Thursday, January 31, 2008

ALKALAJ AND ADNAN DISCUSSED COOPERATION BETWEEN BOSNIA AND MALAYSIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) – The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Alkalaj received yesterday to inaugural visit the Ambassador of Malaysia to Bosnia, Zulkifli Adnan.Minister Alkalaj expressed expectation in having the fruitful cooperation between Bosnia and Malaysia continued in the future. On behalf of Bosnia Minister Alkalaj thanked Malaysia for all the help and support to Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia and in the post war period.

The two discussed areas being the economic challenge, such as attracting Malaysian investments to Bosnia for the Corridor 5 c project, power sector and mining. The Malaysian Ambassador to Bosnia Adnan stated that Malaysia is interested in bringing the Bosmal project in Sarajevo to an end as soon as possible, as well as in direct investing in airport construction project, hotel and sport facilities in Ilidza and specified industry.

Minister Alkalaj and Ambassador Adnan agreed with the fact that exchange of high level visits improves cooperation between two countries, by concluding bilateral agreements in air traffic, education, culture and science.

Minister Alkalaj introduced Malaysian Ambassador to steps that Bosnia has been undertaking on its path towards becoming a full fledged member in NATO and the EU.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY TO DISCUSS 2008 BUDGET

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) – The Bosnian Presidency should discuss only one item on the agenda today at the session that will take place in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo – the Bosnian State Budget for 2008.

Having returned the Draft Budget twice to the Bosnian Council of Ministers for amending, the Council concluded on Monday at a session to propose to the Bosnian Presidency to determine the Bosnian State Budget for 2008 in the amount determined at the January 17 session and urgently send it to parliamentary procedure.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers had proposed budget in the amount of 1.191.357.560 Bosnian Marks, but made corrections to the document twice at the demand of the Bosnian Presidency. The second proposal of the 2008 budget was 1.186.357.560 Bosnian Marks.

However, neither of the proposals were approved by the Bosnian Presidency.

OHR: FAILURE TO ADOPT STATE BUDGET IS DAMAGING FOR BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) - The Office of the International Community's High representative in Bosnia (OHR) believes that a third failure to adopt the Bosnian State Budget for 2008 is imminent if the Bosnian Presidency Members are not able to find common language and adopt the budget at the Bosnian Presidency session today.

”Failure to agree the draft 2008 Bosnian State Budget will have a detrimental effect on the Bosnian state institutions and send a negative message to the Bosnian public and Bosnia’s international partners," warned the OHR.

This is not the European way. The Bosnian state institutions must show the necessary level of responsibility for the functionality of the Bosnian state,the OHR said.

“This budget has been passed by the Bosnian Council of Ministers. It needs to move forward into the Bosnian Parliament as soon as possible. Therefore, the budget proposal needs to be determined by the Bosnian Presidency today”, stated the OHR release.

BOSNIA TO COMPLETE REFORM OF ELECTRIC ENERGY SECTOR

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) - The Bosnian Deputy Minister of External Trade and Economic Relations Vilim Primorac will take part in the conference “Mutual Achievement of Sustainable Energy” this week in Brussels. Minister Primorac has the role of coordinator for international energy cooperation.

"Taking part in this process Bosnia confirms its dedication in the reform of electric energy and gas sector, liberalization of electric energy market and adjustment of its policies with the EU”, Minister Primorac stated.

Pointing out that Bosnia is on a crossroad of energy choices, Primorac stated that a great attention is given to the implementation of the Road Map for energy community. Its implementation is going through several interconnected coordinated activities by the Bosnian Ministry of External Trade and Economic Relations.

Primorac added that Bosnia must have a coherent, coordinated and transparent development plan for production and transfer of electric energy in order to attract foreign investors and Road Map implementation.

Energy cooperation between Bosnia and other Southeastern European countries is mostly determined by the agreement on the setup of energy community, which Bosnia ratified on July 27 2006.

Bosnia is a signatory of Energy Charter with Perea Protocol on energy efficiency and belonging aspects of environment protection. Asides, Bosnia joined the Kyoto Protocol in 2007.

BOSNIAN STATE DELEGATION VISITS IRAQ

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) – The Bosnian state delegation lead by Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic is in a visit to 6th rotation unit of the Bosnian Armed Forces’ EOD unit in Iraq.

Minister Cikotic expressed pleasure over the results achieved results of the Unit and emphasized that they have given contribution to the international stability.

During his visit to Iraq, Minister Cikotic will meet with representatives of Coalition Forces Command, in the context of the Bosnian Presidency’s decision on sending a Bosnian infantry unit to Iraq.

Branko Zrno, the President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Commission for Defence and Security and Mirsad Gutic, Brigadier General are a part of the delegation, together with General Mayors Miladin Milojcic and Slavko Puljic, the Bosnian Defence Ministry announced.

KRESIC AND COPPOLA DISCUSSED WORK OF POLICE AGENCIES IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) - The Bosnian Deputy Minister of Security Mijo Kresic met with the EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) Head, General Vincezo Coppola and discussed the work of police agencies in Bosnia.

Kresic stated the need for continued support from international community in the activities and development of these agencies and thanked general for the good cooperation between the EUPM and the Bosnian Ministry of Security.

General Coppola expressed his support for the police agencies in Bosnia and positive processes which contribute in achieving international standards stated the release of the Bosnian Ministry of Security.

FORMER MAYOR OF BARCELONA NOMINATED FOR HONORARY CITIZEN OF SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) – Sarajevo City Council passed decision on nominating Pasqual Margall y Mara from Barcelona, Spain the Honorary Citizen of Sarajevo.He will be presented with the City of Sarajevo Decree at the Sarajevo City Council ceremony.

Pasqual Margall y Mara is former Mayor of Barcelona (1982 – 1997). In the first months of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggression against Bosnia, he expressed solidarity and understanding for the difficult situation in Bosnia and in the city of Sarajevo. He held a speech at the opening of Olympic Games in Barcelona in August 1992 before 3 billion viewers, urging the world‘s governments to help Bosnia.

During the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggression against Bosnia, Margall put in efforts aimed to distribute humanitarian aid to Bosnia. In that way, over 2.500 tons of help were distributed to the city of Sarajevo.

REGIONAL AGRICULTURE CENTER OPENS IN MOSTAR

MOSTAR, Bosnia (January 31,2008) - Spain’s Deputy Ambassador to Bosnia, Jose Ramon Garcia Hernandez, inaugurated the Rural Development and Agriculture Centre near the city of Mostar yesterday. The Centre will operate within the Regional Development Agency Herzegovina (REDAH).

The facility was co-funded by the Spanish AECID with EUR 505,000. Its main task will be to further agricultural development of the Herzegovina region, by encouraging local and foreign investments, among other things.

VOLKSWAGEN CARS MOST POPULAR IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 31,2008) - The cars made by Volkswagen and the members of its concern – Audi, Skoda and Seat – are the most sold cars in Bosnia, Director of Bosnian dealer ASA Auto said in the annual press conference in Sarajevo. ASA Auto has been the exclusive dealership for VW cars in Bosnia since 1997.

Based on the customs data about the import of cars, Volkswagen cars have a market share of 26 per cent. Among them, Skoda sold the most cars. Also, Bosnia has the highest regional rate of Audi cars sold per head of population.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UNESCO THREATENED TO REMOVE OLD BRIDGE IN MOSTAR FROM ITS WORLD HERITAGE LIST

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Presidency held a special meeting yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) threatened to remove the Old Bridge in Mostar from its world heritage list.More than six months ago UNESCO warned the Bosnian authorities they should stop building of the Ruza (Rose) Hotel near the UNESCO's flagged bridge and the old centre of the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.

The hotel near the bridge in the eastern side of the city was destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The reconstruction of the hotel was not a problem for UNESCO, but concern was over the decision of the city's authorities to build additional floors that would visually damage the image of the Old Bridge.

UNESCO therefore set the beginning of February this year as the deadline for Bosnia's authorities to offer a solution, threatening to start the procedure of dropping off the Old Bridge from the world heritage list. The bridge was added to the list in 2005.

"We have decided that Bosnia will fully comply with the requests of UNESCO and will fulfil those requests so that the Old Bridge remains on the world heritage list," the Bosnian Presidency said in a statement after the meeting.

"I am happy that the state decided to stand behind this problem ... and agreed to fulfil all UNESCO's requests," head of the Bosnian State Commission for cooperation with UNESCO Slobodan Soja said after the meeting.

He also said the Bosnian officials, including the Mostar city authorities, also agreed to stop rebuilding the Ruza hotel and dismantle the disputed fourth floor.

The Old Bridge in Mostar was built in 1566 during the Ottoman Empire rule in Bosnia, being a rare sample of architectural and artistic beauty for more than four centuries.

The bridge was destroyed by the Croatian aggressor on November 9, 1993, during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's, but was completely reconstructed and reopened in 2004.

ANNEX 7 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY REVISION ADOPTED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – The Bosnian Council of Ministers, at proposal of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, adopted the Information on Annex 7 Strategy Realization. The document presents all important data on situation in the sector of return in Bosnia.

Keeping in mind that the process has not been completed, the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in cooperation with all the relevant domestic institutions made Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement Implementation Strategy Action Plan Revision, Minister Safet Halilovic’s Cabinet announced.

