Monday, March 31, 2008

GERMAN PARLIAMENT DELEGATION IN A FIVE DAY VISIT TO BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) – Delegation of the German Parliament (Bundestag) shall visit Bosnia from today (March 31) to April 4.All delegates, as it was stated from the German Embassy in Bosnia are also members of the parliamentary group of friendship between Germany and Bosnia. That is why their primary partners in discussions will be delegates of the Bosnian Parliament which deal with issues regarding European integration processes.

German Delegation shall meet with members of the Bosnian Presidency, political party leaders, executive authority, economy experts, representatives of religious communities, civil society and youth representatives.

It is planned that Bundestag delegates asides Sarajevo visit Mostar and Banja Luka and to meet with representatives of German political foundations, Credit Bank for Development (KfW), Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), representatives of German economy and German cultural institutions in Bosnia.

The German Ambassador to Bosnia, Michael Schmunk shall host the delegation.
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PRESIDENT SILAJDZIC: BOSNIA SHOULD USE SPAIN'S EXPERIENCE IN CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROCESSES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic had a meeting in Sarajevo with the Deputy Spanish Ambassador to Bosnia Jose Ramon Garcia Hernandez and Spanish constitutional law expert Albert Dorreg de Carlos, who is in a two-day visit to Bosnia.

President Silajdzic emphasized that Bosnia can largely use the experience of Spain in the process of constitutional reforms because of the similar structure and historical experience between the two countries. He added that Bosnia should protect the local level of authority and functional democracy.

De Carlos emphasized that such a system functions in Spain because of a clear division of different levels of authority and inability of blockade of state laws or lower level levels of authority.

The Deputy Spanish Ambassador to Bosnia stated that the country supports Bosnia's association processes and that he hopes Bosnia will soon fulfil the remaining conditions necessary for singing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU.
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OHR: SAA REQUIREMENTS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MATERIAL INTERESTS OF BOSNIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) - Political parties represented in the Bosnian Parliament should first focus on the requirements for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU which will have tangible benefits for all Bosnian citizens rather than on their own privileges and benefits, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

"It is clear that little or no discussion is taking place between parliamentary parties to prepare the successful passage of the police reform legislation without which Bosnia cannot sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement," OHR said.

"The draft salaries and pension legislation is now being resubmitted into parliamentary procedure for the fourth time.

The proposed Law would enable members of the Bosnian Parliament to receive more generous pension and other welfare benefits than the rest of the population, at the time when hundreds of thousands of people in Bosnia are unemployed or live on or below the poverty line.

Parts of the draft legislation are so vague as to obscure from public scrutiny what the real costs of these measures would be.Nowhere in the draft Law is there any requirement that links performance to these increased emoluments.

Politicians and parliamentarians would be ill-advised to move ahead with the Draft Law on Rights and Obligations of the Delegates of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly without showing that they have earned these benefits," OHR said.
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HEAD OF ITALIAN ARMED FORCES GENERAL VINCENZO CAMMPORINI VISITED BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) – Head of the Italian Armed Forces General Vincenzo Cammporini had a meeting with Head of the Bosnian Armed Forces Colonel General Sifet Podzic.

They emphasized the optimal cooperation between the Bosnian and Italian armed forces. They also expressed willingness to continue cooperating. That cooperation will in future include support of the Italian Armed Forces to the Bosnian Armed Forces on the way to the NATO membership.

The Bosnian and Italian officials agreed to support the training of the Bosnian Armed Forces’ officers in Italy who are to be sent to the peace support missions. They also agreed to support the STANAG English Language test, which will be beneficial for the Bosnian Armed Forces’ members on Bosnia's way to the NATO membership.

This has been the first visit of General Cammporini to Bosnia.
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ITALIANS INTERESTED IN DEVELOPMENT OF SPA AND HEALTH TOURISM IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 31,2008) – The Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Samir Silajdzic met with Italian delegation led by Maria Rosaria Marineri, Senator and Minister of Tourism of Lecce province and discussed about participation of Bosnia at the first international fair of spa tourism which is to be held in June in Italy.

Bosnia along with countries of the region is part of the project of the development of spa and health tourism worth 348.000 Euros, financed by the EU and country host of the project, Italy and its region Lecce.

Guests from Italy did not hide their good impressions after visiting Fojnica, spa health center, and Fojnica convent.

"This country, Sarajevo and Fojnica as well as other parts are regions of strong identity and wealth of typical and authentic products. This should be presented in your tourist offer and we hope that we will jointly present your tourism at the fair in June in Italy. I was especially impressed by the cultural and historical heritage which will be interesting for tourists around the world”, stated Maria Rosaria Marineri.
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

OHR: BOSNIA SHOWS IT IS SERIOUS ABOUT DEFENCE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) - The agreement on transferring military weapons, ammunition, explosives and certain other movable defence property from the entities to the Bosnaan defence institutions is finally resolved. State and entity government representatives signed in Doboj the agreement on final disposal of all rights and liabilities over movable defence property that will continue to serve defence purposes.

The agreement also includes procedures for the disposal of surplus weapons, ammunition and explosives and distribution of the proceeds from any sales to the entities and the state, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

Welcoming agreement OHR’s Principal Deputy High Representative Raffi Gregorian said: “Today's agreement, though overdue, is another milestone in defence reform implementation. It is especially important because it will allow Bosnia to finally start getting rid of tons of unstable and dangerous material the maintenance of which has needlessly strained the resources of the Bosnian Armed Forces.Moreover, as we saw recently in the tragic pictures from Albania, failure to deal with such material in a timely fashion can cost lives”.

NATO leaders meet in Bucharest next week. “This agreement says that Bosnia is serious about defence reform and its NATO aspirations,” Gregorian said.

"I hope the NATO's leaders will take this into consideration, as well as Bosnia's demonstrated willingness to contribute to international peace and security missions,” Gregorian added.
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AGREEMENT ON TRANSFER OF MOVEABLE DEFENCE PROPERTY SIGNED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) - The Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Major General Ignacio Villalaín, has witnessed the signing of an agreement passing ownership of defence equipment to the Bosnian Ministry of Defence (MoD).The agreement covers movable defence equipment such as weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as other movable defence property such as radar stations and vehicles, EUFOR said.

Speaking at the ceremony for the ‘Agreement for final rights and obligations concerning movable property”, Major General Villalaín said:

“Today sees a significant step forward for this country. I warmly welcome this agreement and congratulate all parties on their vision and commitment. They are demonstrating a clear determination to securing a stable and productive future for the country and its armed forces.

A key part of our operational role in the Balkans regarding defence issues is to ensure that progressively more and more responsibility is handed over to the state level and the Bosnian Armed Forces. This signing today supports this and is another step forward in the excellent progress that the country is making towards defence reform.

EUFOR’s mission is to contribute to the safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and this agreement will have a powerful impact underpinning this. My task as Commander is to maintain close and fruitful contact with the Bosnian ministry of Defence and the Bosnian Armed Forces , advising and supporting them as we engage in ongoing military operations and training together. I am delighted to be here for this significant signing today,” General Villalaín said.

NATO HQ Sarajevo congratulated all who have contributed to the signing of the Transfer Agreement on Moveable Defence Property. This agreement is a milestone towards the full implementation of the Law on Defence and is an important and positive step along the path of Bosnia within NATO'S Partnership for Peace Program.

"The reform of the defence structures of Bosnia that began in May 2003 is widely recognised as the most successful reform effort undertaken since 1995. The achievements of the past five years have underpinned Bosnia’s successful bid to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and are a key element of its wider efforts to achieve full Euro Atlantic integration.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked long and hard to make this agreement happen, to the many members of the international community who have supported this work and especially to the political leaders of Bosnia who have made the hard choices based on their clear understanding of the importance of this agreement to the present and the future of this country. NATO extends its thanks and congratulations.

As we celebrate this event let us remember that our work is not done. NATO and its colleagues from the international community stand ready to fully assist Bosnia to implement this agreement and we hope that work based on preparation already done can start without delay," NATO HQ Sarajevo said.
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MUSLIM CHARITY "MERHAMET" MARKS 95TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – On the occasion of marking 95 years of the establishment of the Muslim Charity “Merhamet” in bosnia, an official academy took place at the Bosnian National Theatre. The “Merhamet” certificates have been awarded to the Bosnian Army General Mehmed Alagic,the former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the first US Ambassador to Bosnia Viktor Jakovich and to the people and governments of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.

Mufid Memija’s movie “On the Path of Goodness and Mercy” opened the academy. The movie is about the Merhamet Charity activities.

Christian Schwarz –Schiling stated upon receiving the certificate that he considers himself a friend and an associate of the Merhamet charity. He congratulated the present members of the Merhamet and paid tribute to the ones who established the organization in 1913.

”Life is a struggle for peace. Peace will not come on its own, peace is something to fight for. Merhamet is a symbol of freedom and peace”, Schwartz-Schilling said.

Jakovic stated that he is honoured with the certificate.

