Thursday, November 29, 2007


BRUSSELS, Belgium (November 29,2007) – The Mostar Declaration and the Sarajevo Agreement could be the basis for initialing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union.This was revealed by the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, as he met in Brussels with the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.

Lajcak said, after a meeting with the European Parliament's Foreign Policy Council, that the goal of Bosnia is to continue integrating into the European Union.He confirmed his readiness to use his “authority as long as the political and institutional deadlock exists.”

Welcoming the willingness of the most influential political parties in Bosni to return to the EU agenda, Lajcak and Rehn stressed the need to normalize the political situation in the country and get back to work.

The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak met with the European Commissioner for Enlargement as part of a one-day visit to the EU capital, where he also addressed the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

The Action Plan agreed by party leaders in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on 23 November builds on the Mostar declaration and is a further step in the right direction, but it is too early to provide an assessment of the process,Lajcak said.

“The objective must be to improve the political situation and focus on the reform agenda. Discussion, agreement and comprise is the European way”, Lajcak said following his meeting with Commissioner Rehn.

In his address to EU parliamentarians, Lajcak provided an assessment of the economic and political situation in Bosnia, arguing that the European integration process is the best way to reform the country’s systems of administration and government.

By failing to reach an agreement on police reform in September, political leaders in Bosnia rejected a commitment they made to the EU two years ago. It is in this context that the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak acted on 19 October to enhance the functionality of the Bosnian Government and Parliament.

“If there is no European process to improve the functionality of the Bosnian state, this can and must be addressed through the existing framework of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” Lajcak said.

The measures will enable the Bosnian Government and the legislature to tackle the huge backlog of business that must be dispatched to address Bosnia’s pressing social and economic needs, as well as the massive legislative agenda that accompanies EU integration, Lajcak said.

He also made clear that, as soon as Bosnia's political leaders start to resolve the political gridlock in Bosnia on their own, it will no longer be necessary for interventions by the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia,Lajcak said.

"The International Community is not just a bystander in the politics of Bosnia ; it has invested enormous financial and political capital in the rebuilding of the country and its institutions; it is a guarantor of the settlement that has maintained peace in the country for more than a decade, and it must show that it continues to take this duty seriously," the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak concluded.


PARIS, France (November 29,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic had a meeting in Paris,France, with members of the Bosnian and French Parliaments’ Group of Friendship.They exchanged opinions on the current political situation in Bosnia and in the region.

President Komsic talked about Bosnia’s determination to put in efforts to strengthen the entire scope of relationships between the two countries; starting with economy, politics, etc.

Commenting the current political situation in Bosnia, President Komsic said that the country is currently facing crisis and that the responsibility lies upon Bosnia's political leaders, for they are responsible, as bearers of parliamentary majority, to end the crisis.

President Komsic expressed support to the measures of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia and added that these measures are aimed at the strengthening of the Bosnian Government.

”The fact that Bosnia has been left out of the stabilization and association processes gave rise to a bitter feeling with the Bosnian citizens”, President Komsic emphasized and added that it is necessary for Bosnia to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union under some milder conditions, like has recently been the case with Serbia.

President o the Group of Friendship, Member of Parliament Francois Lamy, as well as all other members of the French Parliament, including Patrick Bloche, a delegate from Paris, emphasized that Bosnia has a full support of France to enter the European Union and expressed understanding with the attitudes of the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic on the need of an accelerated association of Bosnia to the EU.

President Komsic called his collocutors to be active bearers of all kinds of association and cooperation between Bosnia and France.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 29,2007) – A former member of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija has been sentenced by the Bosnian State Court to 28 years’ imprisonment for the participation in the mass murder of Bosnian civilians and the rape of one Bosnian woman during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija was found guilty yesterday by the Bosnian State Court of of having committed a series of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Sanski Most area in the north-western part of Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The specific charges against Serbian war criminal Jadranko Palija included his participation in the mass murder of Bosnian civilians who had been taken by the genocidal Serbian aggressor from Begici hamlet, near Kljevci village, to a nearby bridge following an attack on May 31, 1992.

He was also found guilty of the rape of a Bosnian woman in summer 1992, and of torture of Bosnian and Croatian civilians between 1993-95.

Pronouncing the verdict, the presiding judge, Minka Kreho, said that the Bosnian State Court considered that the sentence "is adequate bearing in mind the consequences" of the defendant’s crimes.

Earlier, in his closing arguments, defence attorney Ranko Dakic denied the allegations contained in the indictment, and said the witnesses, in particular Raif Begic, who said he had survived the killings at Vrhpolje bridge, were unreliable.

The Bosnian State Court dismissed the defence claim.

Queuing for death, witness Raif Begic watched other Bosnian civilians being mass murdered. After saving his life by jumping into the river, he continued to watch the killings, Kreho said.

Bosnia's war crimes court was set up in 2005 to take over some of the workload of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (November 29,2007) – The Bosnian State Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons passed a decision on allocation of the remaining funds aimed for the use in the projects of reconstruction in the last year and the funds approved for solving the problems of refugees in the amount of about 11 million Bosnian Marks for this year.

The Commission will ask the Bosnian Council of Ministers and the Bosnian Presidency to ensure the funds collected through the value added tax (VAT) for the reconstruction of devastated houses. The amount of money needed for that purpose is 600 million Bosnian Marks. Additional 400 million Bosnian Marks is needed for the purpose of ensuring a sustainable return.

President of the Commission Slavko Marin stated at a press conference after the session held in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka that the implementation of projects worth about 54.800.000 Bosnian Marks has been planned and that the total of 49,495,000 Bosnian Marks has been invested into the reconstruction of 2.199 homes.

Marin stated that a decision has been made on allocating the amount of 3,7 million Bosnian Marks for ensuring the reconstruction of homes for 150 families. The Development Bank partly supported the project aimed to solve the issues of families living in alternative centres.

The decisions adopted will become operative next week.


SOFIA, Bulgaria (November 29,2007) – Heads of governments of the Central European Initiative (CEI) member countries held a meeting in Sofia,Bulgaria. That is the oldest regional initiative in this part of Europe. The main topic was regionalization of the Initiative.

Although announced, Bosnia's Prime Minister in resignation Nikola Spiric’s attendance did not take place. The Bosnian coordinator for Central European Initiative (CEI) Zlatko Dizdarevic addressed participants of the meeting on behalf of the Bosnian delegation.

He emphasized that Bosnia supports the future activities of the Initiative which is an efficient like between the nine CEI member countries that are only a part of the EU, but in different integration phases.

He emphasized the Bosnia’s readiness to continue putting in efforts which will result in overcoming of the interior problems in Bosnia, so that the country’s way to the EU membership is made faster.

The summit was resided by Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergej Stanisev. Bulgaria has ended the CEI presidency mandate and Moldova is to take over.

CEI member countries are Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia,Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova,Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia,Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 29,2007) – The Austrian government has been successfully implementing the project entitled “Support to the Higher Education in Bosnia”. The projects so far implemented are worth 1,5 million Bosnian Marks.

The project is financed through Austrian Development Cooperation and through the World University Service.Results will be officially presented in Sarajevo on November 30. The “Course Development Program +” (CDP+) and “eLearning-eContent Program” awards will be presented as well.

The Austrian Ambassador to Bosnia Werner Almhofer will present the awards to the most successful of students and will address the participants.In the two years of successful realization of the projects, 39 courses at all universities in Bosnia have been successfully modified and aligned with the Bologna Process.

The program worth 600.000 Bosnian Marks has been introduced as a measure of support in the process of aligning the Bosnian courses with the Bologna standards.