According to the Ministry’s data, about 1.025.000 displaced Bosnian citizens have returned to Bosnia. Out of that number, 442.000 are refugees and 583.000 are displaced persons.Out of that number, about 750.000 persons returned to the FBIH entity and about 255.000 persons have returned to the RS entity, 21.000 persons returned to the Brcko District. Property has almost completely been returned to the pre-war owners.

According to the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees’ data, about 452.000 apartment facilities were destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, About 260.000 apartment facilities were restored by the end of 2005. The level of reconstruction of apartment funds has reached the amount of about 60 per cent. Most of the apartments have been reconstructed in the FBIH entity (66,7 per cent), Brcko District (46,3 per cent) and the lowest reconstruction rate is in the RS entity (about 40 per cent).

In the process of re-registration of the displaced persons in 2005, at the public call made by the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, 61.211 family demands for revision of status were filed and that means 188.307 persons. Status of displaced persons was confirmed for 44.155 families, which means 135.500 persons.

The current data submitted by the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees on potential users of help for reconstruction of apartment units state that 39.547 families, that is, 134.202 persons may claim that right. That means that about 40.000 families want to return to their homes and that 600 million Bosnian Marks is necessary for reconstruction of their homes.

The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees emphasized that these families need to be provided with, apart from homes, conditions for sustainable return (employment, health and social protection, education). It has been estimated that 400 million Bosnian Marks is necessary for that.

It has also been emphasized that the revision of Annex 7 Implementation Strategy will contain the newest data on the situation in the return sector. The data will be presented to all the relevant institutions and the Bosnian public.

3 MILLION BOSNIAN MARKS PLANNED FOR NEW JOBS IN SREBRENICA THIS YEAR

SREBRENICA, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - About 3 million Bosnian Marks have been planned for opening of new jobs in Srebrenica and attraction of new investors into the area, Abdurahman Malkic, Mayor of Srebrenica stated yesterday.

”That is a good motif for potential investors to come to Srebrenica and open new jobs”, he added.

Malkic emphasized that the money is “a direct support of the entity governments and the state budget”. Municipality of Srebrenica will reimburse interests for loans they have been taking in the amount of 200.000 Bosnian Marks per year.

”Although with a tragic past, Srebrenica should become a community of social security and responsible citizens. There are obstacles on the way but I am of the opinion that we will be able to create a better ambience and conditions for living in Srebrenica”, Malkic emphasized.

He added that the aim of the local community in Srebrenica is to balance the development of the area and to define minimal conditions a habituated place needs to fulfil.

”In that context we are planning the development of our area”, he said.

Pre-war Srebrenica was fifth ranked on the development scale in Bosnia. Its economy mainly focused on the use of natural resources. All of them were destroyed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia and are no longer functioning.

”Our goal is to reconstruct Srebrenica’s economy and to make sure all ecological standards are applied in the process. We want to make this town attractive for investors and enable easier procedures for new investments”, Malkic said.

BOSNIAN MINISTER OF SECURITY TARIK SADOVIC LEFT EUROPEAN POLICE CONGRESS IN PROTEST

BERLIN, Germany (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic along with the Bosnian delegation left yesterday the 11th European Police Congress in Berlin,Germany, after the organizers of the Congress did not allow him to speak on the panel “European Strategy in the Fight Against Terrorism”, even though he had an VIP pass as a Congress guest and his participation in the panel was announced in advance.

Every year, 1.600 experts, representatives of interior ministries, ministries of justice, state border police and secret services, as well as members of state governments and parliamentarians from 50 European countries meet at the Congress.

FBIH ENTITY PRIME MINISTER AND IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA DISCUSSED POSSIBILITIES OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – The FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic and the Iranian Ambassador to Bosnia Ahmad Fard Hosseini had a meeting yesterday and concluded that intensification of economic cooperation is necessary.

Brankovic accepted the call to visit Iran soon and conduct concrete meetings with the Bosnian and the Iranian teams of expert on certain projects.

Hosseini emphasized that Iran is interested in improvement of trade relations, as well as cooperation in certain sectors, like construction and railways. Iranian side is also interested in intensification of regional economic cooperation, so meetings have been scheduled with Iranian regions’ chambers of commerce with chambers of commerce of Middle Bosnia, Zenica – Doboj and Bosna – Podrinje cantons.

Brankovic welcomed this form of cooperation and emphasized the importance of economic assistance to the region of Gorazde, since in that way, a direct contribution will be made to sustainable return to the eastern Bosnia.

TWO GENOCIDE SURVIVORS FROM SREBRENICA TESTIFIED AT TRIAL OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL MILORAD TRBIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – Two genocide survivors from Srebrenica : Mevludin Oric and a protected witness have testified before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic yesterday.

They described what happened to the Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica after the genocidal Serbian aggressor had taken over the Bosnian town. Both witnesses survived the genocide that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic is charged with having participated in.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic - who was a member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations participated in the organisation of transport and detention of thousends of Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica, who were transported by buses and trucks to Bratunac, where they were detained and mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor at several locations.

Mevludin Oric said that he was in Srebrenica when the shelling commenced on July 11, 1995. According to this witness, the town was overcrowded with local residents and refugees from the surrounding villages.

"People ran away to the villages that could not be hit by shells. I had a feeling that Srebrenica was going to fall, but I hoped that Europe would not just watch them kill us. However, in the morning on July 11 we were informed that the UNPROFOR forces had tried to escape from their checkpoint located in a village near Srebrenica. Women and children tried to stop them by lying on the road and preventing them from passing by," Oric told the Bosnian State Court.

The witness said that he learnt about the fall of Srebrenica in the evening that same day. He headed towards a nearby village of Susnjari, to which a large number of Bosnian civilians had already arrived.

"Men decided to move towards Tuzla through the forest. Women and children headed to the UNPROFOR base in Potocari, hoping to be rescued by the UNPROFOR. About 14,000 people headed towards Susnjari," Oric said, recalling his escape from Srebrenica.

He also said that the genocidal Serbian aggressor shot at the convoy of men, "killing many of them", including his father whose remains have still not been found. The convoy broke up and Oric moved on.

On July 13, 1995, the genocidal Serbian aggressor arrested him and detained him "in a warehouse in Konjevic Polje". He was then transported, together with other Bosnian civilians, to Bratunac. They spent the night in the buses parked in front of an elementary school in Bratunac.

"We could hear creepy voices and shooting coming from the school building. From time to time they would come to the buses and take our men out. They also killed one mentally handicapped man," Oric said, adding that the genocidal aggressor's soldiers told the prisoners, on July 14, that they were taking them to Kladanj for an exchange.

An UNPROFOR military transporter, "driven by VRS members", led the column of buses. Oric said that, instead of being taken to Kladanj, the prisoners were taken to a gym in "some school", together with about 2,500 people. Some time later, former commander of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) Ratko Mladic visited them.

"In the afternoon they blindfolded us and took us out. They transported us, by small trucks, to some location where a mass grave had already been dug. After lining us up, they started shooting. I survived the shooting because my nephew's body protected me. He fell over me," Oric ended his testimony.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic committed, "together with other members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations, the execution of more than 7,000 Bosnian civilians".

On July 11,a protected witness and her brother went to Potocari, "hoping to be protected by UNPROFOR". She said she was separated from her brother in the former UN base. His body was recently discovered in one of the mass graves in the Srebrenica area.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on February 4.

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT MEETS DEMANDS OF FARMERS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – After three-hour blockade of state border crossing of Orasje, the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations met the demands of the Bosnian farmers and passed decision according to which customs tariffs on obligatory purchase of livestock will be implemented.

The President of the Bosnian Association of Farmers Miro Pejic stated that this is a victory of agricultural producers in Bosnia and a hit to the import lobby, for this decision obliges domestic food producers to purchase livestock and meat from the Bosnian producers. That will positively reflect the agricultural production.

Jerko Ivankovic Lijanovic, the President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly’s Board for Agriculture at the Commission for Foreign Trade and Customs supported the farmers.

HEAD OF BOSNIAN STATE BORDER POLICE TERRAIN OFFICE FOR AIRPORTS SUSPENDED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) – Vinko Dumancic, Head of the Bosnian State Border Police, suspended Fadil Jaganjac, Head of Terrain Office for Airports.

Suspension followed after the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation on the basis of reasonable doubt that the suspect committed crime of “illegal mediation”, the Bosnian State Border Police announced.

At the same time, the Bosnian State Border Police passed decision on initiation of a disciplinary procedure for reasonable doubt that the suspect committed an offence when performing the duty “for he caused damage to reputation of police organs”.

Solution on temporary suspension of Mr. Jaganjac will last until the procedure is terminated, as well as the criminal investigation.

BRANKOVIC AND ENGLISH DISCUSSED BOSNIAN DEFENCE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic met with the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles L. English and political advisor to the NATO HQ in Bosnia, Bruce McLain. They were discussing further steps in the Bosnian defence reform.

Ambassador English said that a document regulating the issue of immovable property that would be available for use in defence in future as well needs to be signed as soon as possible by the state and entity governments.