”I believe that you have no reasons to thank the people in other countries. We need to be grateful to you, for you have fought for a multicultural society, mutual respect, equality… And you died for that. It is an honour to receive this award”, Jakovich said.
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SCHWARTZ-SCHILLING: LAJCAK IS DEALING WITH UNIMPORTANT ISSUES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – The former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia and Miroslav Lajcak’s predecessor Christian Schwarz-Schilling gave an interview, in which he responded to accusations that he "slept through" his term as the High Representative.

Schwarz-Schilling now says this was his tactic for the purpose of demonstrating to the international community that its presence in Bosnia is still required, because the local authorities are not ready yet to take full responsibility for governing the country.

He also said how the matters that Lajcak is dealing with are mostly trifles, and that the international community has given up on some key reforms in Bosnia. The former High Representative visited the Bosnian capital Sarajevo to receive an award.
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KEBO: REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS ARE STILL USED FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – A delegation of the Bosnian Association of Refugees, Displaced Persons and Returnees met with the FBiH Entity Vice-President Mirsad Kebo and concluded that solving the problem of refugees in Bosnia, that is full implementation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement must continue to be the state priority.

"For definite solution of refugees’ problems at this moment there exist adequate legal and constitutional solutions but they have to be fully implemented”, stated Kebo at the meeting.

"There is nothing that stops us, according to the decision of continuativeness of peoples, to have a more just politics of employment of refugee population in entire Bosnia. But, certain politicians still use refugees for their political goals. That is why the work done by this association is extremely important since only through institutional channels and in coordination with state bodies problems of refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia could be solved”, stated the FBiH Entity Vice-President Mirsad Kebo.

He added that a final activation of public projects and employment of larger number of people, especially returnees will create a new economic and political ambience in which return will be a normal process of human rights realization, as well as regular constitutional and legal obligation of authorities obliged to implement such activities.

President of the Association, Mirhunisa Zukic informed Vice-President Kebo that they started with the realization of the project “Monitoring of Sustainable Return” which is instead of state institutions, financed by the Swiss government.

"Duty of the association is to strengthen local communities which will be true partners to state bodies in the return process since the association and its braches are best informed about the situation on the ground”, stated Zukic.
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BOSNIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER SVEN ALKALAJ ATTENDS EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTERS' MEETING

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (March 29,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj is attending on Friday and Saturday in Brdo pri Kranju (Slovenia) an informal meeting of the EU foreign affairs ministers.

It is expected that the meeting will contribute further affirmation of the southeastern European countries’ EU perspective and that it will initiate their accelerated integration to the EU. The informal meeting will contribute the countries’ accelerated integration to the EU.

The meeting will end with a lunch which will focus on the intercultural dialogue; the topic which is one of the priority tasks of Slovenian presidency period and the EU topic of 2008.
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BOSNIA AND SINGAPORE SIGN DOUBLE TAXATION EVASION AGREEMENT

SINGAPORE CITY, Singapore (March 29,2008) – The Bosnian Deputy Finance and Vault Minister Fuad Kasumovic and the Deputy Commissioner of the Keat Sing NG Business Group of the State Taxation Direction initialled in Singapore yesterday the double Taxation Evasion Agreement between Bosnia and Singapore.

This agreement creates better conditions in the business surrounding for investors from both the countries. That also means promotion of cooperation.

Initialling of this agreement is also the first step in activities that the two friendly countries have planned. Solving the double taxation issue will result in a lot of direct effects, especially in the sector of economy – starting from investments, technology exchange, all the way to trade, traffic and science.

Kasumovic emphasized that Bosnia is about to open the market towards one of the most developed countries in the world. He called the Singapore investors to actively participate in economic development of Bosnia.
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Friday, March 28, 2008

COMMISSION ESTABLISHED FOR NEW BOSNIAN ANTHEM TEXT SELECTION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) – The Bosnian Council of Ministers passed yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo decision on nomination of commission for election of the text of the new Bosnian anthem, proposed by the Bosnian Justice Ministry.

11 members have been nominated to the commission; including per three representatives from each of the Bosnian Parliament's Houses.

The Commission will announce a public competition for election of the text of the new Bosnian anthem; the reward is 30.000 Bosnian Marks. The Commission will submit the Report on Work by December 31 the latest.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers also adopted yesterday the Bosnian Ministry of Security Information on Juvenile Delinquency in Bosnia. The number of registered juvenile delinquents has increased in comparison to 2007 per 48 juveniles, that is, 1,7 per cent. With regard to this data, the institutions concerned have been ordered to take all the measures and activities necessary for implementation of the action plan aimed to realize the main and specific goals of Strategy against Juvenile delinquency in Bosnia.

However, the degree of social danger has increased; juvenile offenders have been registered committing the heaviest of crimes starting from difficult robberies to murder.

Social situation, lack of good family relations and social tolerance towards the juvenile delinquents have been named the main reasons of juvenile delinquency; passive relationship of the witnesses to crimes committed by juveniles has been marked especially concerning.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers also passed Decision changing and Amending the Decision on Measures of Efficient Implementation of the ICTY, proposed by the Bosnian Ministry of Security. This Decision aligns personal data with the Citizen Identification Protection System (CIPS) data, for the persons who are under restrictive measures of ban of entrance and transfer through Bosnia's territory.

At the proposal of the Bosnian Ministry of Finance and Vault, the Council of Ministers passed Decision on Approval of Allocation of 20.000 Bosnian Marks from the Budget to the Trebinje Municipality for the construction of a monument to a war time hero Srdjan Aleksic.

The Council also passed Decision on Formation of the Second Loan Rating for Bosnia, proposed by the Ministry of Finance and Vault. The Decision authorizes the Bosnian Central Bank to implement the procedures of election of a good-rated international company which will, within six months, develop the second loan rating for Bosnia.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers also passed Decision an Approving the Allocation of 600.000 Bosnian Marks from the Budget for Reconstruction of the Mostar Orthodox Church and the Plehan Church near Derventa, as well as for the Reconstruction of the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka. Each of the reconstruction projects willl be financed with 200.000 Bosnian Marks.

It has also been concluded that in the years of 2009 and 2010, 600.000 Bosnian Marks will be annually provided from the Budget for the reconstruction of those three sacral objects.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers also adopted the Ministry of Security Information on Implementation of Action Plan for Prevention and Punishing the Criminal Acts Related to Motor Vehicles, with proposal of initiating procedure of association to the European System of Information on Vehicles and Driver’s Licenses (EUCARIS).

The Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs has been ordered to, in coordination with the Ministry of Security, start the EUCARIS association procedure.
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BOSNIA REMAINS A PRIORITY OF SWISS COOPERATION PROGRAMS IN THE REGION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) – “Switzerland and Bosnia have extraordinary political relations, followed with a quality dialogue at a high level. Switzerland holds perseverance of integrity and territorial sovereignty of Bosnia extremely important”, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj stated yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at a press conference, after a meeting with Swiss foreign Affairs Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Switzerland has so far helped Bosnia with over 330 million Swiss Franks, which is the biggest contribution this country has ever provided for a country in transition, Alkalaj said and added that the multiethnic and multicultural character of Bosnia is one think which makes Bosnia close to Switzerland.

However, economic cooperation falls significantly behind the political relations. Alkalaj stated that the issue will be solved by forums and presentations of the Bosnian economy to Swiss entrepreneurs. Level of trade exchange will also be improved.

The Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Calmy-Rey also stated that relations between the two countries are excellent and that the Bosnian community (about 40.00 people) living in Switzerland greatly contributes improvement of the relations.

She emphasized that cooperation between the two countries’ civic societies is good, especially in the period of overcoming the war consequences.

Calmy-Rey confirmed to her Bosnian colleague that Bosnia will remain one of the priorities of the Swiss cooperation programs and added that her country is dedicated to long-term stability of Bosnia and that it will keep supporting the EUFOR and EUPM. She added that Switzerland will also provide help in constitutional reforms, EOD activities, ecology, etc.

Switzerland will keep supporting the judiciary reform in Bosnia and that it wants to see war criminals face justice, so that peace and stability are insured.

Calmy-Rey stated that Switzerland is of the opinion that regional cooperation is very important for development of the southeastern European region and in that context, Switzerland holds the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) very important, as well as the fact that the Bosnian capital Sarajevo has been elected the RCC HQs.

Switzerland is one of the countries which have recognized Kosovo. Calmy-Rey stated that Kosovo is a unique case and that no parallels can be made between Kosovo and any other part of the region or the world.
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SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF ARCHEOLOGISTS VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) – The Secretary General of the European Association of Archeologists (EAA) and Archeology professor at the University of Ljubljana,Slovenia,Predrag Novakovic visited the University of Sarajevo within cooperation of the two universities.

He used this visit to talk with colleagues from expert institutions such as the Bosnian National Museum, Sarajevo City Museum and the Bosnian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Asides from lecture held from students from history department of Faculty of Philosophy, Professor Novakovic handed a donation of some hundred books in order to help archeology studies at this faculty which is most likely to start in the next academic year.

