Friday, February 29, 2008

PEACE IMPLEMENTATION COUNCIL RENEWED OHR'S MANDATE IN BOSNIA

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 29,2008) - Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) noted that, since October, Bosnia has made progress with regard to the Stabilisation and association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board welcomes the initialling of the SAA by Bosnia that took place on 4 December 2007. The signing of the SAA is finally in reach as soon as the necessary conditions are met,the Office of the International community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

However, important underlying problems, which gave rise to recent crises, remain in Bosnia. There have been attempts to weaken progressively the institutions and legitimacy of the state. There have been renewed tensions between political actors over the future constitutional make-up of the country as well as the role and competencies of the state. The limited degree of cooperation among Bosnia's pliticians shown in late 2007 has deteriorated. There have also been unacceptable challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement,the OHR said.

The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board expressed deep concern with regard to the calls for secession by the genocidal serbian creature in Bosnia (RS). The PIC SB strongly emphasizes that under the Dayton Peace Agreement an entity has no right to secede from Bosnia.

As previously stated, the PIC SB is also concerned by statements calling the existence of entities into question.

The Steering Board underlined once again that Bosnia is a recognised sovereign state whose territorial integrity is guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Steering Board recalls that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina recognises that Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities and that Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are constituent peoples. The Steering Board remains fully committed to the Dayton Peace Agreement,the OHR said.

The PIC Steering Board reiterated that Bosnia's politicians must end the practice of threatening unilateral changes to the constitutional structure of the country. All parties must comply fully with the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Steering Board underlines that the International Community retains the necessary instruments to counter destructive tendencies and that it will not allow attempts to undermine the Dayton Peace Agreement, whether from inside or outside the country. All signatories and parties are obliged under Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement to cooperate fully with the High Representative and his staff. Decisions of the High Representative must be fully respected and promptly implemented.

With regard to police reform, the PIC SB encourages Bosnia's politicians to take forward the debate in the Bosnian +Parliament and to adopt police reform legislation in line with the Mostar Declaration and the subsequent Action Plan and consistent with EU requirements as a matter of urgency,OHR said.

The PIC SB encourages the Bosnian Council of Ministers to continue to move forward on the reform agenda with determination, and to adopt an action plan as a response to the European Partnership,OHR said.

The PIC SB welcomes the adoption of the Platform for Action and the progress made towards realising some of its objectives, including fiscal coordination. However, much more needs to be done,OHR said.

The PIC SB noted that political party leaders in Bosnia have had initial discussions on constitutional reform and that this issue is also reflected in the Mostar Declaration and the Action Plan. The Steering Board reaffirmed its view that constitutional reform will be necessary in order to equip Bosnia to meet the requirements of a modern European state.

The PIC SB underlined the importance of a free and independent Bosnian media, and noted that the Dayton Peace Agreement obliges Bosnia to ensure the highest level of internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this regard the PIC SB welcomed the visit of the OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media to Bosnia.

In line with the decision taken at its October 2007 meeting, the PIC Steering Board reviewed the situation. It endorsed the following recommendations of the the International community's High Representative (HR) in Bosnia regarding the future of the OHR.

Having assessed developments in Bosnia over the past months, the PIC SB reiterated that transition and ownership remain the goals. It is for Bosnian's politicians, in the first place, to create the conditions for transition to occur, which should happen in the shortest possible time. The PIC SB and the broader International Community stand ready to support Bosnia in creating the necessary conditions,the OHR said.

Bosnia as a “peaceful, viable state irreversibly on course for European integration” has been the longstanding objective of the PIC Steering Board and achieving this objective has been the focus of OHR’s work.

The OHR Work Plan approved by the PIC Steering Board in April 2007, contains a number of longstanding objectives that the PIC Steering Board considers to be essential for the creation of such a peaceful, viable state. For this reason, the PIC Steering Board has decided that the most critical issues contained in the OHR Work Plan be considered objectives that need to be achieved by the BiH authorities prior to transition. These objectives are well established, approved by the PIC SB and have all been previously recognized by the Bosnian authorities as obligations.

The objectives that will need to be delivered by the BiH authorities prior to transition are:

-Acceptable and Sustainable Resolution of the Issue of Apportionment of Property between State and other levels of government

-Acceptable and Sustainable Resolution of Defence Property

-Completion of the Brcko Final Award

-Fiscal Sustainability (promoted through an Agreement on a Permanent ITA Co-efficient methodology and establishment of a National Fiscal Council)

-Entrenchment of the Rule of Law (demonstrated through Adoption of National War Crimes Strategy, passage of Law on Aliens and Asylum, and adoption of National Justice Sector Reform Strategy).

In addition to the objectives listed above, the PIC Steering Board agreed that two conditions need to be fulfilled prior to transition: Signing of the SAA and a positive assessment of the political situation in Bosnia by the PIC SB based on full compliance with the Dayton Peace Agreement.

The signing of the SAA is not part of OHR’s Work Plan. However, it is an important requirement for transition and necessary to demonstrate Bosnia’s progress towards membership of the European Union,the OHR said.

The political situation in Bosnia has previously been defined by the PIC SB as a criterion for decision-making on OHR closure and transition. It remains crucial that Bosnia's political leaders fully comply with the Dayton Peace Agreement avoiding any rhetoric or action that would threaten or violate the Peace Agreement,the OHR said.

The achievement of the above mentioned objectives and fulfilment of the conditions will facilitate transition. The PIC Steering Board urged the Bosnian authorities to achieve these objectives and contribute to fulfilling these conditions as soon as possible. The High Representative stands ready to advise and work with the Bosnian state institutions in this regard,the OHR said.

The PIC SB underscored its full support for the High Representative to facilitate accomplishment of these objectives in a manner consistent with the overall goal of entrenching reform and ensuring Bosnia meets its commitments for Euro-Atlantic integration. The PIC SB requests the HR to undertake all appropriate measures to ensure that the above objectives are met.

OHR will remain in place and continue to carry out its mandate under the Dayton Peace Agreement, ensuring full respect of the Peace Agreement.

The PIC SB reiterated the view that a reinforced EUSR Office would constitute an important part of the EU’s comprehensive engagement after OHR. The Steering Board looked forward to a renewed exchange of information on the respective planning processes.

The PIC SB calls upon Serbia, a Dayton signatory, as well as the authorities in Bosnia, especially those in the genocidal Serbian creature in bosnia ("RS"), to abide by their obligations under international law to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), playing a proactive role in apprehending all remaining indictees, including Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, without further delay, dismantling the networks offering support to such fugitives, and ensuring they are transferred to the ICTY,the OHR said.

The OHR will monitor progress against objectives and conditions and the PIC Steering Board will keep the situation under constant review. The next meeting of Political Directors will take place in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on 24 and 25 June 2008.
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100 MILLION BOSNIAN MARKS TO BE ALLOCATED FOR RETURN OF REFUGEES IN 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 29,2008) - The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees will allocate this year 40 million Bosnian Marks for refugees and displaced persons, and together with allocations from the entity budgets the sum will increase up to about 100 million Bosnian Marks.

The data were presented by the president of the Bosnian Union of Associations of Refugees, Displaced Persons and Returnees, Merhunisa Zukić, at the press conference held in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.

She added that revision of viable return strategy is in progress, which was initiated by the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, in which 70 governmental and non-governmental institutions have been included.

“What is most important for us is that it is for the first time since the Dayton Agreement that NGOs have been entrusted to participate in drafting of such document in all segments. In this way we practically change the Bosnian Constitution.Strategy will be a binding one and will have more force than Dayton Agreement”, Mrs Zukić pointed out.

The mentioned strategy should be found in the Bosnian Parliament by the end of March, while its realization could start this summer.

Zukić pointed out that since the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions in entire Bosnia 68 % of the destroyed housing fund have been reconstructed, i.e. 307, 000 houses, while 145, 000 houses have remained unreconstructed.
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BOSNIAN STATE COURT FINDS SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MITAR RASEVIC AND SAVO TODOVIC GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 29,2008) – The Bosnian State Court sentenced yesterday Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic to eight and a half years and Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic to twelve years of imprisonment for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia at the Foca concentration camp.

The Bosnian State Court announced Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic are guilty of crimes against humanity committed at the concentration camp in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca and sentenced them to eight and a half and twelve and a half years imprisonment respectively.

They were also found guilty of having participated in joint criminal enterprise.

The time they have spent in custody will be credited towards their sentence. Rasevic has been in custody since August 2003 and Todovic since January 2005.

Serbian war criminals Todovic and Rasevic, between April 1992 to October 1994, participated in the mistreatment of more than 700 Bosnian civilians at the Foca concentration campnnnnnj. Rasevic was commander of guards, while Todovic was deputy commander of the concentration camp.

The announcement of the verdict started with an hour and a half delay. Upon his arrival to the courtroom, Trial Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic said the delay was "just proof" that the three-day legal deadline "was not sufficient for these type of decisions."