Brankovic pledged that the FBIH entity government would do everything it is expected regarding the Bosnian defence reform.

NATO Political Advisor for Bosnia McLane thanked Prime Minister Brankovic for support of the FBIH entity government in implementation of Law on Defence, especially in engagement of its expert teams.

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ADOPT STATE BUDGET DRAFT FOR 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 30,2008) - The Bosnian Council of Ministers failed to adopt the amended 2008 draft budget for the Bosnian state institutions, but proposed to the Bosnian State Presidency to adopt the earlier version (from January 17).

The Office of the President of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic stated that he had made a new budget proposal in the meantime, which is to be discussed by the Bosnian Presidency. The proposal contains more funds for agriculture, science, technology and return of refugees.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

STILL NO CONSENSUS ON POLICE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 29,2008) – The Bosnian Police Reform Work Group’s meeting lasted 12 hours on January 24, ending at midnight. However, no answers came out of it in connection to the responsibilities of main police bodies in the country.

According to a previous agreement of the six most influential political leaders in Bosnia, the police bodies should be formed as national.

The next meeting is expected in early February, but sources claim a consensus is not likely to happen even then. Two laws regulating the matter are supposed to be submitted to the Bosnian government by February 15.

THREE SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS DETAINED IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 29,2008) – The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) detained yesterday in the eastern Bosnian town of Vlasenica three Serbian war criminals who committed war crimes against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office identified the suspects as Veljko Basic, 82, Predrag Bastah, 55, and Goran Viskovic, 54. They were wanted for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian town of Vlasenica.

They are suspected of detaining Bosnian civilians in Vlasenica and its wider area, and taking them into the town's Susica detention facility, run by Basic.

More than 800 Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Susica prison in Vlasenica during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

TWO WITNESSES TESTIFIED BEFORE BOSNIAN STATE COURT AT TRIAL OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL MILORAD TRBIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 29,2008) – At the trial of genocide indictee Milorad Trbic, the Bosnian State Prosecutor has examined two witnesses.
Giving testimony at the Bosnian State Court yesterday were Desimir Djukanovic, former employee in the Communal Services Company in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac, and one protected witness, a former member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations.

The indictment charges Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic with having deliberately participated in the forcible deportation and mass murder of Bosnian civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in the period from July 11 to November 1, 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Djukanovic said he was told by Dragan Mirkovic, also known as Kinez, to collect bodies of murdered Bosnian civilians in front of the elementary school in Bratunac "one morning in July 1995.

"We packed the corpses into green and black bags. The bodies we collected were in the school and in its courtyard, in the streets and around the monument. We loaded them onto a tractor trailer. I do not know where they were driven from there," Djukanovic said.

In the course of the examination, a recording made on March 28, 2007 was played. The recording shows Djukanovic showing an investigator from the Bosnian 1`State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) the locations where the witness had found the corpses, and the location of the mass grave in Glogova.

The video recording showed the witness saying: "I found 15 to 20 bodies by the school side, seven in the vicinity of the gym and at least ten next to the monument. I saw at least a hundred corpses at the playground, but I did not collect those." He also said that two dredgers were "by the mass grave" all the time and, as soon as the tractors brought the corpses, the dredgers would cover them with earth.

In the courtroom, Djukanovic confirmed that the recording was authentic, but he kept giving contradictory answers concerning the locations at which he found the bodies and whether he personally visited the mass grave or heard about it from others.

Another,protected,witness said that, in July 1995, he saw Bosnian civilians being forced by the Serbian aggressor into the buses in Potocari. The buses took them to Bratunac, where he guarded them.

"That day, upon my return home, I saw tens of buses on the road leading to the school in Bratunac. The men who were in those buses seemed hungry, thirsty and scared. Some female civilians were standing by the buses. They cursed those men and wanted to batter at the buses, so we had to stop them from doing that," the witness said, adding that he saw some Serbian aggressor's soldiers taking five or six Bosnian civilians out of the school building in Bratunac and lining them up by the school wall".

"I heard shooting and I went back. Later on I saw three killed men at the playground," the witness added.

The trial of Serbian war criminal Milorad Trbic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on January 29.

FOREIGN INVESTORS COUNCIL RECOMMENDS 10 ECONOMIC REFORMS TO BOSNIAN AUTHORITIES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 29,2008) – The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) recommended the Bosnian authorities 10 key reforms which could be completed until March 31 2008 with a purpose of creating a more positive ambience for foreign investments and business in Bosnia.

FIC was established in 2006 and it represents interests of foreign investors in Bosnia. At the moment, FIC has 22 members which investments in Bosnia amount to over 4 billion Bosnian Marks.

Among 10 key reforms, the Council recommends setup of central electronic business register and initialing of re-registration process of all business subjects in this register in order to eliminate old and inactive subjects in the court.

Relevant institutions in the business sector are invited to announce all measures and guidelines for receiving permits for all procedures where necessary.

FIC recommends compliance of legal procedures in the segment of profit tax in Bosnia, via strategy created for elimination of double taxation.

Among key reforms FIC recommends establishment of joint market for the Southeastern Europe as a foundation for economic growth and regional conference on ministers’ level in order to speed up the setup of this market.

FIC also asks the Bosnian authorities to reduce custom fees and customs proceedings in general, and to eliminate customs and non-customs barriers on all raw materials for production in Bosnia.

Monday, January 28, 2008

OHR SUPPORTS RESOLUTION OF JURIŠIĆ CASE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) representatives met with representatives of the Tuzla Municipal Council to discuss recent developments in the Ilija Jurišić case.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

In May 1992,the genocidal Serbian aggressor's troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the eastern Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 Serbian aggressor's soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 of them were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

Former Tuzla Municipal Council President Ilija Jurišić is currently in custody in the genocidal Serbia in connection to this event.

Bosnia and and the genocidal Serbia are parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. This convention offers technical mechanisms for resolving cases such as that of Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić. The Bosnian Ministry of Justice is the competent body to deal with international legal assistance, the OHR said.

The OHR has followed the case from the start and will continue to monitor developments. The OHR stands ready to facilitate a resolution to the Ilija Jurišić case within the framework of the above mentioned Conventions, if so requested by either party.

REHN: BALKANS HAVE CHANCE TO ACHIVE STABILITY

LONDON, UK (January 28,2008) - The Balkans have a chance to achieve stability and prosperity and the European Union can use the carrot of membership to drive reforms, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

In a comment piece for the British daily the Guardian. , Rehn acknowledged there was a "danger of instability, at the moment when Kosovo's future status is on the point of being resolved," but added that the EU could be a stabilising influence.

Writing ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels later today, Rehn said that the 27-nation bloc could have a positive influence "if the EU gives a decisive and unified steer to ensure a coordinated response, as foreign ministers meeting today should be aware."

"The western Balkans has made steady if uneven progress over recent years, and the goal of EU membership remains an important motivation to keep reforms on track," he said.

Rehn wrote that he hoped to see all of the countries in the region sign stabilisation and association agreements with the EU, which he described as "the gateway towards candidacy for membership".

Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia have all signed such pacts, and Rehn said the EU was "now waiting for Bosnia and for the genocidal Serbia to meet the remaining conditions to sign the agreement.

He added that "EU foreign ministers should today give a strong signal of Serbia's European future by deciding to sign the stabilisation and association agreement shortly."

"Seldom have citizens had as clear a choice as the Serbs do now, between a nationalist past and a European future. The EU is ready to welcome the citizens of Serbia into EU, not just through a contractual relationship with their state, but also individually," he said.

"The future for the Balkans can be far from dark. ... But ultimately people in the region have to exercise their democratic choice to determine their countries' future course," Rehn concluded.

BOSNIAN STATE COURT: TRIAL OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL MIRKO PEKEZ TO BEGIN IN FEBRUARY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - At the status conference the Bosnian State Court decided to begin the main trial in the case against Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic on February 8, instead of January 31, as planned earlier.

The decision was made because Serbian war criminal Mirko (Mile) Pekez has been unable to follow the trial due to "deafness", according to his attorney Dusko Panic.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic with war crime against Bosnian civilians committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment alleges that the three former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia participated in the capture and mass murder of Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages in Jajce Municipality" on September 10, 1992.

Zoran Kalaba, recently deceased, was originally Serbian war criminal Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez' Defence attorney. He was replaced by attorney Dusko Panic.

Panic said he has not been able to communicate with his client due to his condition. The only way the two of them can communicate is by exchanging written notes or if the client reads the attorney's lips.

Panic said that his request for a medical examination of his client was rejected. Trial Chamber Chairman said he would personally make sure that this was resolved.

At the status conference the Bosnian State Prosecutor announced that he intends to examine 11 witnesses and a medical court expert and present 63 pieces of material evidence in the upcoming period.

Slavica Cvoro,attorney for Serbian war criminal Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, and Nebojsa Pantic, Defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, announced that they will examine five witnesses each. Dusko Panic, who represents Serbian war criminal Mirko (Mile) Pekez, was not able to say how many witnesses he will summon.

The eventual extension or termination of custody for the three Serbian war criminals was also discussed at the status conference.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor Mirko Lekic said that there were strong reasons for keeping the indictees in custody. The Defence teams responded by arguing that these reasons were no longer justified, as the indictees have never tried to escape or to influence witnesses. They suggested introducing certain restraining measures instead of custody.