Professor Novakovic stated that funds designated for this purpose already exist in the EU funds for higher education for countries which are in accession phase.

One of the goals of his visit was to help set up a stabile system of archeology in Bosnia even though this will be very complicated.

Attitude of the bosnian authorities towards archeological heritage, Novakovic called problematic mostly because Bosnia did not sign the Maltese Convention of the Council of Europe on protection of archeological heritage.

He explained that EAA is obliged to work under existing principles of management in certain state and the Convention creates legal basis for state legislative in order to create a modern system for protection of archeological heritage.

In Bosnia, however, problems are not only of this nature since it will be necessary to further educate Bosnian experts in all areas of archeological heritage protection”, stated Novakovic.

He also met with head of a Bosnian team of archaeologists in Hutovo Blato, Professor Snjezana Vasilj and commented her results as “magnificent” especially since in Europe in the last ten years there has been a heightened focus on underwater archeology.

In March 2007,professor at the History Department of the Philosophical Faculty in Sarajevo and Archaeology Studies of the University in Mostar ,Snjezana Vasilj,and her team,found what they believed were the Illyrian ships in the Desilo location, more than 20 feet under the water level of the Hutovo Blato swamp, near Capljina in southern Bosnia.

The Illyrian ships are believed to have sailed from the Adriatic Sea up the Neretva River carrying merchandise to the inland Balkans.

The Illyrian ships, suspected dating back to the 2nd century B.C., are known to historians only through Greek and Roman legends as their physical existence had never been established until now.

Vasilj informed Novakovic that until now about 800 artifacts were dug out, including objects not found in the Adriatic (prehistoric ceramics).

He added that underwater archeology is the best way to learn about trade and communication which existed in the antique period and that it usually gives best preserved artifacts and findings of better quality.
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BOSNIAN STATE COURT CONFIRMS INDICTMENT AGAINST CROATIAN WAR CRIMINAL ANTE KOVAC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) - The Bosnian State Court has confirmed the Indictment against Croatian war criminal Ante Kovać.He is charged with war crimes against Bosnian civilians committed during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's.

As alleged in the Indictment, during the period from April to end-August 1993, in the territory of the Vitez Municipality, in his capacity as a member of the fascist Croatian aggressor's formations, Croatian war criminal Ante Kovac issued orders to the Croatian aggressor's military police officers and together with them took part in the unlawful arrest and detention of Bosnian civilians.

Around 250 Bosniancivilians were detained in a small space, in inhumane conditions on the premises of the Radnicki University and the Cinema Theater in Vitez.

The Croatian aggressor's military police officers would take the detained Bosnian civilians for interrogation and forced labor at the separation line between the Croatian aggressor and the Bosnian Army, exposing them to life-threatening condition, which is when a number of Bosnian civilians were killed.

The Indictment goes on to say that on 18 April 1993 Croatian war criminal ante Kovac took a Bosnian woman from the SDK premises and forced her into the so-called Crnogorka building in Vitez, where he raped her.

The Indictment further alleges that on 30 August 1993 Croatian war criminal Ante Kovac raped another Bosnian woman on the premises of the Dom Kulture (Culture Center) in Vitez.
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BOSNIAN ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) - The Bosnian Advisory Council for Ethical and Professional Development has been founded in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. Council's basic goals are support for protection and improvement of ethical and professional standards in the Bosnian judiciary , according to international standards and strengthening cooperation and transparency in professional and public segment in this field of expertise.

Based on memorandum o understanding, this body was supported by the Bosnian High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and signed by numerous representatives of judicial institutions and organizations, the Bosnian Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary Committee of Brcko District and entity judges associations.

Some of the signatories shall give their confirmations later in the process, as it was announced.

Advisory Council is fist initiative of this kind in Bosnia and a first serious step towards ensuring organized multi-institutional approach to issues of common interest.

Agreement was signed under the sponsorship of “Canada – Bosnia Judicial Reform Process” (JRP).

JRP is a three year project implemented in Bosnia since 2006. It is financed by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The main goal of the project is to contribute the creation of responsible and competent state judicial institutions which guarantee the safety of citizens and create positive environment for social, economic and political development.

Other goals of the project are support to sustainable and effective judiciary system which is accessible, transparent, neutral, independent, and efficient and strengthens the promotion and protection of gender equality.
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BOSNIAN AND RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DISCUSS CLEARING DEBT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) - Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric met with Russia’s Ambassador to Bosnia Konstantin Shuvalov.They discussed the issue of the so-called clearing debt.

Prime Minister Spiric informed the Russian Ambassador that on March 13 the Bosnian Council of Ministers which he chairs adopted a platform for starting negotiations about a bilateral agreement with Russia concerning the debts remaining from the period of trade exchange between former Yugoslavia and the USSR.

The issue of Bosnia’s debt to the Russian Federation for delivered natural gas was also discussed.
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BOSNIAN FOREIGN TRADE MINISTRY READY TO MEET CONDITIONS FOR EU FUNDS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 28,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Slobodan Puhalac announced that his ministry is ready to assume its role under the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), as well as its responsibilities for singing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union that concern agricultural production.

Minister Puhalac had a meeting on Wednesday with the representatives of 10 out of total 22 relevant institutions in the area of agriculture in Bosnia.

Participants of the meeting discussed, among other topics, the list of 151 regulations and 190 directives that are part of conditions for signing the SAA.
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

ERDOGAN: BOSNIAN PRESIDENT IZETBEGOVIC WILL ENTER HISTORY AS A GREAT LEADER

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo the fallen fighters’ cemetery and memorial of Kovaci and paid tribute to late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by the Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic and Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Samir Silajdzic visited the President Alija Izetbegovic Museum.

”I am proud for having been given an opportunity to, together with other members of the delegation, pay tribute to Alija Izetbegovic, a great leader, a great man, my dear friend”, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated after the visit to the Museum.

Minister Erdogan stated that President Izetbegovic was a man who will enter history as a great fighter and a leader.

He hopes that the Alija Izetbegovic Museum will, in time, be made richer with more artefacts which will serve as a reminder of the President Izetbegovic’s personal contribution to the defence of Bosnia,during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENT HARIS SILAJDZIC MET WITH TURKISH PRIME MINISTER TAYYIP ERDOGAN

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic and members of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.They discussed relations between Bosnia and Turkey and emphasized that political relations between the two countries are good, and that there is enough of space for a better cooperation in the sector of economy and trade.

It has been emphasized that the cooperation in the sector of defence and culture should be continued.

The Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkish entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in Bosnia and that it is one of his personal tasks. He also expressed pleasure that he is in a visit to friendly Bosnia, which is important for Turkey as a multiethnic country and it is the best example of the meeting of civilizations and an example of unity in plurality.

”We are of the opinion that Bosnia is extremely important for peace and future of the entire Balkans and it is something that can positively reflect on the country’s future”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated. He confirmed full support of Turkey to Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic association processes.

They also talked about the projects in Bosnia that are in need of Turkish support. Some of them are reconstruction of the Ferhadija Mosque, completion of the Konjic Old Bridge reconstruction, the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge which has been made a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, and other projects.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated that Bosnia and Turkey have been historically connected in the past, present and will be in the future.

Members of the Bosnian Presidency thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for everything Turkey has done for Bosnia, since the declaration of independence, as well as for all the future support of the friendly country.
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SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL JOVAN OSTOJIC PLEADED NOT GUILTY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) - At the plea hearing before the Section I for War Crimes of the Bosnian State Court, Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic pleaded not guilty yesterday.He is charged with crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

As alleged in the indictment, Serbian war criminal Ostojic, as Commander of a genocidal Serbian paramilitary unit, in the period from July 14, 1992 until December 31, 1992, together with other Serbian aggressor's soldiers participated in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosanska Krupa.

As alleged in the indictment, during the period from July 14 and August 21, 1992, at least 36 Bosnian civilians, were detained by this genocidal Serbian aggressor's paramilitary unit in a school building in Bosanska Krupa.

Several detained Bosnian civilians were repeatedly severely beaten by the Serbian aggressor's soldiers who were subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, as alleged in the indictment.

The detained Bosnian civilians were regularly forced to perform labor including removing corpses, digging trenches and cleaning the streets in Bosanska Krupa, being intentionally exposed to dangers to life. As further alleged in the indictment, on or about July 28, 1992, some guards subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, gave a poison to one detained Bosnian civilian who died two days later.

On or about August 12, 1992, as alleged in the indictment, one of the guards subordinated to Serbian war criminal Jovan Ostojic, murdered 11 Bosnian civilians by firearm. On August 21, 1992 all of the detained Bosnian civilians who had remained at this school building in Bosanska Krupa, 20 of them, were blindfolded and brutally tortured.