The Bosnian State Court announced the two Serbian war criminals guilty of all counts in the indictment, but it acquitted them of the charges contained in two sub-counts, which charged them with having maintained the system of mistreatment of Bosnian civilians in the Foca concentration camp and with having ordered the guards to torture and murder detained Bosnian civilians.

According to the Trial Chamber, on the basis of the presented pieces of evidence it can be determined that the indictees were "aware of their positions and of all the happenings in the Foca concentration camp".

"Most of the witnesses were the foca concentration camp survivors. The Chamber is aware of the fact that they were not eyewitnesses to these events, but it decided to admit their statements, as they suffered incrimination and because their statements were more or less the same," Vucinic said.

Chairman Vucinic also emphasised that, when considering the severity of the sentence, the Chamber "especially considered the mitigating circumstances" for Rasevic although he did not say which circumstances he was referring to.

"The eight and a half years sentence can fully serve the purpose of punishment. Concerning Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic, the Bosnian State Court determined that the twelve and a half years sentence is adequate bearing in mind the severity of the crime," Vucinic said.

The Defence attorneys of the two indictees said that they intended to file an appeal, as they were not content with the verdict.

The two Serbian war criminals were originally indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. In October 2006, as part of the ICTY's exit strategy, this case was referred to Bosnia for further processing.

In early 2007 the Bosnian State Court confirmed the amended indictment against Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic.
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REGIONAL STABILITY PACT TRANSFERS JURISDICTION TO RCC

SOFIA, Bulgaria (February 29,2008) – A meeting was held in Bulgaria of the Southeastern Europe Regional Stability Pact, which officially marked the end of the Stability Pact and transfer of jurisdiction to the Regional cooperation council (RCC), headquartered in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The session was resided by Stability Pact Special Coordinator Erhard Busek, who officially passed the jurisdiction to the Council’s Secretary General Hidajet Biscevic.

The Bulgarian Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Ivajlo Kalfin and the President of the Council of Europe and thr Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitrij Rupel addressed the meeting participants.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj also addressed the participants of the session on the occasion of the official transfer of authorities. He thanked the countries participants of the South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) for supporting Bosnia and its capital by a consensus in the process of making it RCC headquarters.

”Let me, on behalf of the Bosnian state and its high officials sincerely thank you for the trust that you have showed us. This truly is a great challenge to our instrument of cooperation in the region, which should contribute the strengthening of regional stability, prosperity and an accelerated democratization of SE Europe. This is also a possibility for progress in EU reform processes and an opportunity for assembling of all the countries of the region around one and main goal”, Alkalaj said.

Minister Alkalaj stated his belief that Bosnia will make a good host to the future RCC activities.
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TWO DAY REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOCIAL SECURITY OPENED IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 29,2008) – The Bosnian capital Sarajevo is hosting a two day conference on healthcare financing, pensions and unemployment benefits in the southeastern Europe.

At the conference organized by the World Bank in cooperation with the Direction for Economic Planning in Bosnia,the high government officials from Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Macedonia gathered in Sarajevo along with experts from the World Bank and other international organizations.

The goal of the conference is to reach consensus on necessary reforms of health financing, pensions and unemployment benefits, especially in the context of citizen’s aging. Participants shall exchange experience from their own countries on social security and financing in this area.

Head of the World Bank office in Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli stated that issues of financing healthcare, pensions insurance and unemployment insurance are extremely important for all countries of the southeastern Europe which are facing new challenges related to the sustainability of existing models of social security.

In these countries these rights are realized through incomes from formal employment and considering that the base of formal employment is very narrow, authorities must rely on the narrow tax base for collection of income tax. Consequence of this are high tax rates which is does not motivate employment in formal sector.

"High taxes on work power harden employment of larger number of people and on the other hand, with fewer employees there is less assets for financing all social rights”, added Mantovanelli.

Population in these countries is getting older and the only exception is Albania, so there is fewer work competent people who could pay income tax which leads to situation in which these countries would have to decrease rights and find new ways for their financing.

"I hope we will exchange information during this conference on how individual countries think about solving these problems and that we will reach a consensus on how to move on”, added Mantovanelli.

Bosnia is currently developing a new strategy for mid-term development. Head of Direction for Economic Planning Ljerka Maric stated that this conference is a chance to reconsider situation in the social sector from 2004 to 2007.

"Economically we are progressing but social expenditure is highly endangered”, stated Maric and underlined the priority of implementation of structural reforms in these three sectors.
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

BOSNIA AND SAUDI ARABIA SIGNED AGREEMENT ON COOPERATION

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (February 28,2008) - A partnership agreement between Bosnia and Saudi Arabia has been signed in in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia,by the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber and the Saudi Council of Chambers of Commerce, in the presence of a member of the Bosnian Presidency Dr Haris Silajdzic.The Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber Head Milan Lovrić and Saudi Arabia Trade Chambers’ Council President Dr Fahd bin Salih Al Sultan signed the agreement.

On that occasion, Dr Silajdžić once again invited the investors from Saudi Arabia to invest their capital in Bosnia and develop partnership relations with the Bosnian companies.

After short presentations of the two chambers, there were bilateral agreements between the Bosnian and Saudi businessmen.

A delegation from Bosnia was in Saudi Arabia for the Jeddah Business Forum, where several bilateral meetings have taken place between Bosnian and Saudi entrepreneurs. A return visit from Saudi businessmen is expected in May.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER HARIS SILAJDZIC: OHR'S MANDATE SHOULD BE EXPANDED

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 28,2008) – The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Managing Board and members of the Bosnian Presidency stated yesterday that the Dayton Peace Agreement needs to be implemented and that the EU and NATO associations are the only alternative Bosnia has.

Differences regarding dynamics, methodology, necessary conditions and the role of the International Community in the process have remained mainly the same.

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated that there is an enormous misbalance between the citizens’ expectations and practical actions of their elected political representatives, in relation to reform processes like reconstruction of police forces and administrative reform. “Leaders are absolutely responsible”, Lajcak concluded.

The President of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic advocated that the conditions for a serious step forward to the EU should be made as son as possible. In that sense, he mentioned signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union. He also expressed reserves that the most important priorities in the process are “listed” the best way.

For him, the most important issue and the main priority of all the factors in the country, including the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), should be the country’s security and personal security of all Bosnian citizens.

The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic is of the opinion that the OHR’s mandate is not disputable, and neither is reorganization of the present Office in the process of Bosnia’s association to the EU, for, Komsic stated,the OHR has not been acting as efficiently as necessary lately.

Haris Silajdzic, a member of the Bosnian Presidency, is of the opinion that the OHR’s mandate should be expanded and that the Office should use all the Bonn Powers singed December 1997.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic is of the opinion that the transformation of the OHR to the EU Office is a natural process and that the International Community’s authorities in Bosnia will be “in accordance to the conditions the country is in”.

At the end of the meeting yesterday,the Peace Implementation Council Main Board condemned a resolution against Kosovo independence proclamation adopted recently by the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("RS").
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENT KOMSIC CRITICIZED LAJCAK FOR HIS RELUCTANCE TO USE BONN POWERS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 28,2008) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic – criticized the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak for his reluctance to use the Bonn powers. In his blog,http://zeljkokomsic.blogger.ba, President Komsic wrote that not using the Bonn authorities to the benefit of the Bosnian citizens is as good as not having them at all.

President Komsic also wrote how Lajcak is a great disappointment to him, because of being passive and scared, either of the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) Milorad Dodik, or his bosses.

Lajcak has definitely decided not to interfere with his own work, and he is mostly dealing with some virtual reforms,
President Komsic concluded, and announced that his Brussels speech before the PIC was titled “How to bring a smile back to the face of Miroslav Lajcak”.
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SPIRIC URGED PIC TO SUPPORT BOSNIA'S EU INTEGRATION

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 28,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric stated that the political situation in Bosnia is much better now comparing the situation at the time of the last session of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) Managing Board.

Spiric stated that the activities of the Bosnian Council of Ministers are based on two ideas – further integration of Bosnia into the EU and the full membership in the NATO.

”Bosnia on December 4 2007 initialed the Stabilisation a nd Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU and the Bosnian Council of Ministers took obligations derived from it very seriously”, stated Spiric.

Regarding the police reform, he informed PIC that based on the Mostar Declaration and Action Plan for police reform,the Bosnian Council of Ministers on February 14 confirmed and sent into parliamentary procedure draft law on the Direction for police bodies coordination and agencies for the support to the police structure in Bosnia as well as the draft law on independent supervisory bodies of the police structure.

”Both laws were adopted in the first reading in the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives and House of Peoples. I expect for these laws to be presented in the House of Representatives for the second reading in the session’s Agenda on March 5”, stated Spiric.

He added that every reform is a matter of process, not moment. “I have appealed to all chosen authorities to choose further integrations over ideal laws”, added Spiric.