EUFOR HANDS OVER MILITARY MOVEMENT CONTROL TO BOSNIAN ARMY

DOBOJ, Bosnia (January 28,2008) - The Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Major General Ignacio Villalaín, the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Defence, Marina Pendes and the Commander of the Bosnian Armed Forces General Sifet Podzic attended at a ceremony at the Bosnian Armed Forces Barracks in Doboj.

The purpose of this ceremony was to formally hand over the responsibility of military movement control from the EUFOR to the Bosnian Armed Forces.A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both the commander of the EUFOR and the commander of the Bosnian Army.

This allows the Bosnian Armed Forces to take complete control of the military movements of personnel, weapons, and equipment in Bosnia.This makes a hugely significant step in the ongoing Bosnian defence reform process that began in 1995 after the Dayton Peace Accord was signed, the EUFOR said.

The Bosnian Armed Forces continue to play an important role in the integration of the country into the EU and the NATO and these models show the success that can be achieved when the will exists.

SPIRIC MET WITH BRITISH DIPLOMATS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 28,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric had a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft and British Coordinator for the Southeastern Europe Michael Tetham. He informed them on the activities of the Bosnian government in the process of fulfilling conditions for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union.

Spiric stated that after the Dayton agreement, the SAA is the most important document and that its signing will bring Bosnia's political leaders into a new position related to fulfilment of the EU association obligations.

British Coordinator for the Southeastern Europe stated that his country has supported the integration of West Balkans into the EU, the Bosnian government announced.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

SDA: POLITICAL PARTIES WHICH DO NOT ADVOCATE INTERESTS OF BOSNIA WANT TO SEE OHR DISMISSED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – The Party of Democratic Action (SDA) is against the attempts of annulment of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) or redefinition of its role.

”OHR’s role cannot be changed before this country’s Constitution is changed. Dayton Agreement cannot function without the Annex 10, which is related to the OHR. It serves to unblock all the obstacles that have been put into the Dayton Agreement”,the SDA Party said yesterday.

The Party of Democratic Action added that annulment of the OHR or the Bonn Powers is advocated by political forces that have been obstructing reform processes in Bosnia.Also,their contribution to the country is questionable.

The SDA is of the opinion that the OHR can be dismissed once Bosnia becomes an EU and NATO member.

The party calls the Peace Implementation Council not to let destabilization of Bosnia which would happen if the OHR is closed.

”The political crisis in Bosnia that happened two months ago clearly warns us against that move”, the SDA stated.

The Peace Implementation council (PIC) is the only body that can decide on the future of the OHR, Oleg Milisic, OHR's Spokesperson stated yesterday.

He said that in a reaction to attitudes presented by the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("the RS") Milorad Dodik who stated that the OHR should end its mission in Bosnia.

Milisic could not confirm if the PIC will discuss the fate of OHR at the meeting that is to be held in Brussels in late February, but did say that this body will continue monitoring the political and security situation in Bosnia.

CHILEAN MINISTER OF DEFENCE JOSE CARRASCO VISITED BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic, diplomatic advisor for the President of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Presidency member Nebojsa Radmanovic's Cabinet Chief, Miroslav Vujicic met with the Chilean Minister of Defence Jose Carrasco.

Silajdzic stated that the presence of the Chilean troops in Bosnia is very important for the internationalization and positive aspects of globalization.

”This is our chance to thank you for your presence in our country", stated Silajdzic.

"We are members of the NATO PFP Programme which is one step towards the full NATO membership and we do our best to get closer to this institution. We have certain number of the Bosnian Armed Forces in several peacekeeping missions around the world. Bosnia started with its association process with the EU and the SAA was initialed," stated Silajdzic.

"Bosnia wants to be a part of the EU and I am an optimist not because it is an evident thing but because Bosnia can give pluralism and multiethnic spirit to the EU”, he added.

He expressed a will to improve relations between Bosnia and Chile and underlined the importance of exchange of experience in economy, trade, culture, defense and foreign policy.

Chile is involved in several peacekeeping missions in the world.

”We are very active in Haiti, in a peace mission we are also present in the region of Israeli and Palestinian confrontation, as well as the Balkans. We visited our troops, 21 soldiers in Bosnia precisely and we are very proud of them”, stated the Chilean Minister of Defence and added that Chileans learned a lot about democracy from their difficult experience with general Pinoche’s rule.

”We have found the way of national reconciliation, and learned what democracy is. It took a lot of time but we progressed. We learned that economic development is fundamental and that there is no social development without it”, concluded Minister Carrasco.

He also stated that Chile wants good relations with Bosnia and that his visit was motivated by these interests.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ZELJKO KOMSIC MET WITH US AND NATO OFFICIALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic on met with the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English and the NATO Sarajevo HQ Commander General Major Richard Wightman.

They discussed Bosnia's progress towards the NATO membership and underlined a need for concrete implementation of the Agreement on Basic Regulative Principles for immobile and mobile military assets, signed on July 12 2007 in order to achieve necessary progress before the upcoming Summit of NATO in Bucharest,Romania.

This meeting was also attended by the Commander of the Bosnian Armed Forces General Sifet Podzic.

WORLD'S BEST FIGURE SKATERS TO PERFORM IN SARAJEVO ON FEBRUARY 7

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – On February 7, the “Champions on Ice” event will take place in Sarajevo. It is a show with the best figure skaters in the world, former and current world and Olympic champions.

The event will take place at the “Zetra” Olympic Hall on the day of the opening of 14th Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo in 1984.

The Bosnin audience will have an opportunity to enjoy the mastery of Jevgenij Plushenko, Viktor Petrenko, pair Oxana Kazakova – Arthur Dimitriev and other aces of figure skating.

Organizor of this event is ZOI ’84 and the City of Sarajevo, as well as Slovenian production House “Artman”.

”Spectacular performance on ice is chance to remember contestans’ performances in Zetra during the Olympioc Games”, stated the Head of ZOI ’84 Nedzad Ajnadzic.

The City of Sarajevo gave the amount of 140.000 Bosnian Marks to help the organization of this event.

”We want to show the world how proud we are to belong to the family of Olympic cities”, stated spokesperson for the Sarajevo City Council Denis Zaimovic.

FATA ORLOVIC AND MIROSLAV LAJCAK DNEVNI AVAZ'S PERSONS OF THE YEAR 2007

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – According to the votes of Bosnian daily “Dnevni Avaz” readers, the Person of the Year for 2007 in Bosnia is Fata Orlovic, a returnee to Konjevic Polje. Foreign Person of the Year for 2007 is the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.

They were awarded plaques at a ceremony in Sarajevo at the Dnevni Avaz Business Centre.Dnevni Avaz’s Editor-in-Chief Sead Luckin presented the awards.

Fata Orlovic became famous in Bosnia when she insisted that the illegaly built Orthodox Christian Church be removed from her property. In the process, she also refused to take enormous sums of money in exchange for her land.

Miroslav Lajcak has been awarded for exceptional contribution in the process of association of Bosnia to the EU.

”This award is an exceptional honour but also an enormous responsibility. It sent me an important message from the Bosnian citizens: they believe in a EU future of the country”, Lajcak said.

Many prominent figures from the Bosnian political and social life attended the event. The award was presented for the first time in 1995.The Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and the American President Bill Clinton were the first to receive it.

BOOK OF CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF POLISH MILITARY PLANE CRASH OPENED AT EMBASSY OF POLAND

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – At the premises of the Polish Embassy in Bosnia , a book of condolences for the tragically killed Polish soldiers has been opened yesterday.On this occasion, the Polish Embassy in Bosnia issued a statement explaining that on Wednesday in the northern part of Poland, near village Miroslavviec the Polish air force transport airplane crashed and 20 officers lost their lives.

Among victims were four crew members and sixteen passengers.

The Polish Minister of Defence Bogdan Klich stated after the tragic event that the best Polish commanders were killed and that he shares his grief with their families.

Tragedy of the Polish transport airplane, by the number of victims, is a third largest airplane catastrophe in Poland’s history, stated the release of the Polish Embassy in Bosnia.

STEPHAN LUPINO TO OPEN A RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBIT OF HIS WORK ON FEB 19 IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – Famous photographer Stephan Lupino will present a part of his opus to the Bosnian audience by an exhibition that will open as a part of the Sarajevo Winter Festival on February 19 at the Collegium Artisticum Gallery in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Lupino will present a retrospective of his opus. Some of the photographs from his previous exhibits will be presented.

75 smaller photographs will be exhibited, including the ones made during Lupino’s time in New York and the latest “Magical Children”.

Lupino told the press yesterday in Sarajevo that the “Magical Children” Project is a series of photographs of children suffering from Down Syndrome. It is aimed to raise the people’s consciousness about the syndrome and make sure those patients are made a part of the community, which means that they are made able to claim their rights.

He emphasized to have already made a calendar dedicated to the children suffering from Down Syndrome and that he is currently working on a monograph of those photos.

MEMBERS OF BOSNIAN AND SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSIONS FOR DEFENCE AND SECURITY MET IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) – Members of the Bosnian Parliament’s Commission for Defence and Security had a meeting yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with delegation of the Slovenian Parliament’s Committee for Defence and Security, lead by President Tonet Andrelic.