Later on, the detainees were allegedly transferred to the concentrationn camp in Kamenica where they were detained until November 3, 1992. During this period they were further abused and at least four of them were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor.
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GABELA CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVORS TESTIFIED AT TRIAL OF CROATIAN WAR CRIMINAL NIKOLA ANDRUN

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – A retrial against Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun, charged with war crimes committed in the Gabela concentration camp near the southern Bosnian town of Capljina,during the croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's, has commenced yesterday before the Appellate Chamber of the Bosnian State Court.

After the Prosecution read the indictment, both parties presented their introductory arguments. Audio recordings of the statements given by three Prosecution witnesses to the first instance Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court of BiH were then listened to.

The first instance verdict sentenced Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun to 13 years of imprisonment for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians in the Gabela concentration camp. However, after having considered the appeals filed by the Bosnian State Prosecution and Defence, the Appellate Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial.

The indictment alleges that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and responsible for the events at the concentration camp, in which Bosnian civilians were detained by the fascist Croatian aggressor, in 1993. He is also charged with having killed one Bosnian civilian and participated in two more murders in the Gabela concentration camp.

In her introductory arguments the Bosnian State Prosecutor Vesna Tancica said that she expected the Chamber to announce Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun guilty.

"In their statements, witnesses confirmed they knew Andrun and that he was deputy commander of the Gabela concentration camp and foreboded evil – as, whenever he appeared, an evil happened," Tancica said.

The Defence considers that it will persuade the Chamber that Andrun was not guilty.

"We are not denying what happened to the detainees but I can say that politics is to be blamed and not a common soldier, like myself," Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun said.

The statements given by witnesses Mirza Colakovic, Enes Bratic and Alija Suta,survivors of the Gabela concentration camp, were heard.

Colakovic, who was arrested by the Croatian aggressor on July 2, 1993, was first detained in the Dretelj concentration camp. On September 28 he was then transferred to the Gabela concentration camp, where he was detained, together with "300 or 400 persons" in a hangar. The witness stated that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun and two other Croatian aggressor's soldiers tortured him up on September 30.

"They took me to a building and started interrogating me. After that, they started hitting me," Colakovic said, adding that, due to the beating, he lost conscience. When he woke up, he saw "Andrun holding a black 10 cm belt and putting it around my neck". After that, he and some other soldiers, who "were standing on chairs and tables," pulled him up, holding the belt, "until I fainted."

"When I woke up they helped me to a wash-basin. They put my head beneath the water-tap and Andrun covered my eyes with a towel. The water poured directly into my nostrils... I fainted again," Colakovic told the first instance Chamber, also identifying the indictee in the courtroom.

Witness Enes Bratic also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun tortured him, but he could not say when exactly he was arrested and released from the Gabela concentration camp.

The statements given by third witness Alija Suta in the courtroom and to the Prosecution in the course of the investigation were contradictory. He told the Chamber that Andrun saved him and 17 other detainees by putting them in hangar 3 of the concentration camp, as nobody tortured them there. He also said he did not know who issued orders in the Gabela concentration camp. During the investigation he also said that Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun was responsible for the disappearance of detained Bosnian civilians from the detention camp and that he was deputy commander.

Explaining the discrepancies between his statements, Suta said he had a car accident prior to his testimony and that, due to the injuries, he could not "remember the events very well," but he said that what he had said during the investigation was correct.

The trial of Croatian war criminal Nikola Andrun is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 28.
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SPIRIC: BOSNIA SHOULD NOT BE PRESSURED TO RECOGNIZE KOSOVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola spiric stated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that the issue of Kosovo is complex and that it should be dealt with by the European Union, the United States, Russia.

“Bosnia needs to avoid the issue as much as possible. That means that we all need to focus on the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration processes. Anybody forcing us to get involved is not a friend of Bosnia”, Spiric stated answering a Turkish journalist’s question to comment possible recognition of Kosovo by Bosnia.
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MATSUURA: THE CITY OF MOSTAR AND BOSNIA MUST HONOR THEIR COMMITMENTS REGARDING THE OLD BRIDGE

MOSTAR, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The City of Mostar and Bosnia most honor their commitments they have taken when the Old Bridge was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List, stated yesterday the UNESCO Secretary General Koichiro Matsuura.

He stated that the authenthic appearance of the Old Bridge and the Old Town must be preserved and that the reconstruction of the Ruza hotel is still an issue that is the fourth floor construction which is in vicinity of the Bridge.

"Bosnia has lots of candidates for the World Heritage List and that is why it is so important for Mostar to be a good example for other cities candidates”, stated Matsuura who was handed an honorary citizen of Mostar plaque.

The plaque was handed by the City Council Chair Murat Coric. He explained that Matsuury was awarded because of his great contribution in reconstruction of the Old Bridge and putting it on the UNESCO list.

With the plaque, Matsuura also received a painting of the Old Bridge, handed by Mostar mayor Ljubo Beslic.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated that the Old Bridge in Mostar is not in danger since the construction of the hotel “Ruza” was aborted and it will be continued only after the UNESCO experts confirm that architectural construction of the hotel is in accordance with historical core of the Old Town in Mostar.

"Reconstruction of the Ruza holtel in Mostar is a large investment, important for the development of this city and which was aborted two years ago because we are trying to find a solution which will harmonize the heritage and development” stated President Silajdzic.

President Silajdzic repeated the request for Mostar to be helped by UNESCO until the solution is found and asked for experts of this organization give their opinion on the new solution before the 32nd session of the Committee.

President Silajdzic also invited the UNESCO Secretary General to tell the truth about the Old Bridge in Mostar, that it is not in danger and ensure additional help for the Bosnian heritage.

He reminded that the reconstruction of the bridge was possible only with the help from rest of the world, especially UNESCO as a key organization for preservation of cultural values.

Matsuura stated that he is encouraged with Silajdzic’s statement that the Old Town in Mostar shall be preserved and underlined that this universal value must be protected.

The Old Bridge in Mostar was enlisted in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in July 2005.
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DELEGATION OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND BOSNIAN OFFICIALS DISCUSSED POSITION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) – The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe met with representatives of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and the Bosnian Ministry of Security and discussed about overall position of minorities in Bosnia.

The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic stated that the Bosnian government is working continuously on protection and improvement of the rights of national minorities and complete change of the law on protection of national minorities in Bosnia.

"We are aware of the fact that the implementation of this law and the Framework Convetion is condition with post-conflict situation in Bosnia and with the fact that the last population census was done in 1991. Its results do not even come close to showing real demographic state in the country”, stated Halilovic.

He pointed out that the law on protection of national minorities from 2003 recognizes 17 minority communities in Bosnia: Albanian, Montenegrin, Czech, Italian, Jewish, Hungarian, Macedonian, German, Polish, Roma, Romanian, Russian, Rusine, Slovak, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Minister Halilovic stated that the mentioned law clearly defines the obligation of constituting councils of national minorities with the Bosnian Parliament as advisory bodies. In this sense, the decision of forming these councils was adopted and announced in February and its fast operative and functionality is expected.

He also added that the amendments to the Election law of Bosnia opens possibility, more precisely prescribes obligations that minority communities depending on their percentage must participate in local authorities, municipal assemblies, as well as their participation on all level of government and executive powers in Bosnia.

Minister Halilovic reminded that the Bosnian government adopted the strategy for solving Roma problems as the largest minority in Bosnia and that the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees is preparing action plans for solving the problems of this population in the area of employment, healthcare and housing.

"It is realistic to expect the adoption of these documents in several weeks in the Bosnian Council of Ministers”, he explained.

Members of the Council of Europe delegation, Marju Lauristin, Eva Smith Asmussen and Francoise Kempf after the introductory speech of Minister Halilovic showed special interest in education of national minorities, employment and participation in election processes.
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MOTORWAY NETWORK IN BOSNIA EXTENDED BY 14 PER CENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 27,2008) - According to information provided by the Bosnian Motoring Club (BIHAMK), there were 58.6 kilometres of new motorways built in Bosnia last year, whereas 764.74 kilometres of the existing roads were renovated.

Compared to 1995, the network of regional and arterial roads was by 14 per cent longer by the end of 2007. The same source also informed about 783,482 motor vehicles being registered in the country by the end of 2007.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MEHMED PASHA SOKOLOVIC BRIDGE ADDED TO UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST

VIŠEGRAD, Bosnia (March 26,2008) — The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad,a 16th century stone bridge over the Drina River,has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, the organization's director said yesterday.

The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge is the second monument in Bosnia that UNESCO has recognized, after the Old Bridge in Mostar.

The 589-foot bridge has 11 stone arches and was built at the end of the 16th century.The bridge was named after one of the most famous Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, who was born in Visegrad in 1505, and who ordered the construction of the bridge to connect the banks of the Drina river once he returned to Bosnia as Grand Vizier.

The structure is considered a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and engineering.

UNESCO has recognized its "outstanding universal value," UNESCO Director Koichiro Matsuura said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, where he was presenting the Bosnian authorities with a certificate on the listing of the bridge.

"Its cultural value transcends both national and cultural borders," he said.

The bridge connects the two banks of the Drina, which throughout history has marked the border between Bosnia and the genocidal Serbia.