He estimated that the issue of further integrations needs a wide consensus but that no one has the right to stop the processes and for Bosnia to waste the chance given by Brussels. He expressed optimism that reason and responsibility will prevail and both laws would be adopted at the second reading.

”I appeal to you to encourage those political forces which expressed doubts since it is clear that these two laws do not complete the police reform but they make those first steps which would not allow us to go back any more”, added Spiric.

He concluded that there is progress in the public management reform which was noted in the report of European Commission last week.

Spiric underlined that the basic program goal of the Bosnian government, except from the EU integrations processes, is the full membership in NATO.

He informed PIC that the Bosnian Council of Ministers concluded a number of other important draft laws such as budget law, law on criminal proceedings, law on medications and other medical supplies, law on salaries and employment fees in the Bosnian state institutions, as well as the law on fiscal council.

Spiric stated that the Bosnian Council of Ministers has the list of priorities such as solving the status the state property, attracting foreign investments, economic development, and census, strategy for the fight against corruption and framework employment strategy.

He added that these days the issue of the future of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in bosnia (OHR) is very much discussed.

Spiric appealed to PIC to support Bosnia on its road towards the EU and again underlined the importance of signing the SAA as soon as possible.

"As I have already mentioned, after the Dayton Agreement, the SAA is the most important agreement for Bosnia which should bring together all creative potentials and ensure that Bosnia rises above futile and somewhat hysteric political games”, concluded Spiric.
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BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SVEN ALKALAJ DISCUSSED POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA WITH EU OFFICIALS

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 28,2008)– The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj had a meeting in Brussels with a member of the European Parliament and President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for the southeastern Europe Doris Pack.

Alkalaj informed her on the political situation in Bosnia and development of the events in the light of police reform. Bills of the police reform passed in the first reading in both the Bosnian state parliamentary houses.

Pack emphasized that she has been monitoring the processes in Bosnia with great attention. She added expectations that Bosnia will successfully continue the European integration processes.

She informed Alkalaj about her recent visit to Bihac which occurred as a part of the activities aimed to promote the educational reform in Bosnia.

They exchanged opinions on the political situation in the region and emphasized the need of preserving the stability which is a precondition for further progress of the southeastern European countries to the EU.

Alkalaj also met in Brussels with Michael Leigh, European Commission’s General Directorate for Expansion Director General.

Alkalaj emphasized the need of continuation of negotiations on visa regime facilitation for the Bosnian citizens.

Leigh expressed pleasure over a positive development regarding the Bosnian police reform and added that the European Commission is willing to provide help and support in the sector.

He emphasized the importance of stability of Bosnia and of the entire region, for that will enable progress of the EU association processes of all the southeastern European countries.
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TRIAL OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL NOVAK DJUKIC TO BEGIN ON MARCH 11

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 28,2008) – Trial in the case against Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic, accused of war crimes against Bosnian civilians will begin on March 11, the Bosnian State court announced on Tuesday at the status conference.

The Bosnian state Prosecutor's Office alleges that, during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, on May 25, 1995, in the capacity of Commander of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS), Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic ordered the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers, located on Cerovo Brdo, Vrbak village at the mountain of Ozren, to fire a missile at a location in the centre of the eastern Bosnian city of Tuzla known as „Tuzlanska Kapija.“

As a result of the explosion of the missile, 71 Bosnian civilians were killed while 240 sustained injuries.Tuzla was declared a safe zone by a Resolution of the United Nations Secutiy Council issued on May 6, 1993.

Serbian war criminal Novak Djukic was arrested last year in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka by the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency’s (SIPA).

Indictment against Serbian war criminal was raised on December 27,2007. It was confirmed bythe Bosnian State Court on January 4,2008.
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DEVELOPING A STATE STRATEGY FOR PROCESSING OF WAR CRIMES IS A PRIORITY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 28,2008) – Development of state strategy for processing cases of war crimes and development of a catalogue of all war crimes in Bosnia are the priorities that will help a faster processing of war crimes in Bosnia, participants of the conference of chief prosecutors and prosecutors in charge of cases of war crimes stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The Bosnian Deputy Chief Prosecutor and Prosecutor of the Special Department of War Crimes Milorad Barasin expects that Bosnia should soon get a state strategy for processing the war crimes.

Draft of the strategy should be submitted to the Bosnian Council of Ministers for adoption in the first half of 2008, Barasin hopes.

This document, partially developed by the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office, will define models for an accelerated and more efficient solving of the cases. It will also determine priorities for the cases that are yet to be solved.

”That is a very important issue, for solving of those cases and of all the issues that are related to war crimes greatly influences co-existence and creation of a legal state”, Barasin is of the opinion.

He emphasized the importance of war crimes’ catalogue, which should contain a list that will serve as a base for development of state strategy and solving of all cases of war crimes.

Barasin could not give any concrete details to the press about the number of war crimes cases in Bosnia, keepinh in mind the fact that the figures vary daily. An inventory of all the cases should be made and then decide on the priorities, he added.

Also, there are war crimes that have not yet been discovered and reported. Some of them are discovered and reported on the daily basis through the law implementation agencies.

Barasin named another problem in the process of solving the cases – the lack of material evidence. It is hard to obtain them, so investigations and all other procedures are conducted on the basis of witnesses’ statements.

It is unknown how many indictments are to be raised this year at the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office. Barasin stated that all the cases “are enormous” and that he would be satisfied if “every prosecutor rose an indictment per a year”.

The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) Deputy Head Miroslav Pejcinovic stated that the agency has been executing per 580 orders annually. 25 persons have been arrested, mainly on the basis of the state Prosecutor’s Office. In January, four persons were arrested.

Pejcinovic emphasized that a difficulty is that the witnesses are scattered throughout Bosnia or in the foreign countries.

Also, some of the archives were eliminated and that resulted in unavailability of some data on possible war crimes perpetrators.
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BOSNIAN CENTRAL BANK: BORROWING DECREASED IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 28,2008) - Recent data from the Bosnian Central Bank show every Bosnian citizen has average 1,470 Bosnian Marks borrowed from banks, and the credit burden of every employed person is average 8,000 Bosnian Marks.

The Bosnian Central Bank does not find these figures worrying, and reports that borrowing slightly decreased in November and December.

By the end of December, retail loans amounted to 5.685 billion Bosnian Marks and growth rate dropped from 29.5 per cent to 28 per cent. There is no way to claim with certainty that the drop was due to required reserves ratio for commercial banks being raised from 15 per cent to 18 per cent, head of the Statistic Department of the Bosnian Central Bank said.

The banks in Bosnia still have no problem meeting this requirement, and the reserve surplus is around 750 million Bosnian Marks. Also, banks are becoming more flexible, requiring guarantors and other securities for their loans less often.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SOLANA: EU MILITARY PRESENCE IN BOSNIA AS LONG AS NECESSARY

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 27,2008) - The EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met in Brussels yesterday and stated that they do not believe the speculations on the strengthening of tensions in the region.Speaking about Bosnia, Solana confirmed that during EU-NATO meeting most they talked about police reform and future of the Office of the International Community's High Reprsentative in Bosnia (OHR), that is, its transformation into the Office of the EU special Representative in Bosnia. He expressed hope that Bosnia's political leaders shall soon manage to agree on the main principles of the police reform since the signing of the stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the european Union depends on it.

Commenting the possible influence of the situation in Kosovo on Bosnia, Solana stated that the political and security situation in Bosnia is under control and that Brussels does not expect any negative outcomes.

He repeated the stand of the EU from last Monday under which the conditions for completion of Altea operation in Bosnia still are not met and that EU will keep its military presence in Bosnia as long as it is necessary.
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SILAJDZIC MET WITH OIC GENERAL SECRETARY EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (February 27,2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Dr Haris Silajdzic met in Saudi Arabia with the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). During the meeting, the two were discussing IDB’s role in the economic development of Bosnia. Need to support sustainable return of refugees, infrastructural developments and other projects for overall improvement of the quality of life were in the focus.

Afterwards, Silajdzic also met with the general secretary of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – Dr Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. They were talking about the details of the forthcoming OIC Summit in Dakar, to which Bosnia has been invited to participate.
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EU URGES BOSNIA TO COMPLETE POLICE REFORM

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 27,2008) - Bosnia could sign an agreement in April bringing it closer to EU membership, the European Union said yesterday, urging the Southeastern European state to complete police reforms to avoid missing the opportunity.

"I would expect we should be able to sign an SAA with Bosnia shortly, that is in April, on condition that Bosnia can adopt the required laws concerning police reform," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters yesterday.

"It's a great opportunity for the country and I trust the leaders will not miss this opportunity," he said ahead of meeting in Brussels today with Bosnia's leadership.

