Wednesday, December 5, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – Bosnia initialed yesterday the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union (EU), the first step for Bosnia towards the EU membership.

The agreement was initialed by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric.

"I am glad to be here in Sarajevo today, on such an important day, when Bosnia is taking a new step towards its future," Rehn said in a statement.

"I would like to congratulate the people and the leaders of the country for this. Bosnia has worked hard on achieving this result," Rehn said.

The initialing ceremony was scheduled to be attended by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Filipe Marques Amado, whose country chairs the European Union during the second half of this year.

However, the two top diplomats were forced to cancel their trip to Bosnia because the plane they took was unable to land at the Sarajevo airport due to fog.

Rehn said a formal signing of the accord would depend on further reforms.

Rehn stressed that the agreement with the EU will bring concrete benefits to Bosnia.

"It provides for the establishment of a free trade area and for the strengthening of the ties between the EU and Bosnia. Thus bringing economic benefits to the country, the SAA is also the gateway to candidate status, provided the agreement is properly implemented," said the EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn.

The international community's High Representative and the EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, said that the signing of the SAA deal has "a great symbolic importance after months-long crisis."

He congratulated Bosnia's officials and citizens, but reminded them that much work still has to be done before full EU membership.

Rehn's decision came after the Bosnian State Parliament on Friday adopted new voting rules aimed at streamlining its work, opening the way to defuse the worst political crisis in the country since its 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The European Union initialed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Bosnia after Bosnia's political leaders adopted an action plan on police reform.

The police reform aims at the integration of the country's two ethnically divided police forces.

The measure had for years been the main pre-condition of the EU for Bosnia to sign the SAA, the first step to the EU membership.

Based on the preliminary political deal on police reform, the Bosnian Government is now supposed to draft a plan to finally set up police bodies at the state level, as the EU wants.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – Spanish Major General Ignacio Martin Villalain took over the command of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR).

"We will keep the capacities that enable us to deploy out forces wherever it is necessary and to quickly respond to any threat to peace," Villalain said at a take-over ceremony in the EUFOR base in Butmir near the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

General Villalain, 60-year-old, replaced German Rear Admiral Hans-Jochen Witthauer, who performed this duty for one year.

EUFOR, which took over from NATO-led peacekeepers in 2004, was reduced to 2,500 troops from 6,000 at the beginning of this year due to improved security in Bosnia.Germany has one of the largest contingents with 340 troops.

In the 12 years that Germany has been involved in peacekeeping in Bosnia, some 76,000 German soldiers have served there.

The German Defence Ministry estimates the cost of Germany's involvement at 1.7 billion Euros (2.5 billion US Dollars).


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic met with Austrian Ambassador to Bosnia Werner Almhofer in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. They discussed the political situation in Bosnia.

President Komsic expressed his views of the political situation in Bosnia and the region and stressed that Bosnia has overcome current political misunderstandings and that it will certainly continue its path towards Euro-Atlantic structures.

He said that the resolution of the crisis can largely be credited to the clear position of the international community in Bosnia, support of High Representative Miroslav Lajcak.

The initialling of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU is of immense importance for Bosnia, President Komsic said.

He underlined that Bosnia has no other alternative but joining the European Union and that everything possible needs to be done to achieve that objective as soon as possible.

Ambassador Almhofer expressed confidence that Bosnia will continue the road towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

They also discussed the current situation in Kosovo. Komsic said that the resolution of the Kosovo issue should not be delayed.

He reiterated that the resolution of the final status of Kosovo should in not way be connected to Bosnia.

“On the issue of Kosovo Bosnia shall adopt the same position as the EU and NATO member states”, President Komsic said and added that Bosnia wishes to have stable democratic neighbours, because only such an environment is good for Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – Bilateral relations between Bosnia and China are well and there are no open issues.

”Our country has always been in contacts with the Chinese officials and has always expressed wish to strengthen cooperation, especially in the sector of economy”, the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at a meeting with delegation of the Chinese National Assembly, lead by Ismail Amat, the Vice President of the Permanent Committee of the Chinese National Assembly.

The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic expressed a wish to intensify economic relations between the two countries.

The Vice President of the Permanent Committee of the Chinese National Assembly Ismail Amat stated that Bosnia and China are tied by friendship and cooperation, as well as progress that has been achieved in the past few years in the sector of economy, trade and culture. Also, China is satisfied with the development of bilateral relations and pays attention to long-term stability and cooperation with Bosnia,he said.

The Chinese side is willing to invest more in Bosnia and participate at the construction of infrastructure,Amat said.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated that Bosnia pays attention to characteristics of both the countries, He added that political relations between Bosnia and China are good by that the economic relations do not keep pace.

”That is why it is important to us to improve the economic relations”, Silajdzic said.

According to Nebojsa Radmanovic, a member of the Bosnian Presidency, relations between China and Bosnia are exceptional, but there is always enough of space to expand some other forms of cooperation,he said.

”Although Bosnia is a small market, today’s initialing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union makes Bosnia a part of big market. We are now interested in countries like China”, Radmanovic emphasized and called the Chinese investors to invest into Bosnia.

Amat congratulated the Bosnian Presidency on initialing the SAA with the EU.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – In the fight against climate change no country can act alone. This means that countries such as Bosnia have a role in this process, was stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the presentation of this year’s Global Human Development Report, which addresses the issue of climate change.

The report titled “Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World”, which was presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), speaks about the methods of adjustment and fight by countries against the negative effects of global warming and climate change.

The report stresses that global warming is already happening and that an overwhelming amount of evidence connects the rise in temperature with the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere.

Even though 15 percent of the world’s population lives in wealthy countries, they are responsible for almost half of the CO2 emissions, while climate change is most strongly felt by poor countries.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Bosnia Stefan Priesner said that climate change is the most important challenge in term of development and if action is not taken quickly no country will remain immune from the problem of climate change.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – The FBiH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic met with a delegation of Libyan Government experts in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday.They discussed possibilities for investment in projects in Bosnia.

Abdulhakim M.E.L. Misurati headed the Libyan delegation. FBiH Privatisation Agency Director Enes Ganic and advisor to the Prime Minister Fuad Strik also took part in the meeting.

Brankovic said that the FBiH Entity Government will in the next several years launch important projects of rebuilding infrastructure and increasing industrial production, which is expected to result in a stronger influx of investments and the creation of new jobs.

New solutions concerning tax policy have been prepared with this aim in mind and they are expected to reduce level of taxation of the economy and create an environment for more foreign investments in Bosnia.

Brankovic said that foreign investments in Bosnia this year have reached 1,3 billion EUR and that as Bosnia moves closer to the EU it is becoming increasingly attractive for investment.

Misurati underlined the serious intentions for investment of Libyan capital in Bosnia, as positive experiences in economic cooperation between the two countries already exist. He highlighted the example of the Bosnian company “Bosnalijek”.

In the next several days the Libyan delegation will visit several cities in Bosnia to learn more about potentials for investment and will end the visit with talks with the Bosnian officials.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia, (December 5,2007) – Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, Head of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia, received yesterday the European Security and Defence Policy Service Medal from the hands of Ambassador Pieter Feith, Acting Civilian Operations Commander of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC).

Ambassador Feith seized the opportunity to commend the dedicated work of EUPM’s staff over the last four years.

Against the background of the recent announcement of the extension of the EU Police Mission’s mandate in Bosnia until the end of 2009, Ambassador Feith also looked into the future: “Within the next two years, I am assured that the EU Police Mission will continue to play a leading role in supporting the implementation of police reform in Bosnia. EUPM will also continue to assist the Bosnian police in the fight against organised crime,” he said.