Writer Ivo Andric, who was born in Bosnia but spent the second half of his life in Serbia declaring himself "a Serbian", won a Nobel prize for literature in 1961, following the publication of "The Bridge on the Drina", in which he wrote about the building of the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad,and Ottoman times in Bosnia from the genocidal Serbian point of view.

During the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, Visegrad was a site where war crimes were committed by the Serbian aggressor against the town's Bosnian population.Some 3,000 Bosnian civilians from Visegrad were mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor, including 121 children.

During yesterday's ceremony in Sarajevo to mark the bridge's listing as a World Heritage Site, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic said that those who survived that part of the bridge's history "deserve our respect."

UNESCO Director Koichiro Matsuura's visit to Visegrad was canceled "for security reasons".However,the organizers of the event decided not to hold the ceremony on the bridge after the Bosnian Association of Women Victims of War announced plans to put a plaque on the bridge commemorating genocide victims from Visegrad at a ceremony that was to have coincided with the certificate-awarding ceremony.

Members of this Bosnian association put the plaque on the bridge and read out the names of 3,000 genocide victims from Visegrad.

The World Heritage List includes 851 properties that UNESCO deems worth preserving for their cultural or natural value. Sites on the list are eligible for funding and technical assistance from UNESCO to help with protection and preservation.
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SILAJDZIC AND LAJCAK DISCUSSED POLITICAL SITAUTION IN SREBRENICA AND POLICE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic met with the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.They discussed several current issues, including police reform. The main topic of the meeting was the political situation in Srebrenica, both the current and in the post-local elections.

In that regard, President Silajdzic urged the High Representative to use all his possibilities and influence to make sure that the authority formed in Srebrenica in the post-electoral period reflects the structure shown in the 1991 census.

President Silajdzic emphasized that such an initiative is necessary in order to implement the Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, as well as the ICJ verdict, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic’s Cabinet announced.
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ON JUNE 18 IN THE HAGUE, ADDITIONAL CLARIFICATION ON THE LAWSUIT FILED BY FAMILIES OF SREBRENICA GENOCIDE VICTIMS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – A member of the international lawyer team,Semir Guzin,representing the families of the genocide victims from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica who filed a lawsuit against the Netherlands and the United Nations in the Hague, stated yesterday that the start of proceeding is scheduled for June 18 in which all sides will have the chance to present their case.

Start of proceeding relates to the lawsuit filed by the families of the genocide victims from Srebrenica against the Netherlands and the UN for not doing anything to prevent the genocide committed in the secured zone of the UN in 1995 during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The lawsuit contains 8.000 individual cases with around 6.000 plaintiffs.

The genocide victims' families launched the lawsuit against the Netherlands and the U.N. in July 2007, arguing the Dutch U.N. soldiers were to blame for the genocide in Sreberenica because they refused crucial air support to their own troops defending the Bosnian town.

The Dutch U.N. soldiers abandoned the enclave instead,and the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians who had relied on protection from the Dutch U.N. troops.

Former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague on genocide charges over Srebrenica, are still on the run.

Dismayed by the failure to bring to justice the two chief suspects, the genocide victims' families say they have turned to a Dutch court for recognition and redress for the tragedy.

The Dutch state has always said its troops were abandoned by the U.N. which gave them no air support, but public documents actually show a network of Dutch military officials within the U.N. blocked air support because they feared their soldiers could be hit by friendly fire, the genocide victims families' lawyers said.
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BOSNIA AND TURKEY TO IMPROVE ECONOMIC COOPERATION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that cooperation between the two friendly countries is good and that it should be improved in all the sectors that has not been done.

Spiric told the press after the meeting that the officials agreed that the friendly relations are not followed by a good economic cooperation and cooperation in all other sectors.

”The 2007 data state that we imported 270 million Bosnian Marks worth of merchandise and exported only 40 million Bosnian Marks. That says that the exchange and import-export balance has not been for the benefit of Bosnia. Strength of the Turkish economy guarantees almost certainly a higher level of trade exchange and we will try to correct that trade misbalance. We are pleased that there is an interest at the Turkish market for Bosnian goods”, Spiric said.

Spiric stated that Turkey has progressed on the scale of the most important investors in Bosnia from 12th to 9th position. He added that the investments in Maglaj and Tuzla are important for Bosnia. They opened jobs for about 1.000 Bosnian citizens.

”Certain problems in relation to the provision of materials should not be an obstacle to investment processes and we will do all in our power to remove all the misunderstandings”, Spiric stated.

As far as bilateral agreements are concerned, he is of the opinion that it is very important that the agreement presuppositions have been created.

”We expected and we now have been promised the support of friendly Turkey at the upcoming NATO Summit, which is very important for Bosnia, for we are about to be granted the intensive dialogue status”, Spiric stated.

He thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for supporting Bosnia in the process of stabilization, perseverance of peace and reconstruction. He also thanked for the projects of the Bosnian cultural and historical heritage reconstruction, like the Drina Bridge in Visegrad that was certified yesterday by UNESCO as a part of the World heritage. He also thanked for the engagement in reconstruction processes of the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka and the Konjic Bridge.

”All of them are projects the Turkish government wants to support and we are greatful for that”, Spiric stated.

He informed the Turkish Prime Minister that Bosnia will support Turkey in hosting the EXPO exhibit in 2015.

”This visit is a sign of a new, stronger cooperation between the two friendly countries. We expressed readiness for cooperation in all sectors”, Spiric stated.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey and Bosnia share enormous cultural and historical values and that, starting from this fact, relations between the two states should be brought to another, higher level.

According to him, the meeting focused on sectors which enable intensification of cooperation and in which mutual support could be made applicable.

”We again emphasized the importance Turkey gives to the perseverance of sovereignty and territorial integrity of internationally recognized state borders of Bosnia, as well as to the perseverance of stability and peace. We also asked for a possibility to discuss events in the region and international relations”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated.

The meeting also focused on Bosnia's EU and NATO association processes, as well as Bosnia’s status within NATO.

”We emphasized readiness and determination to support Bosnia on the Euro-Atlantic road. That is primarily related to the NATO Summit in Bucharest”, Prime Minister Erdogan stated and added that there is a need for mutual understanding related to the Balkan countries and perseverance of sustainable peace and safety in the area.

The Turkish Prime Minister expressed determination to intensify and improve relations with Bosnia in all the sectors.

Answering the journalist’s question to comment the Turkish view of the current political situation in Bosnia, Prime Minister Erdogan stated that Turkey sees Bosnia from the point of view of its unity.

”Divisions always result in losses and make one lose power. In order for you not to weaken, territorial integrity is important in our view. We are of the opinion that it is of the outmost importance that the consciousness of being a part of Bosnia is developed between the people, for Bosnia is a good example of various ethnic groups, people of different cultures and confessions, living together”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated.

The Turkish state delegation also met yesterday with members of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly’s Houses’ Collegiums..
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LAJCAK SETS APRIL 3 AS FINAL DEADLINE FOR ADOPTING POLICE REFORM LAWS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak said in the bosnian capital Sarajevo that there would be no new deadline after April 3 for adopting the police reform laws, and told the politicians in Bosnia that there is no more room to improvise.

On April 3, a decision which is good for Bosnia should be reached and this is in complete competence of domestic political parties and state parliament and everyone should be aware of that, stated the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak, commenting on the expectations after the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives postponed its session for April 3 in which they were supposed to discuss amendments to the police reform laws.

Session which was not held Lajcak commented as a sign of insufficient preparation for this session by political parties.

”There was good will present. I was in contact with all party leaders but it was shown that preparation was not good enough. Now we know how much time has left and I expect for them to use it without improvising and for them to agree in the parliament on one text which would be supported by all”, stated Lajcak.
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FBIH ENTITY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SHARPLY CONDEMNS SCHOOL SEGREGATION IN CAPLJINA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science sharply condemns any form of segregation in schools in Bosnia and demands urgent interventions of all the authorities responsible, both cantonal and municipal, for the purpose of ensuring equal schooling conditions for all the children.

In a reaction to the recent events in Capljina, in which 170 pupils from the “Capljina” Primary School of Bosniak and Serb nationalities, attending lessons in Bosnian, were forced to leave the building and move to the Capljina Students Home, the FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science announces a clear attitude that children in Bosnia need to be raised and educated together, in integrated multicultural schools.

The Ministry announced at the very beginning of those misunderstandings that the Federal Minister Meliha Alic and the FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science representatives held a meeting with representatives of Herzegovina – Neretva canton Ministry of Education, as well as with the management of the Capljina primary school.

The meeting was aimed to find adequate solutions to the issues of schooling the Capljina primary school children.

”Then, as well as now, the attitude of our Ministry was clear and decisive – all the children need to be provided with the same schooling conditions. The FBIH Entity Ministry of Education is willing provide financial support to expand the existing capacities and make sure all other schools created the same conditions”, the FBIH entity government announced.
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HIDROGRADNJA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY TO FORM A JOINT VENTURE IN LIBYA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) - The shareholders of Sarajevo-based Bosnian construction company Hidrogradnja have decided to form a joint venture in Libya. The company will be formed with a Tripoli-based partner, and Hidrogradnja will hold a share of 65 per cent. Supervisory Board's chairman Izmir Hadziavdic said the decision had been approved by the relevant ministry before that.