"If they (Bosnia's leaders) show enough willingness, positive thinking and pro-activeness, there is enough to go forward," Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, the official in charge of an EU police mission in Bosnia told a news briefing in Brussels.
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BOSNIAN STATE COURT TO ANNOUNCE TOMORROW ITS VERDICT AGAINST SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MITAR RASEVIC AND SAVO TODOVIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – The Bosnian State Court said it will announce its verdict against Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic at the end of this week.The Trial Chamber said it will announce its verdict tomorrow,on February 28.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor alleges that Serbian war crimials Rasevic and Todovic participated in the establishment and maintenance of the system for murder and mistreatment of at least 700 Bosnian civilians held by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the Foca concentration camp,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment claims that Rasevic was commander of guards, while Todovic was deputy concentration camp commander. The two Serbian war criminals are charged on the basis of their command and individual responsibility.

Calling for a verdict of release, the two indictees and their Defence teams said they considered that the Prosecution did not prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In their closing arguments, Serbian war criminals Rasevic and Todovic denied having participated in the mistreatment and murder of Bosnian civilians and asked the Bosnian State Court to pass down "the only fair verdict, i.e. a verdict of release."

Defence attorney Slavisa Prodanovic stressed that Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic treated the Bosnian civilians in a "humane" manner and that in no way could he influence the conditions in the Foca concentration camp. He further said that he did not have the "power" to sanction other Serbian aggressor's soldiers "for whatever they did".

Prodanovic said that the indictment was "defective and imprecise" and repeated several times that it was "arbitrary." He added that the Prosecution had not managed to prove, "beyond reasonable doubt", any count from the indictment or the individual and command responsibility of his client.

"The Prosecution has based this case on one document, by which the Foca concentration camp commander appointed Rasevic as commander of guards. On the basis of this document, the Prosecution determined that he had the power to prevent the guards from doing something. His sole responsibility was to distribute the guards. All other issues were handled by the concentration camp commander," Prodanovic said.

Todovic's Defence attorneys also indicated that Serbian war criminal Milorad Krnojelac, the Foca concentration camp commander who was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to 15 years of imprisonment, was responsible for this concentration camp and that his client's responsibility was "not proved at all."

"The concentration camp commander had the responsibility for all detainees. However, his responsibilities were also limited," the second indictee's additional attorney Jovan Debelica said.

Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic said he helped the Bosnian civilians held in the Foca concentration camp "as much as he possibly could" and that he could not prevent anyone from taking them away "even if he told them to kill him first."

"I feel honoured and pleased when I see some of the witnesses whom I helped. To me, the fact that some people who used to be detained in the Facility greet and encourage me today represents the biggest moral satisfaction," he said.

Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic also added that he felt sympathy for the families of those Bosnian civilians murdered and the survivors who had been detained in the Foca concentration camp. He also pointed out that it would be unfair to them should the Bosnian State Court pronounce him guilty as, in that case, "the actual perpetrators would remain unpunished."

Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic did not deny that conditions in the Foca concentration camp were "difficult". However, he said that this was a result of "objective circumstances" and was not his fault. He also pointed out that he was glad because "this agony" was finally over.
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BOSNIAN TAX AUTHORITY MANAGING BOARD TO AMEND CURRENT CUSTOMS TARIFFS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – It seems that after several years of pleading and unsuccessful lobbying with tax regulators, the Bosnian business community will finally see some developments in this area.

Following a proposal by the Bosnian Council of Ministers, the Bosnian Tax Authority Managing Board has decided that that it would have its final say on amendments to the Customs Tariff Act and the Excise Act in the next ten days.

The Board agrees that the current customs tariffs do not meet the needs of the Bosnian economy, both from the aspect of protecting local producers and liberalization of raw material imports.
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BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS POLICE REFORM LAWS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – The Bosnian Parliament's House of Peoples of has adopted a set of laws regulating the reform of the Bosnian police, in the first reading. The laws legislating seven new police bodies had previously been adopted by the House of Representatives.

The members of the Bosnian Parliament that voted against it argued it the laws are not legal, or in conformity with the three European principles of police reform.

The members of the Bosnian Parliament voting in favour said they are a condition for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union. Also, the upper house adopted the budget for the Bosnian government institutions in 2008, worth 1,186 billion Bosnian Marks.

Furthermore, the newly adopted passport law enables the introduction of biometric passports in Bosnia. The Kyoto Protocol was also adopted.
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EUPM IS HOSTING FORUM ON STANDARDISATION OF INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

MOSTAR, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – The EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) is hosting a three-day forum gathering Bosnia's police officials and prosecutors in order to standardise and harmonise the formal documentation used in criminal investigations.

The need to harmonise procedures directly follows from a desire to improve mutual understanding and efficiency with regard to investigations.

The forum has a two-fold assignment – to analyse every relevant step of criminal investigations and the formal documents used on the one hand, and to define how they could be standardised and harmonised throughout the whole country to make investigations and the necessary cooperation between various authorities more efficient on the other.

The findings of the working group will be communicated at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday 27 February 2008 at 13:00 hrs at the Hotel Ada in Blagaj, Mostar.

This meeting was organised upon the initiative of the EU Police Mission in scope of an ongoing project of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council aimed at establishing better coordination mechanisms between the police and prosecutors in the fight against crime and corruption.
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IRISH DEFENCE MINISTER WILLIE O'DEA TO VISIT BOSNIA NEXT WEEK

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 27,2008) – The Irish Defence Minister Willie O'Dea is to make a three-day visit to Irish troops in Bosnia next week.

More than 40 Irish personnel are stationed in Bosnia as staff officers or as part of the military police and weapons-verification teams. Ireland has participated in the EU-led mission in the region since 1997.

Minister O'Dea and his officials will hold meetings with international military and diplomatic figures. He is also expected to be briefed on the security situation in relation to Irish troops.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BOSNIAN STATE DELEGATION LED BY BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER HARIS SILAJDZIC VISITED SAUDI ARABIA

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (February 26,2008) — The second day of the 9th Jeddah Economic Forum kicked off with an electrifying first session that included three absorbing speeches delivered by a self-critical Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain and the United States, a confident Dr Haris Silajdzic, a member of the Bosnian Presidency, and a highly articulate Dr Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister of Palestine. Bosnian Presidency member Dr Haris Silajdzic, speaking in fluent Arabic, recalled the sacrifices that Bosnians made in their march to freedom and said that the oppressors were devoid of any feelings in their hearts and carried out attacks not for any financial gain but on account of an ideology that was highly exclusive.

“The aggressors’ hearts were empty,” he said. Silajdzic also appealed to the Saudi business community to invest in Bosnia because it is a shining example of universal tolerance.

The Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad said that despite all promises made at the Annapolis Conference, the Palestinians were still suffering at the hands of the Israelis and checkpoints still remain in place, making life miserable for Palestinians. He acknowledged the help from various donors but said a lot needed to be done on the political front for people to feel a tangible difference in their lives.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal admitted, in retrospect, he may have failed to provide his children and grandchildren with a better world rather than the one he inherited.

The three were deliberating on the theme of “From the ‘House’ to the World,” a reference to the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

In his speech, Bosnian Presidency member Dr Haris Silajdzic,who began by thanking the Saudi Arabian citizens and leadership for continuously supporting Bosnia financially and emotionally,outlined that there is a need to overcome conflicts between civilizations.

He emphasized that Bosnia is a role model that must be followed by other countries for there to be coexistence.

“The Bosnians, through their authentic culture and principles, have learned how to coexist with others and offer them support and protection. Our country is not just a piece of land somewhere in Europe. It is a symbol and model of success and failure as well... we paid and are still paying the price of keeping these principles,” Silajdzic said.

“The world today needs models and examples such as Bosnia. In this era of globalization, the world resembles Bosnia,” he said, adding that dialogue is important and is the only way for globalization.

“I am standing here near the sacred lands of the Two Holy Mosques and the Kaaba. New culture and principles started from Makkah. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says, He made mankind ‘to meet and know each other,’” he said, adding that this is the concept of globalization today. Silajdzic said that Bosnia is not usually cited as an example to learn from and that only its negativities are mentioned.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal said he blames himself for lacking in political development and social misgivings. “I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that my generation has failed to meet these challenges that face us all. I hope that my children and my grandchildren will succeed in leaving behind them a better world for their children,” he said.

He further stressed that those who do not learn from their mistakes are bound to make them again. “From the theme of this forum ‘Value Creation Through Partnership and Alliances,’ we have to operate within a global society. Let’s not be afraid of committing mistakes, but learn from them,” he said. “The emphasis is on education, education and education.”

The Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, quoting Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah during the recent Islamic Summit, called for Muslims to work together to alleviate poverty. “We should work together to alleviate the poverty of our fellow human beings. We also should improve education as means of alleviating poverty,” he added.

Highlighting the historical importance of Saudi Arabia as being “the cross roads and center of commerce of the world” the Saudi Prince said that the Saudi economic horizons could no longer be limited by national horizons. “As a member of the World Trade Organization, Saudi Arabia is now truly open for business,” he said.

“We must generate an understanding that the only way for us to continue to improve our condition is to reach out to those around us,” he added.