They exchanged opinions on defence and security reforms in Bosnia, in the period of transition.

Special attention was given to the activities of the parliamentarians related to NATO summit that is to be held in Bucharest,Romania, with participation of the Slovenian contingent in the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR).

Bilateral meetings between the Bosnian and Slovenian commissions have been marked as useful, for they resulted in several initiatives important for the region.

REGIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATORS MET IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) - A meeting organized by the SEE Institute for Telecommunications and Information Research and the Regulatory Agency for Communications (RAK) was held in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Eight regional telecommunications agencies were present at the meeting – from Bosnia,Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

They were discussing EU standards in their field, and security issues in the e-communications sector.The Bosnian and the Montenegrin RAK agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding, for increasing co-operation in the area of developing telecommunication services.

EUPM COMMEMORATES COLLEAGUES WHO DIED WHILE SERVING IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 26, 2008) - The European Union Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) remembered yesterday its first Head of Mission, Sven Frederiksen, and two colleagues, Jose Andres Ygarza Palou and Francesco Niutta, who lost their lives while serving in Bosnia.

In the presence of Alessandro Fallavollita, the Ambassador of Italy to Bosnia , and José María Castroviejo y Bolíbar, the Ambassdor of Spain to Bosnia,Deputy Head of Mission, Ari Sarjanen, laid a wreath at a memorial stone in front of the main entrance of the EUPM Headquarters in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and invited all those present to join him in a minute of silence.

“These fine officers lost their lives during honourable service in the EUPM, assisting Bosnia on its path towards European Union,” Sarjanen said.

“Their professionalism and dedication to service will always be remembered. They will be missed but not forgotten,” he added.

Commissioner Frederiksen passed away on the morning of 26 January 2004, following a coronary seizure. Warrant Officers Palou and Niutta lost their lives in tragic accidents.

Commissioner Frederiksen served as the last Commissioner of the International Police Task Force in Bosnia (IPTF) and was entrusted with the difficult task to close it down and establish the European Union Police Mission. Commissioner Frederiksen led the mission from its establishment, 1 January 2003, until his sudden death in 2004.

Friday, January 25, 2008

LAJCAK CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF EDUCATION REFORMS IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajčák, attended the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the Conference of Education Ministers in Bosnia between entity prime ministers and Bosnia's Prime Minister, held yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Following the adoption of several long outstanding education laws in the second half of 2007 and the recent agreement on establishment of the Bosnian education agencies, the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding creates a good platform for better coordination and cooperation in this sphere in 2008.

"When the agencies are up and running, and when the Law on Vocational Education and Training is finally enacted, Bosnia will have a legislative and institutional framework in place for implementing education reforms in line with its EU Partnership requirements,“ said Lajčák following the signing of the Memorandum.

BOND AND HALILOVIC VISITED SREBRENICA

SREBRENICA, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Realization of the project for the reconstruction of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica from the Bosnian Council of Ministers assets in the amount of 10 million Bosnian Marks, has been delayed for over half a year, it was stated during the visit to Srebrenica of Cliffford Bond,the Office of the International community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) Special Envoy for Srebrenica and the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic.

Minister Halilovic stated that the implementation is delayed due to administrative procedure and commission forming, but that planned amount will be spent on set projects as soon as possible.

Bond pointed out that all planned projects should be realized very quickly and that they will contribute in improving living conditions for the citizens of Srebrenica. Primarily, new work places will be secured which is a basis for survival in this region of Bosnia.

On Wednesday, the Bosnian Council of Ministers Special Commission visited Srebrenica and they agreed to take concrete steps in realizing these projects.

PRESIDENT KOMSIC MET WITH NEW MALAYSIAN AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA ZULKILFLI ADNAN

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Bosnian Zeljko Komsic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with new Malaysian Ambassador to Bosnia Zulkilfli Adnan and received his credentials.

President Komsic emphasized that political relations between Bosnia and Malaysia are extraordinary and that the time has some to develop economic relations.

He added that Malaysia has significant investments in Bosnia and that some of them have not been completed still. However, both countries are interested in a better economic cooperation and in that sense, he said, Malaysia can count on support of the Bosnian state institutions in the sector.

”Although Bosnia may at times appear complicated, it is not. There are no dilemmas in Bosnia – this is an independent and a sovereign country and its place is in the EU”, President Komsic said.

Ambassador Adnan agreed with President Komsic’s attitude that economic relations between the two countries need to be improved. He promised full support in realization of improvement of economic relations.

He stated that 150 Bosnian students studied in Malaysia in the past few years and that 164 experts from Bosnia have undergone training there.

President Komsic expressed gratitude to Malaysia and its people for helping Bosnia.

WORLD BANK TO SUSPEND 10 MILLION USD FROM BOSNIAN EDUCATIONAL SECTOR

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with Head of the World Bank Office in Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli and his associates. Spiric proposed that the World Bank should help the regional project aimed to fight fire and flood disasters. The project is directed from Bosnia.

World Bank representatives stated that the idea is very interesting and announced that they will consider it carefully.

Spiric stated that the World Bank could help support public purchase related to fight against crime and corruption and development of statistics in the sense of equipping and educating the statistic agencies’ personnel for the census which will take place once the political decision is passed.

The officials also talked about the problems related to implementation of education restructuring project.

Mantovanelli stated that the project will be suspended but also expressed willingness of the World Bank to change the arrangement of its implementation and added that it would be a shame to “lose 10 million USD”.

Spiric also informed Mantovaneli that he will sign a memorandum of understanding for formation of Conference of Ministers of Education in Bosnia.He emphasized that the Conference will look for answers related to implementation of education restructuring project.

They also talked about servicing of Bosnia’s debt to the World Bank and on formation of the Bosnian Fiscal Council and about possibilities of increasing efficiency in the process of monitoring the realization of loans.

Mantovanelli informed Spiric that World Bank representatives visited the Brcko District for the purpose of including the District into the Sava River-related projects, in accordance with the last year’s calls to make Brcko District a part of the partnership strategy, the Bosnian Council of Ministers announced.

BOSNIAN FARMERS TO BLOCK ORASJE STATE BORDER CROSSING ON JANUARY 28

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Bosnian Association of Farmers and its branch in the Posavina Canton have announced to block the Orasje state border crossing January 28, at 5 minutes to noon. They will block the border crossing for unlimited period of time, that is, until solutions to the key problems in the agricultural sector are found.

The Association emphasized in an announcement that the burning problem of farmers in Bosnia is the fact that customs tariffs have not yet been introduced, related to obligatory purchase of livestock for 2008.

For that reason, Bosnian food producers are not obliged to purchase livestock and meat from Bosnian farmers, for they can purchase it from the neighbouring countries.

The Association representatives added that that they have sent a letter to the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Policy Slobodan Puhalac, asking him to solve these problems. They also asked Minister Puhalac to meet with them by the end of the week, in order to discuss those issues.

”Unless we achieve concrete solutions, we will block the state border crossing”, the Bosnian Association of Farmers announced.

FURTHER REFORM OF BOSNIAN MILITARY NEEDED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, met in the Bosnian capial Sarajevo with the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English and the Head of NATO’s Sarajevo Headquarters, General Richard Wightman.

They agreed that further reform of the Bosnian military is needed, so that Bosnia could progress on her path to the NATO membership.

With that in mind, the agreement on the principles of regulating military property issues, signed on July 12, 2007, needs to be enforced, so that certain progress is made before the NATO Summit in Bucharest this year.

SDP PARTY URGES BOSNIAN MINISTER OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND REFUGEES TO RESIGN

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Social Democratic Party (SDP) delegate at the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives and a member of the Commission for Human Rights, Rights of Children, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics Denis Becirovic, sent an open letter yesterday to the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic, asking him to resign, for, as stated, non-efficiency in the protection of human rights of the Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurisic.

”As a delegate at the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives, I asked several questions to Bosnian state institutions, related to the arrest of Ilija Jurisic at the Belgrade airport, May 11 2007, for I am of the opinion that the arrest is illegal”, Becirovic stated and added that this event has no precedent in international relations and international legal assistance.

He emphasized that the event is also painting a picture of internal relations in Bosnia, as well as the relation between our country and its neighbours, or between Bosnia and any other country on the planet Earth. Other countries’ can, apparently, arrest Bosnian citizens “the way they want to”, for they have no protection whatsoever.

Becirovic stated that everyone should bear individual responsibility for the actions he or she could have taken but did not.

”As the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, you were obliged to insist on full respect of international standards from the sector of human rights and liberties. Instead of doing so, you seem to have “slept over” the past eight months of Ilija Jurisic’s struggle for human rights”, the letter states.

Becirovic reminded Halilovic that he, as delegate, asked him a question on all the past activities taken in the process of releasing Ilija Jurisic. He also asked Minister Halilovic to state whether or not he has visited Ilija Jurisic.

The letter also states: “Also, in your opinion, ‘the very fact that a person is held in detention is not the reason enough to trigger a reaction on the basis of the international standards you mentioned’”.