It is a requirement of Libyan laws that foreign companies operating in the country cooperate with local partners. Further details were not discussed at the meeting. Hidrogradnja already has 83 million Bosnian Marks worth of two-year contracts signed in the country.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BOSNIA AND PAKISTAN TO EXPAND DEFENCE COOPERATION

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (March 25,2008) - The President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf said yesterday in the Pakistani capital Is;amabad that Pakistan was eager to expand bilateral cooperation with Bosnia.Talking to the Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic, President Musharraf said that defence cooperation had enormous potential particularly in areas of defence production and training.

Minister Cikotic underlined that Bosnia was equally eager to further strengthen and expand defence cooperation with Pakistan.

The President of Pakistan warmly welcomed the Bosnian Defence Minister and underlined the extremely close relations existing between the two countries.
He said that Pakistan had always stood by Bosnia.

Minister Cikotic appreciated the close and cordial ties between the two countries and expressed gratitude for the support that Pakistan had consistently extended to his country.

He recalled with great pleasure President Musharraf’s visit to Bosnia last year.

He particularly mentioned President Musharraf’s address to both houses of the Bosnian Parliament and his visit to Srebrenica, where the genocide had taken place during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic also met yesterday with the Pakistani Minister for Defence and Defence Production Syed Salim Abbas Jilani.

The meeting reviewed the existing level of cooperation and underlined the need for promoting robust ties as their existed tremendous scope of cooperation in various fields. The meetings noted to increase cooperation in the areas of military training and exchange of visit by both sides which would help in promoting greater understanding and strengthening fraternal ties between the two countries.

The Pakistani Defence Minister told his Bosnian counterpart that Pakistan attached utmost importance to its ties with Bosnia as the two countries had cultural affinities and commonality of perceptions on regional and international issues.

He briefed the Bosnian Defence delegation about the capability and potential of defence production facilities in Pakistan.

He also thanked the Bosnian government and people of Bosnia for contributing generously in the relief and rescue efforts after the 8 October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

Minister Jilani hoped that the visit of the Bosnian Defence Minister to Pakistan would further boost military and defence cooperation between the two countries.

The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic, on his arrival at the Pakistani Ministry of Defence, was received and welcomed by the senior officials of the Pakistani Defence Ministry. A smartly turned out contingent of the three Services presented Guard of Honour to the distinguished guest, who reviewed the Guard and took the salute.
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TURKISH PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 25,2008) - The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived yesterday in Bosnia to meet top officials and Turkish soldiers serving with the European Union peacekeeping force.

Erdogan is to hold talks today with the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic,Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric and the Bosnian Parliament's members.

The Turkish Prime Minister is also to visit his country's contingent of some 250 soldiers serving in Bosnia with the 2,200-strong EU Force (EUFOR). The international peacekeepers have been deployed to maintain stability since the end of the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Around 40 Turkish businessmen will accompany Erdogan during his visit.

In 2006 Turkey's exports to Bosnia totalled 129 million Euros (198 million US Dollars) while imports amounted to 10.6 million Euros, according to official figures.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENT HARIS SILAJDZIC MET WITH BRCKO DISTRICT ASSEMBLY DELEGATES

BRCKO, Bosnia (March 25,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic met in Brcko with delegates in the Brcko Assembly from several political parties. Main topic of the talks was the Status of Brcko District and the law regarding its status.

They agreed that the law on Brcko district is necessary in order to formalize its status within Bosnia.They also agreed that there is constitutional basis of adoption of such a law, stated the Bosnian State Presidency.

They also discussed other issues important for the Brcko District, such as realization of the veteran rights, return and proportional representation in District’s institutions.
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REGIONAL COOPERATION AND SUPPORT TO THE EU INTEGRATIONS ARE PRIORITIES OF RCC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 25,2008) - Priorities of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) which officially started operating on February 27 are regional cooperation and support to EU integrations in the southeastern Europe, stated RCC spokesperson Dinka Zivalj.

She explained that the accent is on the region as a carrier of cooperation and for that purpose the priority falls within the coordination of regional activities in six priority areas.

These are economic and social development, energy and infrastructure, judiciary and internal affairs, human resources development and parliamentary cooperation.

In the future period the Council shall continue with activities of the Stability Pact for the southeastern Europe and focus on projects of direct importance for peoples and states in the region which are developmental in nature.

One of these projects is foundation of regional center for prevention of natural disasters (earthquakes, fires and floods).

Zivalj added that the Council is in the final phase of gathering its team.

It is expected for the Secretary General of the Council Hido Biscevic to inform on the completion of the Council’s capacities at the meeting of heads of southeastern European states on May 21 in Pomorie, Bulgaria.

The Council, hich is seated in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, inherited the Stability Pact of the southeastern Europe with the difference that Council is focused on regional leadership.
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BOSNIAN AND CUBAN PARLIAMENTS TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS

HAVANA, Cuba (March 25,2008) - Parliaments of Bosnia and Cuba agreed yesterday to strengthen their relations, which were weakened for some time due to conflict in the Balkan nation.

The President of the National Assembly of the People"s Power of Cuba (Cuban Congress), Ricardo Alarcon, received yesterday the Bosnian Parliament’s House of Representatives Speaker Milorad Zivkovic Milorad Ziukovic, with whom he reviewed the economic, social prospects in the two countries.

Both agreed on that the current historic situation is favorable for improving bilateral relations through diplomatic contacts and in other fields.

Ziukovic"s agenda in Cuba also includes separate meetings with Cuban authorities of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and the ministries of Foreign Relations and Foreign Trade.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

BOSNIAN DEFENCE MINISTER SELMO CIKOTIC VISITS PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (March 24,2008) – A four member Bosnian defence delegation led by the Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic has arrived in Pakistan yesterday for five-day official visit to Pakistan.

The Pakistani Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Rear Admiral Tanveer Faiz, received the delegation at Islamabad International Airport.

During its stay in Pakistan, the Bosnian delegation will hold meetings with the Defence Minister and military leadership of Pakistan.

The visit of Bosnian defence delegation will further boost bilateral cooperation between the two Muslim countries.
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SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MARKO ADAMOVIC AND BOSKO LUKIC ARRESTED IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 24,2008)- Bosnian police has arrested two Serbian war criminals suspected of committing war crimes during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminals Marko Adamovic and Bosko Lukic were detained in the northwestern Bosnian towns of Banja Luka and Prijedor respectively, on suspicion of committing war crimes against Bosnian civilians, Boris Grubesic,Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office Spokesperson said.

The alleged crimes took place at the start of the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia in the western town of Kljuc.Hundreds of Bosnian civilians were murdered in Kljuc and surrounding villages while the remaining residents were forced by the genocidal Serbian aggressor to move out.

Thousands of Bosnian civilians were imprisoned in the concentration camps in the area, including the notorious Manjaca.

Some estimates say 200,000 people were killed and 2.2 million displaced during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.
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LANDMINE KILLS THREE PEOPLE IN GORAZDE

GORAZDE, Bosnia (March 24,2008) – Bosnian police have confirmed that three people have been killed in a landmine explosion near the eastern Bosnian town of Gorazde.

The three included two policemen and a member of Bosnia's civil protection unit, who all died on Saturday as a result of the explosion. Policemen Suljo Hurtic and Radislav Carapic, and civil protection unit member Gorazde Ranko Simic had been trying to mark the area around the landmine, when a mine exploded.

Incoming reports indicate that the three had in fact entered a minefield that had not been marked previously.

The accident happened in Masici village as police were called to mark and secure the ground before the arrival of mine clearers.

"The three men died when a landmine went off," local police said.

Teams stationed at Gorazde including police and judicial authorities and a Canadian team of de-miners were immediately sent to the scene to investigate the case.

The most recent records show that Bosnia is Europe's most mine-contaminated country, with nearly 4 percent of the territory still planted with landmines and other explosive devices.

More than 470 people have been killed and 1,100 injured in mine explosions in Bosnia since the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions.
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OHR: POSTPONMENT OF THE POLICE REFORM LAWS IS A WASTE OF TIME

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 24,2008) – The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) warned that any postponement of the adoption of the police reform laws by the Bosnian Parliament is a waste of time.

Mario Brkic, OHR Spokesperson, said that the Bosnian Parliament is given a chance to decide on the issues that are essential for Bosnia’s EU future.

”We call all the political parties to agree on the EU perspective of this country. There is no alternative to that”, Brkic emphasized.

The Bosnian State Parliament failed to adopt the police reform laws last week; parliamentary commission for defence and security gave a negative report to the bills for the second time.