During the panel discussion on how communities build their alliances, Nahed Taher, founder and chief executive officer of Gulf One Investment Bank, expressed her concerns about the misunderstanding of alliances. She raised the issue of people coming to the Kingdom thinking of it as an investment pocket and how it is creating a big funding gap.

The Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal agreed with Taher’s comment.

“You’re right. We have to bring people to work with us and invest in our economy,” he said. “It’s not simply a matter of us having wallets full of cash.

The world is different now thanks to young people, especially in Saudi Arabia, who are engaged in entrepreneurship and providing services to other people.” Prince Turki said that Saudi Arabia no longer relies on oil and that there are other alternatives that are taking over. If an American, European or Japanese investor is seeking cash, he’ll be surprised what his Saudi counterpart asks of him.

“Those who seek to steal money from Saudi, will find it to be a much more difficult place,” he said.

From February 23 to 26, Bosnia was presented at the economic forum held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.A business forum and bilateral meetings were organized by the Bosnian External Trade Chamber in cooperation with the Bosnian Presidency and the Bosnian Foreign Investment and Promotion Agency (FIPA) and in coordination with Trade Chamber of Saudi Arabia and Trade Chamber of Jeddah as a host.

At this business forum, Bosnia was represented by a memner of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic and more information on business ambience and investments possibilities was given by the Bosnian External Chamber Head Milan Lovric and FIPA Director Haris Basic.

The main goal of this visit of the Bosnian delegation to Saudi Arabia was to see all possibilities of placing their products on Saudi market and to offer concrete investment projects.
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PEACE IMPLEMENTATION COUNCIL TO DISCUSS POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA TODAY

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 26,2008) – The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) will convene in Brussels today and tomorrow , to discuss the political situation in Bosnia. One of the issues expected to be on the agenda is the closing of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR).

Members of the Bosnian Presidency, Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric and the presidents of six most influential political parties in Bosnia will be at the meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, as well. After that they will meet the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to talk about the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union and the Bosnian constitutional reform.
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EUROPEAN UNION HOPES TO SIGN SAA WITH BOSNIA IN MARCH OR APRIL

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (February 26,2008) - The European Union hopes to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia in March or April, as soon as the Southeastern European country completes an overdue police reform, the bloc's president Slovenia said.

The Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj said the reform of Bosnia's ethnically separate police forces would be completed in March.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel told a joint news conference with Alkalaj the EU was ready to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia immediately after that.

Bosnia initialed the SAA, the first rung on the ladder to EU membership, in December.

Alkalaj rejected threat of the Serbians living in Bosnia to hold a referendum on secession from Bosnia if the majority of U.N. member states and the European Union recognize Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

"According to the Dayton agreement, no part of Bosnia has the right to secede," said Alkalaj.

The Dayton agreement ended the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Alkalaj said Bosnia was not likely to recognize independent Kosovo at present.
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SDA CRITICIZES LAJCAK FOR SUPPORTING ENEMIES OF BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Party of Democratic Action (SDA),which is the strongest Bosnian political party, stated that the “forces of Bosnia” are now much stronger than before the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia and would protect integrity of Bosnia's borders.

“Those who have problem with the Bosnian State or who don't see it as their country, can leave for wherever they want, but they cannot take any part of Bosnian territory,” the SDA statement read,demanding the Serbians living in Bosnia stop contemplating independence.

The SDA also criticised the International Community's High Representative Miroslav Lajcak who on Friday met the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) , Milorad Dodik, in an attempt to calm tensions that have arisen since Kosovo's declaration of independence.

“The behaviour of the international community is worrying, especially the behaviour of High Representative Miroslav Lajcak,” the SDA said, criticising Lajcak for tolerating radical rhetoric from the political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia “without undertaking of any measures.”

Lajcak rebuked the SDA's allegations, asserting “I don’t know whether they are aware how dangerous their message is. No party can decide who can live in this country and who cannot.”

He said that a key part of his mandate is to meet all of Bosnia's senior politicians, including Dodik as well as SDA leaders.

Lajcak emphasised that during the meeting with Dodik, he supported the existence of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) and that it has no legal right to secede.
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BOSNIAN STATE PROSECUTOR COMPLETED PRESENTING EVIDENCE AGAINST THREE SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS CHARGED WITH MASS MURDER OF 23 BOSNIAN CIVILIANS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Bosnian State Prosecutor has completed presenting its evidence against three Serbian war criminals charged with the mass murder of 23 Bosnian civilians in Jajce municipality,during the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Dr Hamza Zujo was cross-examined by the Bosnian State Prosecutor as the last witness.Zujo said he concluded, on the basis of assessment of the corpses, that 22 out of 23 Bosnian civilians, had injuries caused by firearms.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic with having participated in gathering Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages on September 10, 1992. After that, they took them to Tisovac, where they murdered them. The indictment alleges that 23 Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor and four were wounded on that occasion.

"Asmer Zobic's body was the only one without firearms injuries," Dr Zujo said, explaining that he considered that, in the case of this victim, a bullet passed through the body without damaging any bones.

Asked by Slavica Cvoro, Defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, which type of weapons had been used, Zujo said that he did not "want to get involved in the issues of ballistics."

At the end of the presentation of evidence, Prosecutor Mirko Lecic presented the remaining pieces of material evidence, including death certificates for 23 murdered Bosnians issued by the City Cemetery in Visoko.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on February 29, when the first indictee's Defence will examine its first witnesses.
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BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT ADOPTED DRAFT LAW ON BOSNIAN SPORT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Peoples adopted the draft law on the Bosnian Sport in the same text in which was earlier adopted by the House of Representatives.

With this law, among other things, a Council for the Bosnian Sport is formed as a highest counseling body of the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs which deals with the development and quality of sport in Bosnia.

Also, an agency for doping control is formed which is necessary if our athletes wish to compete at international venues.

Delegates also adopted the draft law on changing and amending the law on the Bosnian travel documents. Considering that the House of Representatives earlier adopted this draft law in somewhat different text some adjustments shall be needed between the houses.
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SARAJEVO CANTON IMPORTS TOTALLED 3,3 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS IN 2007

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) - Exports of the companies registered in the central Sarajevo Canton amounted to 726 million Bosnian Marks last year, while their imports were worth as much as 3.3 billion Bosnian Marks. Exports grew at the rate of 15.5 per cent and imports at the rate of 17.4 per cent.

The trade exchange ratio has thus dropped from 22.8 per cent to 21.8 per cent. Canton’s trade deficit has reached 2.6 billion Bosnian Marks. The Bosnian capital Sarajevo accounts for a quarter of Bosnia’s total trade exchange, which was worth more than 17 billion Bosnian Marks last year.
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FIPA TO PRESENT AWARDS TO BEST FOREIGN INVESTORS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) - The Bosnian Foreign Investment and Promotion Agency (FIPA) will organize a ceremony in Sarajevo on March 6 at which awards will be presented to best foreign investors in the previous year.

The award categories will include greenfield investments, privatization investments, joint venture investments and investment that opened the most new jobs. FIPA had earlier announced that 2007 was a record-breaking year in terms of foreign investments in Bosnia.
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Monday, February 25, 2008

LAJČÁK: JUDICIAL REFORM IN BOSNIA IS ONE OF MY TOP PRIORITIES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 25,2008) - Judicial reform in Bosnia is among his top priorities, the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia miroslav Lajcak said in an online answer to questions from citizens on the http://www.reci.ba website.

“We discuss this issue almost every day with representatives of the judiciary … and we will not give up on this,” he said.

Asked when Bosnia might join the European Union, Lajčák said:"The speed at which the process advances will depend on Bosnia.”

He recalled that Bosnia first needed to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union and appealed to the Bosnian citizens to demand that no time is wasted in this process.

Answering a question on the future of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), Lajčák described his mandate as “a guarantee that nobody can divert Bosnia from the right path” and expressed his preference for a “natural and harmonious” transition from the mandate of the High Representative to an exclusively European mandate. For this to happen, an atmosphere needs to be created in which interventions by the High Representative are “less and less needed”.

Miroslav Lajčák’s full answers are available in Bosnian on http://www.reci.ba, in video format under the heading “Lajčák odgovara”.

The website http://www.reci.ba was launched as part of the OHR’s campaign on the EU perspective of Bosnia and allows the Bosnian citizens to voice their opinion on the process of Bosnia’s integration into the European Union, the OHR said.
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LAJČÁK: NOBODY HAS RIGHT OF OBSTRUCTING BOSNIA'S EU INTEGRATION PROCESS

TREBINJE, Bosnia (February 25,2008) – The EU integration process is a priority of Bosnia and its leaders should do everything to fulfill conditions for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA),the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated after a meeting with the SNSD Party President and the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) Milorad Dodik, in Crkvina, near the southern Bosnian town of Trebinje.

He stated that nobody has the right of obstructing Bosnia's EU integration process and the Mostar Declaration on the Bosnian police reform.