”I am writing you this, for I am disappointed with a fact I have heard in Belgrade recently – you have visited Ilija Jurisic not a single time for all the eight months of his imprisonment. You have not even formed a delegation on behalf of your ministry to visit our citizen”, the letter states.

"Minister, keeping in mind the fact that you have done nothing in eight months to efficiently and concretely protect and help Ilija Jurisic, I hereby call you to make the only moral act possible – irrevocably resign," the letter Becirevic sent to the Bosnian Human Rights and Refugees Minister Safet Halilovic states.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

CONFERENCE ON BOSNIAN ARMED FORCES TRAINING OPENED IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Training must become something regular for the Bosnian Armed Forces, and this will be set as priority in the future period, it was stated yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the opening of the first annual Conference on the Bosnian Armed Forces Training.

Goal of this conference is to review new challenges which exist in the training process and assess possibilities of realizing set goals.

Head of the Bosnian Armed Forces HQ General Sifet Podzic confirmed that previous two years were poor regarding the training, which is why there was a priority to form new units and commands.

Until now, there was no training organization system, but only ad hoc trainings, from mission to mission, concluded Podzic saying that this was exactly the purpose of this conference.

At the conference we shall define the areas of the training process and eventual requests to the Bosnian Ministry of Defence and other institutions related with fulfilling the criteria and demands of the training.

”We want to change conditions of the training process and it will be given a priority”, stated General Podzic. He underlined that the training represents a continuance of defense sector reform and transition process of the Bosnian Armed Forces completed in the previous year.

Podzic also stated that units and nominated compounds designated for operations which contribute to peace keeping have to be trained and dedicated in completing the mission in the best possible manner.

”This however, does not mean that we should have lower demands from others. Training and responsibility must be imperative of all members of the Bosnian Armed Forces”,General Podzic said.

Education of the Bosnian Armed Forces members representing Bosnia in missions or daily activities of international military cooperation units must be more demanding and of better quality,he said.

IZETBEGOVIC MET WITH NEWLY-ELECTED SPEAKER OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENT

STRASBOURG, France (January 25,2008) - The President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Bakir Izetbegovic met in Strasbourg with newly elected Speaker of the Council of Europe Parliament Lluis Maria de Puig and the Council of Europe Secretary General Mateo Sorinas.

De Puig said that monitoring of future development of the events will be of special significance for Bosnia and that he is aware that Bosnia is a complex country institutionally-wise. He also added that the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly will offer every kind of assistance to the Bosnian Parliament.

Izetbegovic stated that political situation in Bosnia is improving and added that Bosnia is of a special interest for the rest of Europe, for it is a proof that different peoples and faiths can live together.

During the meeting, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s Secretary General Mateo Sorinas expressed pleasure over the election of head of the delegation, because that will remove all the difficulties that appeared last year.

Nomination of Caroline Ravaud to the position of CE’s Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Bosnia was emphasized as important, because she is an excellent expert on Bosnia.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ZELJKO KOMSIC STARTED HIS OWN BLOG

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) - The Bosnian President, Zeljko Komsic, started his own blog entitled "President's Blog" ("Predsjednikov blog" in Bosnian) at the blogger.ba community.

That makes him the third public person in Bosnia to become a blogger, after the British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft and the Director of the Sarajevo Winter Festival Ibrahim Spahic.

In his first post on his blog http://zeljkokomsic.blogger.ba President Komsic wrote about the lateste session of the Bosnian Presidency and his recent visit to the Krakow University in Poland and a local flying club in Sarajevo.

President Komsic also promised he would find time to regularly visit his blog and update it despite his numerous duties.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY AGAIN REJECTED STATE BUDGET DRAFT FOR 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 24,2008) – The Bosnian Presidency rejected a 2008 draft budget for the Bosnian state institutions for the second time,the President Zeljko Komsic confirmed after the meeting.

This is the Bosnian state budget draft for 2008 which was adopted by the Bosnian Council of Ministers on January 17 in the amount of 1.186.357.560 Bosnian Marks. The Council agreed on this amount after January 10 when the Bosnian Presidency sent back for correction the original budget draft in the amount of 1.191.357.560 Bosnian Marks, asking them to reconsider the remarks of the Bosnian Presidency members.

New budget draft decreased by 5 million Bosnian Marks the Council reached by linear decrease of all material expenses of budget users for 2.7 %.

Bosnian Presidency members Haris Silajdzic and Zeljko Komsic were against this “corrected” budget and member Nebojsa Radmanovic was sustained. Their remarks were the same as those at the previous session of the Bosnian Presidency.

”Council of Ministers partially adopted Radmanovic’s remark and effectively decreased the budget draft that is, decrease in the amount to be taken from the unique Indirect Taxation Direction account by 35 million Bosnian Marks and tried to compensate it with income realized by the Central bank”, stated President Komsic at the press conference after the special session.

Bosnian Presidency member Haris Silajdzic’s remarks were not adopted concerning the assets for the return process, as well as the remark of President Komsic to open the segment of investments in science, culture, technology, development and agriculture within the spending for the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Draft will be again returned to the Council of Ministers, and the Bosnian Presidency this time voted on this.

”Our remarks still stand and now we have to wait to see how will the Bosnian Council of Ministers react”, stated President Komsic.

“Returning the budget to the Bosnian Council of Ministers for a second time is bad news,” said the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak yesterday.

“This can only slow the development of key Bosnian state institutions and will put increased pressure on them to implement a year long programme in what is now realistically nine months at best” Lajcak added.

Warning that a third failure would send a very negative message to the Bosnian public Lajcak urged the Bosnian Council of Ministers and the Bosnian Presidency to coordinate closely on a proposal which would finally get into parliamentary procedure.

SIX MOST INFLUENTIAL POLITICAL LEADERS IN BOSNIA TO DISCUSS CHANGES TO BOSNIAN CONSTITUTION ON FEBRUARY 2

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 24,2008) – The meeting of six most influential political leaders in Bosnia has been rescheduled for February 2. This meeting is seen as very important, as the leaders are going to discuss changes to the Bosnian Constitution.

It was originally supposed to take place in Siroki Brijeg this Friday, but the date was changed on the request of the President of the SDA Party Sulejman Tihic to postpone the meeting because he is undergoing a cancer treatment, and there is nobody who could replace him.

The venue will not change. The other participants now need to confirm that the new date suits them.

NICHOLL CONSIDERS AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION TO TAX RETURN ISSUE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 24,2008) – The Bosnian Taxation Authority Managing Board President Peter Nicholl is considering an alternative solution related to the value added tax (VAT) return.

Nichol announced that the amount of 10 per cent of minimal reserves at the joint account, which, in accordance with the decisions passed by the Managing Board in 2006 and 2007 is not enough to settle VAT tax return to tax payers.

That is why the Bosnian Taxation Authority Managing Board discussed this issue December 14,2007 and January 15,2008 in the sense that Act 9 Item 1 of the Law on Payments to Joint Account is implemented for the purpose of ensuring timely execution of the VAT tax return.

Since that proposal was not supported by the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS", Nicholl is of the opinion that an alternative solution to the problem is needed.

RADMANOVIC AND SUVALOV DISCUSSED CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 24,2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Nеbојsа Rаdmаnоvic met with the Russian Ambassador to Bosnia Konstantin Suvalov.They discussed current political situation in Bosnia, adoption of the Bosnian state budget for 2008, police reform and fulfilment of conditions for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU.

Rаdmаnоvic expressed his expectations that authorities will take necessary measure to finalize adoption of legal provisions for the police reform and fulfil conditions for the SAA signing in spring.

They also talked about the closing of the Office of the International Community's high Representative in Bosnia (OHR) on which issue different opinions exist, among political parties in Bosnia as well as among the members of the Peace Implementation Council.

They also talked about political situation in the region with special attention given to the final solution for Kosovo.

EUPM CALLS FOR UGENT APPOINTMENT OF HNC POLICE COMMISSIONER

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 24,2008) - The EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) strongly supports the Minister of Interior of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC) in his appeal to relevant authorities to speed up the appointment process at the Independent Selection and Review Board. This would allow for the urgently needed appointment of a new Police Commissioner for the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton,the EUPM said.

The police service of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton cannot function effectively without a Police Commissioner, and therefore cannot fully respond to the needs of citizens. This issue should be high on the agenda of local authorities and should not be treated as a political, but rather as a purely professional issue.

The EUPM expects there will be no further unnecessary stalling of the Independent Selection and Review Board appointment.

The EUPM is European Union's mission in Bosnia that aids the Bosnian police organizations. It is the first such mission undertaken by the EU within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EUPM was the successor to United Nations' International Police Task Force in Bosnia, whose term ended at the end of 2002.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER HARIS SILAJDZIC SUGGESTED RETURN PROCESS IN BOSNIA TO BE ON AGENDA OF 11TH SUMMIT OF OIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Dr Haris Silajdzic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with Fuad Ali Al Maynaee, the International Department for Humanitarian Affairs Director of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).They discussed the support given to sustainable return and finding ways to ensure the conditions for the return of 40.000 families or 163.000 refugees in Bosnia to return to their pre-war homes.

Dr Silajdzic thanked the OIC for support given so far and suggested to start a new way when it comes to return process in Bosnia and that,instead of humanitarian aid, help should be given in the form of investment projects related directly to aiding the sustainable return.