Adoption of the police reform laws is a precondition for singing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union.
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

TURKISH PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN TO VISIT BOSNIA NEXT WEEK

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Bosnia next week during his three-day regional tour, accompanied by a business delegation with representatives of some 40 Turkish companies.

In cooperation with the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), the Bosnian Chamber for Foreign Trade will organize a session of the Bosnian-Turkish Business Council on March 25, and before that bilateral meetings will take place between entrepreneurs from the two countries.
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SIPA INVESTIGATES BOSNIAN STATE COURT BOMB THREAT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) – The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) is determining the identity of the person behind a bomb hoax which halted trials at Bosnia's top court on Thursday.

"SIPA has determined the telephone number from which the messenger conveyed 'the bomb warning'," Selma Delalic, SIPA's Public Relations Officer said.

More details will be made available to the public once the investigation has been completed.

The bomb warning, conveyed on the afternoon on March 20, referred to the Bosnian State Judiciary building, in which the State Court, the State Prosecution and the High Judicial and Prosecutors' Council are located. Following the warning, all employees were evacuated. All ongoing trials were immediately brought to a stop.

The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency, in cooperation with the FBIH Entity Ministry of Interior, searched the building and "did not find anything."

"Following a search of several hours, police officers determined this was a false warning," a representative of the Bosnian State Court said, adding that "the control at the entrance of the building is now more strict."
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INFLATION RATE IN BOSNIA WAS 0,4 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) – According to the official statistics prsented by the Bosnian State Statistics Agency, the consumer price index in Bosnia was up by 0.4per cent in February, compared to the month before.

Looking at the December 2007 figures, prices were by 1.8 per cent higher. The consumer products whose prices increased the most on the monthly level were in the food and beverage segment – average 1.1 per cent. A monthly drop in prices was recorded only in transport (-0.3 per cent).
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ICTY MILITARY ANALYST RICHARD BUTLER TESTIFIED AT TRIAL OF 11 SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS CHARGED WITH GENOCIDE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) – Richard Butler, military analyst with the Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has testified as a Prosecution witness before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of 11 Serbian war criminals charged with genocide.

The witness said the Serbian aggressor's special police forces, which were situated in the vicinity of eastern Bosnian village of Kravica on July 13, 1995, were under the command of the genocidal paramilitary formayions of the Serbians living in Bosnia "VRS".

He also said the reviewed documents indicate that indictee Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar was commander of the Serbian aggressor's special police second squad up to August 24, 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment alleges that in July 1995 Serbian war criminal Milos Stupar was commander of the Serbian aggressor's special police second squad, to which nine other indicted Serbian war criminals belonged. Serbian war criminal Milovan Matic was a member of the "VRS". They are all charged with the genocide and participation in the mass murder of more than 1,000 Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica in Kravica village on July 13, 1995.

Butler was cross-examined by the eleven Defence teams, because, in December 2006 the Trial Chamber admitted, as Prosecution evidence, his two reports commissioned by the ICTY and its Prosecution.

The first report refers to the Serbian aggressor's military operations conducted in Srebrenica, while the second one concerns the responsibilities in the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia "VRS". Both reports were made in late 2002. As indicated by the witness, he reviewed "tens of thousands" of VRS wartime documents while he was preparing the reports.

Butler said that the VRS attacked the protected zone in response to attacks conducted by the 28th Infantry Division of the Bosnian Army, which had about 12,000 soldiers and which conducted its activities from Srebrenica.

"The VRS forces commenced with their earlier planned operations described in Directive No. 7, which was entitled "Operation Krivaja 95." The Directive was prepared by the General Staffs and it was signed by President Karadzic," Butler said.

The ICTY has ordered the arrest of Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic, former "president" of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "RS", who is also charged with genocide.

The witness said that originally, the main goal of this operation was to narrow the UN protected zone, so that it encircled the town of Srebrenica alone, and to interrupt communication with Zepa. The witness also said the police units were engaged in those operations only after July 10, "when the VRS forces realised that it was possible to conquer that region."

According to the information available to the military analyst, the Special Police Units, including the Second Squad from Sekovici, arrived in Bratunac on July 11. The two following days they were on duty by the road leading from Konjevic Polje to Kravica and they were under the VRS command.

The witness said that they arrested hundreds, or even thousands, of Bosnian civilians.In his report Butler did not mention whether the Serbian aggressor's police had any jurisdiction over those prisoners.

"The Interior Ministry Units could not hold the prisoners of war for a long time but they had to hand them over to the Units which had the capacities for holding those prisoners," Butler said.

Answering questions made by one Trial Chamber member, the witness added that it was indicative that there were no documents on any type of care provided to those prisoners, although there were such documents covering local Srebrenica residents and the wounded.

"No documents indicate whether they took care of the prisoners in a lawful manner," the witness stressed.

During examination, a few Defence attorneys said the fact that Butler testified as a witness and not as a court expert was "odd", because he was not an eyewitness of the genocide in Srebrenica.

In the course of this week Butler testified at two trials - for genocide and other war crimes committed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the eastern Bosnian towns of Bratunac and Srebrenica. The mentioned trials are being conducted before the Bosnian State Court in the case of Serbian war criminals Zdravko Bozic and Milorad Trbic. He was treated as a court expert at both trials.

The trial of eleven Serbian war criminals is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on March 26.
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BISHOP KOMARICA: BOSNIAN AUTHORITIES DO NOT CARE ENOUGH ABOUT BOSNIAN CITIZENS

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (March 22,2008) – The Catholic Bishop of Banja Luka Franjo Komarica stated that hundreds of thousands of Bosnian citizens are still living outside of the country and that the Bosnian state has not taken any activities that would by far suffice the needs of that population.

”In that sense, one cannot even ask the question whose interests the country’s authorities are protecting”, Boshop of Banja Luka warned and added that it does not suffice the basic rights to human dignity.

Bishop Komarica stated that the Bosnian citizens, especially the ones who perform some public duties, are called to constructively contribute the wellbeing of all Bosnian citizens for the purpose of obtaining a more prosper and a happier future.

”Do work more decisively on the wellbeing of all the people”, Bishop of Banja Luka told the authority representatives and added that everybody needs to respect the basic human rights, rights to their own identity, birthplace, religious community…

”We cannot live in silence looking at those rights being breeched. There are some people among us who perform important political and state functions and do not care about those rights. They humiliate human beings and their dignity and legitimate right to those same rights”, Bishop of Banja Luka stated.
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SPIRIC AND BASESCU DISCUSSED RELATIONS BETWEEN BOSNIA AND ROMANIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) - Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric met with Romanian President Trajan Basescu in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. The two high officials discussed relations between Bosnia and Romania and marked them as good, without any open issues, with a significant space for their promotion, especially in the sector of economy.

They emphasized the need of a better cooperation between the chambers of commerce of the two countries and the importance of regulating the bilateral relations in economy, science, culture and sport.

Spiric informed Basescu on political situation in Bosnia, the reform processes and fulfilment of conditions for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. He emphasized that the most important priorities of the Bosnian foreign policy are progress and full association to the EU and NATO.

The Romanian President emphasized that Bosnia should not miss the present opportunity for singing of SAA. He confirmed that Romania supports Bosnia on its way to association to the Euro-Atlantic structures.

They also talked about possibilities of cooperation at a multilateral level.
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BOSNIA'S TRADE EXCHANGE WORTH 1,85 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS IN FEBRUARY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 22,2008) - The Bosnian State Statistics Agency has announced that Bosnia’s trade exchange in February 2008 amounted to 1,849,300,000 Bosnian Marks. Exported goods accounted for 545.6 million Bosnian Marks of that (29.5 per cent), while imports amounted to 1,303,700,000 Bosnian Marks (70.5 per cent), resulting in a trade exchange ratio of 70.5 per cent.

In the first two months there was a 19.7 per cent increase in export, to 1,031,500,000 Bosnian Marks, but import at the same grew by 33.7 per cent to 2,305,000,000 Bosnian Marks, compared to the same period last year. Trade deficit amounted to 1,273,500,000 Bosnian Marks.

Croatia was the main trading partner in the first two months (16.4 per cent of Bosnia’s export and 15.8 per cent of import).
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Friday, March 21, 2008

POLICE REFORM BILLS SUBMITTED AGAIN TO BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21,2008) - The Bosnian Parliament's Commission for Defence and Security declared negatively yesterday on Bill on direction for coordination of police bodies and agencies for support to the Bosnian police Structure (the second commission phase) and on the Bill on Independent and Supervisory Bodies of the Bosnian police structure.

The Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives did not adopt these reports and ordered the Commission on Wednesday to revise draft laws and deliver new report to the House.

The Commission submitted the bills yesterday to the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives for the second time.

The House of Representatives should decide on this issue on April 3.
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BOSNIAN PRESIDENT HARIS SILAJDZIC MET WITH INTERNATIONAL MEMBER OF HIGH JUDICIAL AND PROSECUTION COUNCIL SVEN URKE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21,2008) - The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić has met with Mr. Sven Marius Urke, the International Member of the Bosnian High Judicial and Prosecution Council. The main topic of the conversation was the need to continue legal reform and preserve reforms that were achieved over the last few years.