Lajcak stated that the Kosovo independence declaration has significantly influenced the political atmosphere in the region but that the EU future of Bosnia does not depend in any way on Kosovo.

This was one in the series of consultations the High Representative will have with political parties’ leaders in Bosnia.
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RESOLUTION AGAINST KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE ADOPTED BY GENOCIDAL SERBIAN CREATURE IN BOSNIA (RS) HAS NO LEGAL EFFECT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 25,2008) – Resolution against Kosovo independence proclamation adopted by the (genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia) "RS", has no legal effect, for entities are not states and have no such jurisdiction, a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated.

Silajdzic stated that the Bosnian Presidency will protect the integrity of Bosnia which is unquestionable.

He also emphasized that, for now, the Bosnian Presidency will not discuss Kosovo recognition.

Silajdzic is of the opinion that this situation shows that the first priority for Bosnia should be signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union. That is why it is important to accelerate all the diplomatic and reform activities in the region.

Silajdzic added that there are some individuals who think that they can solve everything through force. He said that it is important that the International Community did everything to make sure the situation in the region is made stable and that Bosnia joins the EU.

Silajdzic is of the opinion that two enormous opportunities are facing this generation – signing of SAA and implementation of economic strategy. He added that the reform processes should not be halted.

Now is the time for everyone to behave wisely. “We have cataclysmic experience”, Silajdzic stated and added that he understood the feelings that are related to the Kosovo situation. He said that he also understands feelings of the genocide victims.

Silajdzic stated that there have been some attempts of political officials to transfet the political crisis from Kosovo to Bosnia, but added that Bosnia will remain a sovereign country with its territorial integrity and international subjectivity.

”Slobodan Milosevic achieved nothing by force. This resolution will not help either”, Silajdzic stated and added that some of the political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia think that they can do as they are pleased. However, ultimatums lead nowhere.
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SDP EXPECTS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO SHARPLY SANCTION LEADERS OF GENOCIDAL SERBIAN CREATURE IN BOSNIA (RS)

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 25,2008) – The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Main Board sharply condemned on Saturday the resolution adopted by the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) "parliament", calling for secession of the entity and bringing down the Bosnian constitutional order and the Dayton Agreement.

”We expect the International Community representatives to sharply sanction all the factors which pose a threat to peace and stability in Bosnia.SDP will not allow anyone to, in any way, question the existence of Bosnia and its borders. We once again urge politicians in Bosnia to focus on solving the real problems of citizens, not to spread nationalistic tensions and create new problems”, SDP announced after a session of the party’s Main Board.

The SDP Main Board unanimously accepted the Report on Work of the Party’s President Zlatko Lagumdzija.The Board also adopted Information on work of the Party’s Vice President Zeljko Komsic.
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

QATAR DONATES 2,3 MILLION DOLLARS FOR HUSREF-BEG'S LIBRARY RECONSTRUCTION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 24,2008) – Qatar has donated 2.336.372 US Dollars for the reconstruction of the Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library located in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.Bakir Izetbegovic, coordinator for construction of the Library, said that internal design of the Library would be agreed upon in a few days.Izetbegovic emphasized that this donation followed after the leader of the Bosnian Islamic Community Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric visited Qatar last week.

Qatar has been the most important financer of the Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library since the beginning of the construction activities. Sadly, donations were not distributed for a while because the library’s construction had been temporarily seized.

Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library was built in 1537 and is one of the most important libraries in Europe.

Gazi Husref-Beg (1480–1541),was a beg in the Ottoman Empire during the first half of the 16th century. He was an effective military strategist, and the greatest donor and builder of Sarajevo.

He was born in Serres, Greece, to a Bosnian father and a Turkish mother, who was the daughter of the Sultan. Thus, Gazi Husref-Beg was Sultan Beyazid II's grandson. A brilliant strategist and politician, in 1521 he became the governor of the Ottoman province of Bosnia.

Today it is difficult to imagine Sarajevo, or even Bosnia, as we know it without the contributions of Gazi Husref-Beg. He is remembered chiefly as the greatest donor and builder of Sarajevo, and as a Bosnian national hero. Thousands visit his tomb and give a prayer every year.
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SWEDISH, DUTCH AND U.S. AMBASSADORS LAUNCHED MUNICIPAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 24,2008) - The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English, the Swedish Ambassador to Bosnia Lars-Erik Wingren and the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bosnia Karel E.T.I. Vosskuhler have launched an expansion of the jointly funded, $30-million program for the Bosnian municipalities. The program is the second phase of the US-Swedish, $20-million Governance Accountability Project (GAP).

The second phase was launched at a conference in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that brought together the mayors of GAP’s 56 partner municipalities.

GAP assisted 41 municipalities throughout Bosnia so far to build their capacities and improve service provision to citizens.The development of One-Stop-Shops (OSSs) was a GAP flagship activity intended to provide efficient, user-friendly and transparent service delivery, increase citizens’ satisfaction and improve trust in local government and democracy.

Since December 2005, when the first GAP-supported OSS was inaugurated, an additional 40 citizen service centers have been opened, benefiting some 1.5 million Bosnian citizens.

Over the next five years, an additional 30 municipalities will participate in similar activities in the second phase of GAP. As a unique example of donor coordination, GAP will continue to establish OSSs, improve budgeting and financial management, and advance urban planning and zoning, USAID said.
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GENOCIDAL SERBIAN CREATURE IN BOSNIA (RS) THREATENS SECESSION

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (February 24,2008) - The genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS" has threatened to hold a referendum on secession from Bosnia if a majority of U.N. member states and the European Union recognise Kosovo's independence.

Such a move would put into question the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Washington was the first to condemn such an initiative.

"Bosnia is a sovereign and independent state and its territorial integrity and sovereignty are an undeniable fact," the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English told Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje.

"The three-and-a-half-year long war was expected to provide an answer to the question if someone had a right to secede from Bosnia. Dayton (peace agreement) solved the issue.There is no right to secession," the U.S. Ambassador stated.

The British ambassador to Bosnia, Matthew Rycroft, said in Banja Luka that his country had recognized the independence of Kosovo. After talking with the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) Milorad Dodik,Ambassador Rycroft stated that "RS will not secede from Bosnia, nor would the status of this entity change".

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that: "Resolution against Kosovo independence proclamation adopted by the RS entity parliament, has no legal effect, for entities are not states and have no such jurisdiction."

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak stressed that Bosnia is an internationally recognized state whose sovereignty and territorial integrity is guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Agreement.

"Entities of Bosnia have no right to secede from Bosnia under the Dayton Peace Agreement. The constitutional structure of Bosnia,including the existence of the entities, can only be changed in accordance with the amendment procedure prescribed in the Bosnian Constitution," Lajcak stated.

The High Representative expects that the Bosnian authorities will fulfill their obligations and maintain public order.

Political analyst Srecko Latal did not hide his concerns.

"If they really proceeded with organising a referendum, that would destabilise Bosnia further because the international community would clearly not allow it," Latal said.

Other analysts share similar views, stressing the international community should, despite opposite calls by some local politicians, maintain its presence in the country.

"The international community will have to stay for a longer period of time in Bosnia," political analyst Ivan Sijakovic said.

For Emil Habul, another Sarajevo-based analyst, the parliament of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) tried to "take up positions for the future."

"RS secession is an idea that has been smoldering since 1992, but Dodik and his government understand that it is impossible to achieve," Habul said.

Political analyst Tanja Topic warned that Bosnia is "unstable and fragile." But she stressed the Southeastern European country's "borders will be inviolable" due to the "clear position of the international community."

"Bosnia is an international protectorate and as long as there is a strong presence of the international community a referendum in RS is a big political illusion," Topic said.
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BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTED SINGLE LAW FOR ALL SALARIES OF PUBLIC SERVANTS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 24,2008) - The Bosnian government has adopted bills about the Fiscal Council and the salaries of public servants and government officials. A law on Fiscal Council is one of the EU’s conditions in an effort to establish a unified business environment in Bosnia.

The law on salaries in the public sector regulates the issue in such a way that the same type of work will be paid the same, regardless on the government institution paying the salary.

As the Bosnian Minister of Finance mDragan Vrankic said, the salaries of all public servants will be calculated according to a single law. Their basic salaries will be determined on the basis of the national average salary.

According to the proposal adopted , the Bosnian Prime Minister will be paid 4,700 Bosnian Marks and the the Bosnian Finance minister 4,200 a month. The highest salaries will be paid to members of the Bosnian Presidency (around 5,000 Bosnian Marks a month).
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EU WITHOUT AN OFFICIAL POSITION ON BOSNIAN POLICE REFORM YET

BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 24,2008) - The European Commission has not made an analysis yet of the police reforms laws just adopted by the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives, and therefore cannot state whether they comply with the EU principles, Krisztina Nagy - spokesperson of the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

Nagy also said how the European Commission expects the Mostar Declaration and Police Reform Action Plan to be implemented. OHR’s spokesperson said the Office would state its final position after the police reform laws are adopted by both parliament houses. If the signal from EU is positive, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and European Union could be signed in April.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS STATE BUDGET FOR 2008 AND BILL ON POLICE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – The Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives adopted the Bill on the Bosnian State Budget for 2008 and, according to which this year’s budget is 1.186.357.560 Bosnian Marks. 29 delegates voted in favour of the Bill over 8. Three delegates were in abstention.Also, delegates accepted the conclusion that the Bosnian government should develop a plan of activities in order to decrease the expenses of rents for the Bosnian state institutions.