During the meeting Dr Silajdzic suggested placing the issue of sustainable return in Bosnia on the agenda of the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which will be held in mid March this year in Senegal and in which he shall participate.

CONFERENCE ON BOSNIAN FOREIGN TRADE POLICY REFORM HELD IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) – “Signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU and approach to the WTO and the present CEFTA membership are the three basic conditions that will enable Bosnia to become compatible at the world market. The present trade deficit will be decreased solely through promotion of business sector”, Ambassador of the EC Delegation to Bosnia Dimitris Kourkoulas stated at a conference “Bosnian Foreign Trade Policy – Development Initiation” held in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The conference was organized by the EU project for Development of Trade Policy and capacity (EUTPP) in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

Kourkoulas stated yesterday that the document presented, entitled “Report on Needs Estimate in Trade-Related Sectors”, which analyzes the situation in Bosnia's foreign trade sector, was developed for the purpose of helping the Bosnian Foreign Trade Ministry to develop a necessary development strategy.

On the basis of recommendations from the Report, the EUTPP will support the Bosnian state institutions, especially the Bosnian Foreign Trade Ministry, in the process of creating and implementing foreign trade policy and harmonization of legislature in accordance with the WTO rules and acquis communautaire. The project is 1,45 million Euros worth and will last for one month.

Accoding to yesterday’s estimates, it is necessary to implement certain reforms in the sector of foreign trade policy for the purpose of enabling the Bosnian entrepreneurs to fully make use of the agreements that are yet to be signed with the WTO and with other institutions, as well as for the purpose of increasing the export activities to the CEFTA member countries’ markets and the EU.

Slobodan Puhalac, the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Policy, emphasize that it is too early to expect CEFTA membership effects, but added that some Bosnian companies have been using the agreement benefits rather well.

”The situation is difficult and we need to move on. If EU opens up for us, I hope all our disagreements will be forgotten and we will be able to move ahead”, Puhalac stated.

Representatives of the Bosnian state institutions in charge of creating and implementing the Bosnian foreign trade policy, as well as representatives of international organizations and other organizations’ representatives participated at the conference.

NORWAY DONATED 200.000 EUROS FOR WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS IN SREBRENICA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) – Norway donated 200.000 Euros for the support of the team No. 6, designated for the Special War Crimes Unit which deals with investigations and processing of cases in the area of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

At the signing ceremony in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, the Norwegian Ambassador to Bosnia Jan Braath stated that this donation is forwarded through the Registrars Office and it provides additional help for the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office for the crime processing in the Srebrenica area.

”More that 12 years after the war, we are unfortunately in the situation that those who committed war crimes still walk freely through the streets of Srebrenica and other cities in Bosnia. This is not acceptable and it is high time that something is done not only regarding the investigation of these crimes but also on their processing”, stated Ambassador Braath, adding that he personally believes this is important for the genocide victims from Srebrenica, as well as those who are charged of war crimes.

Registrar for special departments of the Bosnian State Prosecutor Dubravka Piotrovski stated that war crimes investigation which occurred in Srebrenica and prosecution of those responsible are the priority for the Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office.

She mentioned that recently the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), on this occasion sent a letter of request for help to international community and that the Norwegian government was among first which answered to this appeal.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor Marinko Jurcevic pointed out that this donation as well as previous one by the Swiss Government shall help in building the capacities for the investigation in Srebrenica. It is expected that this will help to open a prosecutor field office in Srebrenica.

Team No. 6 of the Special War Crimes Unit investigates crimes which occurred in the region of Srebrenica from the beginning till the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia. It is consisted of 8 to 10 professionals working on crime investigation. Donation from the Norwegian Government shall be used to expand the team with expert advisors and investigators.

RECOVERING IVICA OSIM MAY ATTEND FRIENDLY MATCH BETWEEN BOSNIA AND JAPAN

TOKYO, Japan (January 23,2008) — Former Japan's national football team coach Ivica Osim may attend the friendly against his home country, Bosnia, next week in his first public appearance since suffering a stroke in November, Japan's football chief said yesterday.

"It will be great if he shows up in good condition and waves to everyone," Japan Football Association president Saburo Kawabuchi said.

"He himself says he wants to come. He is positive.I will formally invite him when I talk with him ," Kawabuchi said.

The match between Bosnia and Japan is scheduled for January 30 at Tokyo's National Stadium with Osim's replacement, Takeshi Okada, coaching Japan's national team.

The 66-year-old Osim collapsed at his home outside Tokyo on the early morning of November 16 after watching an English Premier League match, according to the football association. He came out of a coma two weeks later.

Osim has been undergoing rehabilitation at a medical centre in Tokyo since leaving intensive care.Osim has already started walking exercises and watching football matches on television, Kawabuchi said earlier.

207 MILLION EUROS TO BE INVESTED INTO IGMAN AND BJELASNICA SKI CENTERS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) – Business plan for the area of the Igman and Bjelasnica ski centers on the basis of which these two Bosnian mountains are to become the leading winter tourist and recreation centres in the Southeastern Europe in the period from four to ten years, was presented in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The plan was developed by ORGALIS /BCEOM Consultancy from France and investors for this 1 million Bosnian Marks-worth project are the Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Economy, Trnovo, Hadzici and Ilidza municipalities, the ZOI ’84 Company from Sarajevo, Sarajevo Regional and Development Agency (SERDA) and Sarajevo Canton Tourist Community.

It has been stated at a press conference which followed immediately after the presentation that in order for those plans to be fulfilled, that is, in order for all the activities to be implemented, investments of 207 million Euros have been planned. The money is to be invested by the year of 2025. The biggest investment period is planned for the years from 2010 to 2014. About 135 million Euros should be invested then.

Investments are related to the Babin do, Malo Polje and Veliko Polje area. New hotels should be built and equipment purchased for recreation centres. Also, a parking lot is to be constructed together with business, healthcare and food centre. The existing ski areas are to be expanded; new ski lifts will be built.

In the first phase, as stated by the Sarajevo Canton Minister of Economy Abid Saric, offers of potential donors are collected. Precise date of beginning of construction works is not yet known. It is also expected that the incomes from tourist offer in Igman and Bjelasnica will mount to 7,5 million Euros by 2014.

AGREEMENT ON MILITARY COOPERATION SIGNED BETWEEN BOSNIA AND GREECE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) – The Bosnian and Greek Defence Ministers Selmo Cikotic and Evangelos Vassilios Meimarakis signed yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo Agreement on Cooperation in Defence Sector between Bosnia and Greece.

The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic stated after the signing ceremony that this is an important event which will bring about quality cooperation between the two ministries which have already made and signed plans on military cooperation.

Cikotic stated that the Greek military forces have helped Bosnia in several ways, especially in the defence reform and other safety and political issues, including help to Bosnia’s Euro – Atlantic integrations.

Many Bosnian army officers have been trained in Greece. Their number has been increasing year after year. Greece is also helping Bosnia’s at the redundant military personnel provision fund.

Military cooperation plan for 2008 foresees nine activities in Greece and five in Bosnia. Minister Cikotic stated after yesterday’s meeting that the number of activities will slightly improve.

”We have reasons to believe that the existing cooperation will intensify”, the Bosnian Defence Minister stated.

Cikotic especially emphasized the importance of Greek support in various sectors of regional cooperation, which was most evident in realization of Bosnia’s fulltime membership at the SE Europe’s Defence Ministers’ Forum, as well as in fulfilment of program of obligatory activities Bosnia needs to realize as a NATO PFP member for the purpose of fulfilling conditions for NATO membership.

”This will solve many open issues and create conditions for progress which will make Bosnia become a credible partner”, Cikotic said.

The Greek Defence Minister Meimarakis stated that agreement which was signed yesterday is a base for cooperation between the two ministries in many aspects.

He hopes that Bosnia will soon fulfil all the conditions necessary and become a fulltime NATO member.

Meimarakis also stated that he talked with Minister Cikotic about security situation in the Southeastern Europe and added that the two countries share the same vision of security and cooperation in the region.

The two ministers also talked about Kosovo; Meimarakis emphasized that Greece is directly interested in seeing a blalnced solution to the Kosovo issue, which would strengthen peace and security in the region and which would be acceptable for all.

Answering the question if that means his country is willing to support the Kosovo independence if other NATO and EU member countries do that, Meimarakis stated that his country believes that the solution to the issue should be a result of negotiations, not forceful solutions.

The Greek Defence Minister Meimarakis invited the Bosnian Defence Minister Cikotic to visit Greece.

NEW FOOD PRICE INCREASES EXPECTED IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 23,2008) - The FBIH Entity’s trade minister Desnica Radivojevic announced that further prices increases are expected in Bosnia, especially in the food sector. Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) asserted in their macroeconomic analysis for January how the growing prices of food could have a negative effect on Bosnia’s economic growth and the employment perspective.

As the amount of money required to cover food expenses increases, so the amount remaining for other goods and services decreases, they warn, and this eventually leads to reduced spending. This is especially a likely scenario for Bosnia, where spending is the main moving power. Another adverse effect is the reduced ability to pay loans.

