 4-H youth organization, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension System, was founded in 1902 by A. B. Graham in Clark County, Ohio, and now serves over 9 million members in the U.S. in almost 100,000 clubs from kindergarten through high school and various other programming.

It is a club for young people in third through twelfth grades sponsored by the Extension Service to foster agricultural, homemaking and other skills. The four H’s stand for “head, heart, hands, and health.”

Guided by state 4-H Extension educators Mark Manno and Katy Daly, as well as Kathy DiSabatino, a teacher and 4-H volunteer, the teens are crisscrossing the country, visiting Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, Tuzla and Livno. In most locations, the'll be staying with host families.

The Delaware 4-Hers will meet with Bosnian civic leaders and elected officials; make presentations at Bosnian schools and community centers; and attend a youth conference. Plus, they hope to squeeze in visits to museums and tourist attractions, including the Olympic facilities at the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The U.S. State Department initiated the Bosnia Youth Leadership Program in 1999 to train the future leaders of Bosnia as it continues to recover from the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions.

Each year since, selected Bosnian teens have traveled to the U.S. for a month-long stay. In 2006, Delaware 4-H became responsible for organizing and executing the program. The current trip marks the first time that the U.S. State Department has permitted U.S. teens to travel to Bosnia.

“I'm excited that Delaware 4-Hers have been given the opportunity to participate in this groundbreaking cultural exchange,” said Manno, who is making his fourth visit to Bosnia.

“They will witness firsthand the many ways that Bosnia is moving forward as a nation, as well as the social and economic challenges that the next generation must tackle.

“Few Americans travel to the destinations on our itinerary,” Manno added. “These kids are well aware that they will be serving not only as ambassadors of 4-H, but of our nation.”

A key component of the trip is to re-connect with the Bosnian teens who traveled to Delaware in 2006 or earlier this spring. Upon their return home, each teen was responsible for creating a community service project. “The Bosnian youth were trained using a 4-H model called TRY (Teens Reaching Youth),” Manno said.

“All of our Delaware travelers have project leadership experience and will be able to assist the Bosnian teens as they work to make their projects self-sustaining.The 4-H members will be just as much of a resource as I will be,” Manno said.

The entire travel delegation has studied up for the journey. Assigned readings, projects and meetings have kept the group busy since August,

“The books we read in preparation for this trip were a great help to me,” said chaperone Kathy DiSabatino of Dagsboro, Del. “One book, in particular, was not an easy read; it covered the history of Bosnia from the 1st century until 1992. I don't feel like I'm an expert by any means, but I certainly know much more now than I did before.”

Delaware 4-Hers (from left) Margot Miller of Wilmington, Jordan Reardon of Newark, Stephanie Bailey of Smyrna and Johnny Vann of Newark are on a two-week tour of Bosnia

A Sept. 14 trip to Washington, D.C., also contributed to the delegation's knowledge of Bosnia. The group left Newark, Del.,to begin a whirlwind schedule of visits with high-level U.S. and Bosnian leaders, including Chuck English, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Bosnia,and Darko Zelenika, the deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of Bosnia to the United States.

“Both embassies made it clear that we are ambassadors at the grass roots level that the Delaware 4-Hers and the experiences they share with the Bosnian youth will help to provide their country with hope for the future,” DiSabatino said.

“It really put me in a state of awe to think that this program could make a difference in the future of some of the towns of Bosnia, and maybe even the country, as we help to form its future leaders,” he said.

“It wasn't until this day in Washington that it hit me I was really going to Bosnia as one of the first teenage ambassadors from the U.S.,” said Stephanie Bailey, a 16-year-old 4-Her from Smyrna, Del.

Bailey said she applied to the program to broaden her view of other peoples and cultures. In her suitcase are fitting gifts for her host families - books about Delaware and photos of state landmarks. In her carry-on is something she considers as vital as air and water - an iPod loaded with tunes.

“I think I'd go crazy on an eight-hour flight without it,” Bailey said, with a laugh.

In that respect, Bailey won't find things very different in Bosnia. “Bosnian teens are just as crazy about music as teens here,” Manno said.

When the delegation returns in early October, they'll travel to 4-H club meetings and community events throughout the state, sharing what they've learned with other Delawareans.