After a long discussion, delegates supported the principles of law on independent and supervisory bodies of police structures in Bosnia with 22 votes in favour over 17 and one in abstention, as well as the coordination of police bodies principles and agencies for police structures in Bosnia.

The remaining items of the agenda are to be discussed at a session which will be held in early March.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER HARIS SILAJDZIC DISCUSSED POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA WITH SEVERAL FOREIGN DIPLOMATS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Dr Haris Silajdžić met with Said Nasser Mansoor Al-Sinawi Al-Hartly, the Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Bosnia.

Dr Silajdžić also had separate meetings with Zulkifli Adnan, the Ambassador of Malaysia to Bosnia, Bullent Tulun, the Ambassador of Turkey to Bosnia and Raffi Gregorian, the International Community's First Deputy High Representative in Bosnia.

During the meeting, they talked about the current political situation in Bosnia and the region.

Besides that, they also talked about the state of the Bosnian economy , as well as the possibilities and the perspective for the following period.

All conversationalists agreed that besides all pressing issues in Bosnia, the priority is signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union,the Cabinet of Bosnian Presidency Member Dr Haris Silajdžić said in a press release.
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PARLIAMENTARY COOPERATION BETWEEN BOSNIA AND DENMARK TO BE INTENSIFIED

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (February 22,2008) – The Bosnian Ambassador to Denmark Sead Maslo met in the Danish capital Copenhagen with the Chairman of the Danish Parliament Thor Pedersen.

Ambassador Sead Maslo congratulated Chairman Pedersen on his appointment and informed him about current political situation in Bosnia and the region, and particularly about Bosnia's efforts in approaching Euro-Atlantic integrations.

They stated that bilateral relations between Bosnia and Denmark are friendly and without open issues and that parliamentary cooperation should be intensified.
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AVERAGE GROSS SALARY IN BOSNIA IN DECEMBER WAS 1,007 BOSNIAN MARKS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – According to data released by the Bosnian State Statistics Agency, the average gross salary in Bosnia in December was 1,007 Bosnian Marks.

This amount was by 0.9 per cent nominally higher, in comparison to November 2007. On the annual level, the average national gross salary was up by 10.7 per cent. The average net salary in December was up by 1.3 per cent, to 681 Bosnian Marks.
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ICTY INVESTIGATOR DEAN MANNING TO TESTIFY BEFORE BOSNIAN STATE COURT AT TRIAL OF 11 SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – At the trial of 11 Serbian war criminals,former members of the genocidal paramilitary forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS),charged with genocide before the Bosnian State Court, a discussion was held yesterday on a number of procedural issues, as well as on the witnesses who will appear at the Court and those who have refused to testify.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges the 11 Serbian war criminals with the mass murder of around 1,000 Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnian village of Kravica on July 13,1995.

It was announced that International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) investigator Dean Manning, who lives in Australia, might be examined on March 12, at midnight,due to the time difference between Bosnia and Australia.

The Defence teams of the 11 indictees charged with genocide committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia,are due to cross-examine Manning, after the Bosnian State Prosecutor has filed a transcript of his testimony at the trial of a convicted Serbian war criminal Vidoje Blagojevic, who was sentenced by the ICTY to 15 years' imprisonment for crimes committed in Srebrenica.

"The Australian legal authorities are willing to help us and facilitate a video-conference within their working hours. The time difference is ten hours, and the only way to make this happen is to begin the examination at midnight," Trial Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic said, adding that he will attempt to establish the video-link at "a more adequate time".

The Defence attorneys did not have any problems with "examining this witness at midnight", as his testimony is "in the interest of the Defence".

Following Manning's examination, investigators Richard Batler and Jean Rere Ruez are due to be cross examined by the end of March.

At this hearing, the Trial Chamber informed the Defence teams that two ICTY convicts who are serving their sentences in Norway - Serbian war criminals Dragan Obrenovic, sentenced to 17 years, and Vidoje Blagojevic – have refused to testify in favour of the 11 Serbian war criminals.

"Obrenovic is not willing to testify as he is concerned for the safety of his family, while Blagojevic claims he does not know Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar and has no connection with him at all," Judge Vucinic explained.

At the request of Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar's Defence, the Trial Chamber admitted the transcripts and recordings of the testimonies of Zoran 'Pirocanac' Petrovic and Nikola Gajic in The Hague, who "were also not willing to testify".

Petrovic is a journalist who was with the genocidal Serbian aggressor during the attack on Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. The Defence attorneys said that Gajic was "an eyewitness of the events".

The Bosnian State Prosecutor proposed that the statements given by Serbian war criminal Ljubomir Borovcanin to investigators prior to being charged be included as material evidence. Serbian war criminal Ljubomir Borovcanin is currently on trial in The Hague for genocide committed by the Serbian aggressor in Srebrenica.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor Ibro Bulic suggested that Alister Graham, the ICTY investigator who examined Serbian war criminal Ljubomir Borovcanin, be called as a witness to talk about the acceptability of those statements. The Defence teams objected, asking for another chance for cross-examination.

The Prosecution also proposed a list of evidence to refute the Defence's allegations, including a proposal for the examination of two witnesses who would speak about the happenings in Srebrenica of July 13, 1995.

In July 1995 the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica.

The trial of 11 Serbian war criminals charged with genocide is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 12.
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BOSNIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION ATTENDS OSCE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY SESSION IN VIENNA

VIENNA, Austria (February 22,2008) – A delegation of the Bosnian Parliament, lead by First Deputy Speaker Semsudin Mehmedovic is attending the annual OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Vienna, from February 21 to 23.

At this year’s session, participants are to discuss Kosovo independence proclamation and reaction of other countries, members of OSCE.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will also debate current issues relating to OSCE activities.The Conventional Armed Forces Treaty will also be discussed.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE was established in 1990. The primary task of the 320 member Assembly is to promote parliamentary involvement in the activities of the OSCE and to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue and co-operation, important aspects of the overall effort to meet the challenges of democracy throughout the OSCE area.
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ESI: BOSNIA IS BECOMING A MAJOR ENERGY PLAYER IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – Bosnia is becoming a major energy player in the Southeastern Europe, the latest report from the Berlin-based European Stability Initiative (ESI) claims.

This is owing to the country’s potential for dramatically increasing domestic electricity production.

In the report that will soon be officially introduced, ESI’s analysts underline the importance of the Stanari thermal power station with installed capacity of 420 megawatt-hours, into which some EUR 600 million is about to be invested.

The Stanari will be third power station in Bosnia in terms of capacity, and the first to be built in the past 25 years. Only Romania and Bulgaria have bigger electricity production capacity than Bosnia in the region, according to ESI.
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INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN BOSNIA PRESENTED TO DUTCH INVESTORS

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (February 22,2008) – On the initiative of the Bosnian embassy in The Netherlands, and in response to the interest of more than 40 companies from the Lansingerland region in western Netherlands, representatives of the Bosnian Foreign Investment and Promotion Agency (FIPA) held a presentation at Lansingerland’s municipal government office.

They discussed investment opportunities in Bosnia, and focus was on wood and metal processing industries, agriculture, energy, transport and tourism.

Dutch businessmen showed great interest for legal framework for foreign investments, expenses and modern business activity, as well as for the level of education on labour market in Bosnia.

The Ambassador of Bosnia in the Netherlands Fuad Sabeta emphasized that Bosnia's interest is initiation of the activities which bring closer Bosnian economic potentials to Dutch business partners and represent a step towards improvement of relations of the two countries.
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BOSNIA'S IMPORTS REACH 1 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS IN JANUARY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – According to data released yesterday by the Bosnian Statistics Agency, Bosnia imported 1 billion Bosnian Marks worth of goods in January this year.

Exports amounted to 485 million Bosnian Marks during the same period. In real terms, the trade exchange deficit was almost 515 million Bosnian Marks (exchange ratio was 48.6 per cent).

The processing industry was the main importer in January (18 per cent share of machinery and electric equipment, 11 per cent of petroleum products).

The metal industry contributed to 22.3 per cent of exports. This indicates that the raw metal output is increasing at Mostar Aluminij and Zenica steelworks, while demand on the local market is dropping.

Croatia was the main trade partner (16.9 per cent of export and 17.8 per cent of import). Germany, Serbia, Italy and Slovenia followed.
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HEAD OF EUPM TO VISIT TUZLA TODAY

TUZLA, Bosnia (February 22,2008) – In scope of his regular visits to Bosnian police counterparts and EU Police Mission’s offices across Bosnia, Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, Head of the EU Police Mission to Bosnia, will pay a visit to Tuzla today.