If salaries started growing faster than productivity, negative impact will be felt on Bosnia’s competitiveness on the international market, the IMF said. Minister Radivojevic warned that further price rises could follow because of costlier energy. The Bosnian government will need to consider taking certain measures, he said.

The Bosnian Consumer Ombudsman Dragan Doko stated that the constant price increases over the past few months are reason enough for the Bosnian citizens to fear for their future living standard.

Doko thinks it is time to raise the issue of developing a national strategy for the protection of citizen’s economic interest.

He reminded that the December prices in Bosnia were by 4.9 per cent higher than the year before that, on average, with highest increases recorded in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group (10 per cent).

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the way to protect the economic interest of the Biosnian citizens is by establishing a unified economic environment, encouraging competition preventing monopolies, and by a number of targeted measures (mark-up caps, buffer stock interventions, market control, etc.).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

LAJCAK AND SOLANA DISCUSSED LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN BOSNIA

BRUSSELS, Belgium (January 22 ,2008) – The European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana had a meeting yesterday with the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.Solana and Lajcak discussed the latest developments in Bosnia as well as in the wider region.Solana welcomed the Mostar,Sarajevo and Laktasi declarations but underlined the need for rapid implementation of their commitments.

While stressing the EU agenda as a priority for Bosnia,Solana assured that Bosnia can rely on the European Union's support and friendship.

Solana and Lajcak also touched upon the future of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR).

“The first priority for this year is the country’s EU agenda.Bosnia must now meet the requirements," the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated.

IRAN DETERMINED TO EXPAND COMPREHENSIVE COOPERATION WITH BOSNIA

TEHRAN, Iran (January 22,2008) – The Iranian Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has criticized the European Union for obeying U.S. dictates, saying, “We advise European leaders to avoid following the United States blindly.”

In a meeting with the Bosnian Ambassador to Iran Senahid Bistric yesterday, Haddad-Adel said the U.S. is seeking to rule the world.

“The United States is trying to block any movement leading to the development of Muslim’s political status due to its animosity towards Islamic establishment.”

Referring to the upcoming membership of Bosnia in the EU, Haddad-Adel expressed hope that the European country would seize the opportunity to “defend the rights of the Islamic states”.

“It is expected that the presence of Bosnia in the EU would further familiarize the Western societies with Islamic culture and history.”

He described Tehran-Sarajevo relations as “good and friendly”, saying, “The Iranian nation has proved its loyalty to the people of Bosnia during the time of war and peace.”

Haddad-Adel said the Islamic Republic is determined to expand comprehensive cooperation with Bosnia.

The Bosnian Ambassador Bistric expressed hope that Bosnia will fulfill its duties in defending the rights of Islamic countries in the European Union.

“Bosnia regards Iran as a very important country which enjoys rich culture and great civilization,” he said.

The Bosnian Ambassador also called for further expansion of cooperation in political, economic, and cultural spheres between the two friendly countries.

A LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST BOSNIA FOR EXTRADITING SIX BOSNIAN CITIZENS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 22 ,2008) – Even six years after the Bosnian authorities extradited six Bosnian citizens of Algerian origin (the so-called Algerian Group) to the US Government, after which they were transferred to the Guantanamo Prison Cuba, there are more questions to be answered than ever, the Wilmer Hale company lawyers, representing the group, stated.

”We have been trying to force the US authorities to present the evidence in court which will explain why these people were arrested”, Robert Kirsch, a lawyer from Boston, told Bosnian media.

He added that the US Government has been refusing to present any evidence whatsoever against these Bosnian citizens, which made Kirsch convinced that there are no evidence at all.

Lawyer Kirsch is of the opinion that nobody in Bosnia wants to thoroughly analyse the issue and added that the Bosnian government act the same way.

”Have the prosecutors ever explained what evidence served as motif for those arrests”, lawyer Kirsch asked and added “the chief prosecutor in this case was Medzida Kreso, present Bosnian State Court President. Marinko Jurcevic, present Bosnian Chief State Prosecutor, was Head of Federal Prosectuor’s Office in the time of those arrests”.

The US lawyer asked how come that neither of the parliamentary commissions called Jasminka Putica, judge in the case, to announce numerous mysteries that lie hidden around this case, including the way the case was prosecuted.

”How is it possible that a person leaves judiciary profession and keeps rejecting any kind of conversation on the issue, keeping in mind that she knows all the details”, the US lawyer said.

He also added that the criminal report has been submitted to the prosecution against the persons responsible for the illegal arrest of these six people. He added that no steps have been taken related to the processing of the case, for “any kind of serious investigation would reveal the shameful involvement of the past prosecution and court into the case”.

Since the Bosnian authorities did not react to numerous calls for liberation of these six Bosnian citizens, the Wilmer Hale team of lawyers initiated a lawsuit against Bosnia at the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.

After a preliminary data exchange it is expected that this lawyer company will propose a concrete amount of monetary compensation in March Bosnia will have to pay for illegal extradition and all the consequences that followed after that.

EU TO SUPPORT BOSNIAN TRADE POLICY REFORM WITH 1,45 MILLION EUROS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 22 ,2008) - The European Union Project, “Support to Trade Policy Development and Capacity Building in Bosnia ”, in cooperation with the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations today are organising today a Conference on the Bosnian foreign trade policy.

”At present, Bosnia is a member of CEFTA; with the EU, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) has been initialled and its signature is expected soon, and negotiations for accession to the World Trade Organisation are entering the final stages. In relation to these developments it is necessary to implement relevant policy reforms in the area of Foreign Trade in order to enable the Bosnian economy to maximise the benefits from these economic integration processes and to expand its export activities in the markets of CEFTA and the EU members”, stated the release of the EU Commission.

During the conference, the document “Trade Needs Assessment Report” prepared by the EU will be presented. The document provides an analysis of the current status of the Bosnian foreign trade policy, and makes recommendations for eliminating the constraints identified in the report.

Based on these recommendations, the EU will support the Bosnian state institutions, especially the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, in drafting and implementing a comprehensive foreign trade policy and in harmonising BiH legislation with WTO rules and with the acquis communautaire.

The value of this Project over a 20 month period is 1.457.653 EUR.

The Conference will be attended by the representatives of the Bosnian state institutions that are in charge of drafting and implementing the Bosnian foreign trade policy, representatives of the private sector, international organisations and academia.

JADRANKA NEGODIC ACCREDITED AS HEAD OF BOSNIAN MISSION TO EU

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 22 ,2008) – Head of the Bosnian Mission to the EU, Ambassador Jadranka Negodic delivered the accreditation to the Head of the EU Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Barroso stated that Bosnia has unquestionable EU perspective, and because of its geographic position, it has a central place in the Southeastern Europe.

Negodic and Barroso talked about finalization of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU, and Bosnia's position during Slovenia’s presiding EU and Euro-Atlantic integration processes, stated the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BOSNIA AND GREECE TO SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT TODAY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 22 ,2008) – The Greek National Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis visited Bosnia at the invitation of the Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic and met with the Greek contingent taking part in the European Union’s Althea peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Meimarakis was also briefed by the commander of the European Union force in Bosnia (EUFOR) the Spanish major-general Ignacio Martin Villalain, on the presence and prospects of the European force in Bosnia.

Having expressed the need for the continuity of EUFOR’s important achievements,Meimarakis assured anew Greece’s keen interest for the improvement of the situation of security in the broader region of the Southeastern Europe.

Meimarakis and Cikotic will sign today the first military cooperation agreement between Greece and Bosnia.

A COMPROMISE IS NEEDED FOR ADOPTION OF BOSNIAN STATE BUDGET FOR 2008

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (January 22 ,2008) – Nikola Spiric,Bosnia's Prime Minister is of the opinion that the Bosnian state budgett for 2008 should be adopted in the form proposed by the Bosnian Government and that a compromise will have to be made in that sense.

Spiric told the press in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka that the state budget should not be a politicized issue, but should be placed in the realistic planning frame.

He added that he has no information that SDA party is against this year’s Budget Draft and that that will clearly be seen during the parliamentary discussion.

Monday, January 21, 2008

ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC CONFERECE SUPPORTS BOSNIAN REFUGEES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 21,2008) – The Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Fuad Ali Al-Maznaee and the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic had a meeting in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on possibilities of promotion of cooperation between Bosnia and the OIC, especially in the sector of refugees’ return.

Al-Maznaee emphasized that the purpose of his visit was to discuss possibilities of improvement of cooperation between the OIC and Bosnia and initiation of the Bosnian officials to prepare a detailed information on the situation in the return sector in Bosnia.

Return process will be one of the main topics of the OIC heads of states conference chich will take place in March in Dakar. The participants are expected to discuss implementation of the Poverty Reduction Fund in the amount of 10 billion USD.

Halilovic presented the OIC officials with a detailed situation in the return sector and emphasized that in the following three years, the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees’ priority will be ensuring funds for sustainable return of 40.000 registered families who expressed willingness to return to their homes.Over one billion Bosnian Marks needs to be insured for that purpose.

Halilovic stated that the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees has detailed data on contrete persons who are in need of assistance for sustainable return.

En-Nur Swar Eddahab, the OIC Director of the Fund for Sustainable Return to Bosnia attended the meeting.