Wednesday, March 12, 2008


BRUSSELS, Belgium (March 12,2008) – The European Union has urged Bosnian authorities to "make further efforts" if Bosnia is to sign the stabilisation and Associaation Agreement (SAA) with the European Union next month.

A meeting of EU Foreign Ministers urged that, "important underlying problems remain and called upon all parties in Bosnia to work together in order to overcome them as soon as possible.”

“I welcome these conclusions on Bosnia whose leaders I met in Brussels,” the EU's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said after the meeting.

“I trust the country will be able to settle the remaining problems so it can achieve the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), in April,” he added. The EU's Council of Ministers, too, concluded that Bosnia has made progress with regards to the SAA, and reiterated its full support to Bosnia's EU perspective.

The SAA is widely seen as the first step towards European Union membership. Bosnia's bid to sign the agreement was hampered for months, as the country's political leaders debated how to reform, streamline and eventually unify two ethnically-based police forces.

Police reform is an essential condition for Bosnia for signing the SAA with the EU and late last year, Bosnia's political leaders reached a political deal on reforms known as The Mostar Declaration.

The EU also said it shares the concerns voiced at last month's meeting of the Brussels-based Peace Implementation Council (PIC), “over challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement.”

The body is responsible for assessing Bosnia's compliance with the 1995 Dayton peace accord that ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

“The Council welcomed the PIC Steering Board's unanimous decision that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) will remain in place and continue to carry out its mandate under the Dayton Peace Agreement until necessary objectives and conditions as set out in the PIC Steering Board Declaration are met,” it was concluded.

At the PIC meeting, it was decided to extend the mandate of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), until a series of political benchmarks are met.

“The Council confirmed its agreement to the goals of transition and ownership and reiterated its readiness to continue its engagement,” the document notes.

The conclusions on Bosnia were the only document formally adopted by EU Foreign Ministers when they discussed the Southeastern Europe during the meeting.

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