During his visit, General Coppola will meet with the Minister of Interior of the Tuzla Canton, Sead Omerbegovic, Police Commissioner Nedim Mutapcic, and the EU Police Mission personnel in Tuzla.

General Coppola will use the opportunity to discuss the current state of affairs in the Ministry and police activities in Tuzla Canton as well as their cooperation with the EU Police Mission and other law enforcement agencies.

All media are cordially invited to attend a press opportunity which will take place today, Friday, 22 February 2008 at 12.30 hrs at the Tuzla Canton Ministry of Interior’s premises, Turalibegova bb, Tuzla.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

EUROPEAN UNION PROVIDES 440 MILLION EUROS FOR BOSNIA IN PRE-ACCESSION AID

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 21,2008) - The European Union and Bosnia signed an agreement yesterday in the Bosnian capital sarajevo providing Bosnia with 440 million Euros (645 million US Dollars) aimed at helping reforms and bolstering the Bosnian economy.

"This is a very clear sign and demonstration of EU confidence and support," EU enlargement official Pierre Mirel told reporters after the signing ceremony.

Mirel, the head of the 27-nation bloc's enlargement department for the Western Balkans, signed the agreement with Bosnia'S Prime Minister Nikola Spiric.

Mirel said the new assistance instrument to countries that are potential candidates will assess each of them according to their needs and evolution, monitoring institution building, cross-border cooperation, regional development and other.

"The new assistance the European Union is providing is not in the form of credits but in the form of grants," he said.

The funds are for the 2007-2011 period and are meant to help implement reforms needed to meet EU standards and help Bosnia make progress in EU integration, said Mirel.

The grant comes under EU pre-accession funds available after Bosnia in December initialled its Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), seen as the first step towards full EU membership.

Bosnia was expected to start implementing the reforms and formally sign the SAA deal in the first half of 2008.

Key police reforms were a condition set by the European Union before the membership process could begin.

In order to complete the signing, Bosnia must implement them and show progress in reforming public media and cooperation with The Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal.

However, the leaders of Bosnia's ruling political parties are yet to agree on laws defining the police reforms.
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OHR: DEMANDS TO ARTIFICIALLY CONNECT BOSNIA AND KOSOVO WILL BE REJECTED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 21,2008) – "Demands made by some irresponsible individuals who have been trying to artificially connect Bosnia and Kosovo will be refused decisively. BiH is not an open issue and political heads are expected to talk and act the way which supports the Bosnian Constitution and the Dayton peace Agreement," the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) Spokesperson Mario Brkic stated at a press conference in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

”Bosnia is an internationally recognized state with territorial integrity guaranteed by the Dayton Agreement. Constitution of this country stated that it is made up of two entities and that Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats are constitutive peoples”, Brkic reminded.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY AGAIN WITHOUT CONSENSUS ON AGREEMENT ON DUAL CITIZENSHIP BETWEEN BOSNIA AND CROATIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 21,2008) – The Bosnian Presidency did not achieve consensus on the proposition to ratify the agreement on dual citizenship between Bosnia and Croatia.

Bosnian Presidency member Haris Silajzic was against this decision since he believes that the problem of dual citizenship should not be solved this way and that a complete solution has to be found which would satisfy all Bosnian citizens and put then in equal position.

”The case is by ratifying this agreement with Croatia, the Bosnian citizens with Croatian citizenship would be in privileged position”, stated Silajdzic at the press conference after the Bosnian Presidency session.

He pointed out that there is no democratic country in the world which takes away its citizenship if its citizens gain citizenship of some other country” and that “Bosnia is the only country in the world which conditions dual citizenship with bilateral agreement”.

He appealed to those in parliament who for the fifth time refused to cancel Article 17 of the Law on citizenship to reconsider their decision, since by doing this we put all our citizens in equal position and to resolve this matter with the countries which expect us to conclude it by canceling Article 17”.

Considering there was no consensus, Silajdzic announced that he will take the decision to the Bosnian Parliament's House of Peoples and claim the protection of vital national interest”.

Also,the Bosnian Presidency did not reach a consensus on sending the request to the UN Security Council regarding the measures on implementation of the verdict by International Court of Justice from February 2007.

Bosnian Presidency members Haris Silajdzic and Zeljko Komsic voted for while Nebojsa Radmanovic was against this decision.

The Bosnian Presidency adopted the information on realization of NATO Trust Fund activities and adopted a decision on opening proceeding for talks over the conclusion of Agreement between Bosnia and Slovakia on improvement and protection of investments and decision on the agreement between Bosnia and Hungary on social security and insurance.

The Bosnian Presidency also adopted a decision on changes and amendments of the decision on rationalization of diplomatic and consular offices of Bosnia abroad.

According to this decision, the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall within 90 days from this decision finalize all affairs on closing one consulate of Bosnia in Bonn, Germany and all activities around opening of the new consulate in Frankfurt until December 31.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY TO OBTAIN ANOTHER ORIGINAL COPY OF DAYTON PEACE AGREEMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 21,2008) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the Presidency session that the members of the Bosnian Presidency discussed the “disappearance” of the original copy of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

It has been stated that translation of the document cannot be made because of the fact that it is missing.

”I will propose that, unless the original document is found, of course to get an original copy from Paris. However, we have not made that decision yet and will consult on the issue further”, Silajdzic stated at a press conference after the session of the Bosnian Presidency.

The Bosnian Presidency also decided that the item of the agenda related to the transfer of the ICTY archives to Bosnia will be discussed at the next session.

Bosnian Presidency member Haris Silajdzic stated that there is a proposal that has been accepted in the consultations by the President of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic and himself.

”That proposal is that the ICTY archives are moved to Sarajevo and that the conditions for its maintenance and use are ensured”, Silajdzic said.
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MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF WORK FOR PROGRESS PEOPLE'S PARTY HELD PEACEFUL PROTESTS IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 21,2008) – Dissatisfied with the relations of authorities towards the (non) implementation of the reforms obligations, the Work for Progress People’s Party organized peaceful protests yesterday in Sarajevo.

Several dozens of members and supporters of the party shouted “We want the EU future for Bosnia!”, “We want a democratic constitution!”, “We want the police reform implementation!”, “We have had enough of empty talk!”…

”There is no alternative to the EU future for Bosnia”, the Party’s Secretary General Marko Vujevic and Alma Cardzic, the party’s delegate stated.

They called the representatives of the “ruling six” to act in accordance with the pre-electoral promises and unblock the European integration of Bosnia.

Officials of the Party warned that the Bosnian citizens need the EU standards, a democratic constitution, a multiethnic, independent, professional and efficient police.

The party is against outvoting and urges the authorities responsible to resign if they are not able to find adequate solutions in accordance with the deadlines.

At the same time, this party has called the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia to take certain steps in accordance with his authorities for “nobody has the right of blocking Bosnia's European integration”.
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ICTY RELEASES FIVE CROATIAN WAR CRIMINALS FROM CUSTODY

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (February 21,2008) - Five former leaders of the fascist Croatian creature in Bosnia "the HB", who are currently on trial in The Hague, have been granted release from custody.

Croatian war criminals Jadranko Prilic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoje Petkovic and Valentin Ćoric will be on provisional release from today,Thursday February 21, until May 4.

All five Croatian war criminals were indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes committed against the Bosnian civilians,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in 1992 and 1993 on the territory of Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Mostar, Ljubuski, Capljina and Vares.

The five are being allowed to wait for the beginning of the Defence process at liberty. Still, by this decision, they will have to appear at the ICTY on March 17 and 26, and April 21 during pre-Defence conferences.

The ICTY has also ruled that all five must stay in Croatia, where the government has agreed to provide necessary security measures and ensure the indictees' return to The Hague.

The trial started on April 26, 2006, with the Prosecution case closing on February 6, 2008. The Defence's case is set to start on May 5, 2008.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PRESIDENT KOMSIC: BOSNIA WILL NOT RECOGNIZE KOSOVO ANY TIME SOON

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 20,2008) – The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with the Ambassador of the genocidal Serbia Grujica Spasovic who presented him with a letter from Serbian President Boris Tadic related to the Kosovo situation.“Bosnia will not recognize Kosovo in the following period and there is a consensus in the Bosnian State Presidency on the issue”, the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic said.

President Komsic stated that the reason for such an attitude is that almost one third of the Bosnian citizens (Serbians living in Bosnia) in this moment do not support Kosovo's independence.

"It is the obligation of the elected representatives to respect the will of citizens of this country, whichever function may they be performing."President Komsic said.

He added that Bosnia is sorry that no consensus was achieved between Belgrade and Pristina, for that would be an ideal solution for Bosnia.

Ambassador Spasovic stated that the genocidal Serbia will continue fighting against Kosovo by all means at the disposal.
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