Mr. Urke especially turned to the need to include people from the administration of justice and other experts in the Bosnian constitutional reform, once the process has begun, in order to ensure the continuation of reforms in the legal sector.

President Silajdžić agreed with this statement and pointed out that he personally and the SBiH Party have been actively supporting the participation of legal experts in the constitutional reform process in order to avoid bad solutions such as the April package when that kind of help was almost left out.

Mr. Urke also reiterated the need to preserve legal system’s independence and asked President Silajdžić to support efforts for avoiding political influence on that system trough the proposed Law on salaries.

President Silajdžić said that he supports this stance and believes that the salaries of judges and prosecutors in Bosnia should continue to be based on the existing law from 2006, and the proposed law should only refer to the employed in the non-legal institutions of Bosnia.

President Silajdžić promised his influence in changing the law in these and other sections, so that different categories of the Bosnian state officials would be treated appropriately.
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BOSNIAN STATE COURT EVACUATED YESTERDAY DUE TO BOMB THREAT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21,2008) - The building of the Bosnian State Court was evacuated yesterday afternoon due to a false bomb threat, the Court officials confirmed. All trials and other processes before the court were interrupted and all the people in the building were immediately called to leave, according to the Bosnian State Court's spokeswoman, Emanuela Hodzic.

Around 1500 CET (1400 GMT) all people present in the Court of Bosnia of Herzegovina, the State Prosecution and the High Judicial and Prosecutors Council premises were asked, via the public address system, to urgently leave the building.

The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) deployed its troops to the building along with the forces of the Interior Ministry of the FBIH entity, SIPA spokeswoman Selma Delalic said.

"Our teams are currently conducting activities to identify the author of the threat," Delalic said.

The Bosnian State Court, placed in Novi Grad municipality in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, hosts the top trials, including those for war crimes, corruption and organized crime.

A number of foreign prosecutors and judges have also been employed at the Court.
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BOSANSKI BROD OIL REFINERY REPORTS A LOSS

BOSANSKI BROD, Bosnia (March 21,2008) – The Bosanski Brod oil refinery has reported a net loss of 64.1 million Bosnian Marks by the end of 2007. Its revenue last year totalled 21.1 million Bosnian Marks, while expenditures amounted to 85.2 million Bosnian Marks.

The assets of the refinery as of December 31, 2007 were 519 million Bosnian Marks, and its capital was worth 195 million Bosnian Marks.

The unaudited financial statement also shows 113.6 million Bosnian Marks of long-term and 195 million Bosnian Marks of short-term liabilities by the end of 2007. Russian NefteGazInCor is the majority shareholder (79 per cent).
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BOSNIA IS STILL A MAJOR IMPORTER OF MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21,2008) – Although Bosnia has significantly increased the outputs of its dairy industry and milk producers over the past few years, the country is still a major importer of milk and dairy products.

According to information provided by the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber, the value of these imports reached 116 million Bosnian Marks last year. At the same time, milk and dairy export was worth 41 million Bosnian Marks.

Although the number of cows has halved compared to the pre-war period, the milk production is much above the 1990 output.
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BOSNIA WILL NOT RECOGNIZE KOSOVO,FOR NOW

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21.2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj has confirmed that Bosnia will not recognize the independence of Kosovo,for now. He said so after Croatia and Hungary recognized the new country.

Minister Alkalaj explained that Bosnia will not make decisions which could affect her stability, emphasizing that the focus right now is on association with the EU, the SAA signing, and membership in the NATO.

Until now, 33 countries have recognized Kosovo, including 18 countries of the EU. Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria announced in a joint statement on Wednesday the recognition of Kosovo independence.
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ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT IN BOSNIA DOWN 3,6 PER CENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21.2008) – The average monthly net salary paid in January amounted to 677 Bosnian Marks what indicates nominal fall of 0.6%. - The number of unemployed in January 2008 amounted to 516,775. It was 3.6% or 11,882 lower than in January 2007; these are the data of the Bosnian State Statistics Agency.

188,036 highly-qualified and qualified persons were unemployed. There were 176,275 unqualified unemployed persons and 115,873 with high-school education.

In January there were 750,856 employed in Bosnia. Compared to December 2007, this is an increase of 9.2%. The average monthly net salary paid in January amounted to 677 Bosnian Marks what indicates nominal fall of 0.6%. The average gross salary was 1,000 Bosnian Marks or 10% more than in January 2007.
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ROMANIAN PRESIDENT TRAIAN BACESCU VISITED BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 21.2008) - The Romanian President Traian Basescu said yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that Romania strongly supported Bosnia's progress towards closer ties with the European Union and NATO.

Romanian President Basescu, who arrived in a one-day official visit to Bosnia, said after meeting with his Bosnian counterpart Haris Silajdzic that Bosnia with some more effort would have a chance to access soon Intensified Dialogue (ID) with NATO, and to sign the rapprochement agreement with the EU.

Bosnian and Romanian presidents also talked how to improve economic cooperation between the two countries.

While in Bosnia, the Romanian President Basescu also to met with Bosnia's Prime Minister, members of the Bosnian Parliament and the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS REPORT ON POLICE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March,20,2008) – The Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives did not adopt negative reports of the Bosnian Parliament's Commission for Defence and Security on two draft laws of the Bosnian police reform.

These are draft laws on independent and supervisory bodies of police structure in Bosnia and draft law on direction for coordination of police bodies and agencies for support to the Bosnian police structure in Bosnia.

These propositions were returned to the Commission to reconsider them and to make new reports.Delegates adopted the conclusion according to which the Bosnian Parliament's Commission for Defence and Security should hold a session within 48 hours and within this deadline a session of House of Representatives should be held in order to review new reports.

With this decision to reject the negative report about the police reform laws, the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives has sent a clear signal that it wants a chance to adopt the laws”, the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak said , calling that a welcome decision.

He pointed out that the EU future of Bosnia lies in the hands of the Bosnian Parliament's Commission for Defence and Security. The decision about Bosnia making a decisive step towards the EU and signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is up to them, Lajcak said.
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DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST BUILDING OF A MONUMENT TO SERBIAN FASCISTS WILL BE ORGANIZED IN ZLATISTE ON APRIL 6

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March,20,2008) – The Bosnian Social Democratic Union (SDU) Party Presidency adopted yesterday text of the Initiative for peaceful demonstrations against the construction of a monument (a cross, 26 meters high and 18meters wide) to the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers in Zlatiste,near Sarajevo.

The demonstrations should be held April 6. In the following few days, text of the Initiative will be distributed to the citizens of Sarajevo stating that this occasion is a test of patriotism for all Bosnian patriots, especially the Sarajevo citizens.

”Trebevic and Zlatiste need to stay a place of assembling of all the peoples, not a place of divisions”, the Initiative states.

The SDU Party calls on the Bosnian citizens to peacefully demonstrate on April 6 in Zlatiste. Demonstrations will be organized unless the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak prevents the monument construction.
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BRITISH MINISTER FOR EUROPE JIM MURPHY MET WITH BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBERS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March,20,2008) - The President of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdžić and the Presidency Members Nebojša Radmanović and Željko Komšić met with Jim Murphy, the British Minister for Europe.

“This is my first visit as a Minister for Europe to a country that is not a European Union member. I assure you that the government of Great Britain supports EU enlargement, because large EU with various cultures strengthens EU and it strengthens Great Britain. That is our national interest, but that is also a European interest”, said Minister Jim Murphy.

He emphasized that Great Britain, as he said, would herald EU enlargement and would support Bosnia’s entry in EU. On behalf of the government of Great Britain, Minister Murphy also offered a practical support to Bosnia in its everyday activities on its way to EU and signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement. He stressed out that Great Britain is a true friend of Bosnia.

“I am glad that the government of Great Britain attentively monitors developments in Bosnia and your first visit to our country is a sign that we are an important issue in the region. I am happy that Great Britain supports EU enlargement”, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić emphasized.

“Bosnia needs stability and prosperity and I believe that European Union needs Bosnia. Your good will is very important to us in that path”, said President Silajdžić.

According to a member of the Bosnian Presidency Željko Komšić, it is an indisputable fact that all Bosnian citizens support Bosnia’s entry in EU. As he said, Bosnia’s membership in NATO and EU is a permanent stability for the country and the rest of the southeastern Europe and it would contribute to the region’s and Bosnia’s development.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojša Radmanović expressed his pleasure with Great Britain’s determination to enlarge EU and said Bosnia’s goal is entering European Union.

The British Minister for Europe Jim Murphy stated that the EU should be enlarged and Bosnia should be in the EU; he said that Great Britain wants the continuation of NATO enlargement as well, because NATO is important for world security.

“Great Britain appreciates every effort of Bosnia leading to reform on its way to fulfill conditions for Bosnia’s entry in the European Union, from public sector reform, administrative reforms, police reform to cooperation with the ICTY”, said Minister Murphy.
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