Wednesday, April 30, 2008

EUROPEAN UNION TO SIGN PRE-ACCESSION ACCORD WITH BOSNIA NEXT MONTH

LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg (April 30,2008) - The European Union (EU) will sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia in May, which is the first step towards EU membership.

At a meeting in Luxembourg , EU foreign ministers decided yesterday that Bosnia has made the necessary progress in meeting the conditions set by the EU and agreed to sign a SAA with it as soon as possible, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said at a press conference.

The EU and the genocidal Serbia signed an SAA at the same meeting yesterday, though with the proviso that it won't come into force until Belgrade cooperates fully with the international war crimes court in the Hague.

In Sarajevo, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic criticized the European Union for moving toward closer ties with the genocidal Serbia even as many Serbian war criminals,charged with genocide, remain at large.

"Today's event shows that Serbia enjoys privileges as no other country," as it failed to strictly fulfill EU-required conditions, the Bosnian President said, citing the European Union for "double standards."

The Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the EU was in fact ready to sign the agreement with Bosnia yesterday, but the signature was postponed for technical reasons.

"We need to make sure that everything is right, including the translation of the text into different languages, legal checking and so on. There is a lot of work to do," he said.

The agreement is to be signed on 26 or 27 May at the next meeting of EU's foreign ministers after it is translated, Rupel said in Luxembourg, according to the Slovenian EU Presidency.

Bosnia met the requirements for signing by passing two key acts to reform its police force, one of the four EU requirements. The other three were reforming public administration, the public broadcaster and cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

The SAA is designed to boost trade and economic ties between Bosnia and the 27-nation bloc and put Bosnia on path towards full EU membership.
.

BOSNIA JAILS SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MIRKO TODOROVIC AND MILOS RADIC AND CROATIAN WAR CRIMINAL PASKO LJUBICIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 30,2008) – The Bosnian State Court jailed yesterday two Serbian war criminals for 17 years each and a Croatian war criminal for 10 years for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminals Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic were found guilty of taking part, along with other members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations, in murdering eight Bosnian civilians in eastern Bosnia in May 1992.

"The group ... took the civilians to a nearby creek, where seven of them were killed," the Bosnian State Court said in a statement, adding that the eighth Bosnian civilian was murdered by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor earlier.

The Bosnian State Court also sentenced Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic,former member of the fascist Croatian aggressor's formations, to 10 years in prison over the mass-murder of the Bosnian civilians in the village of Ahmici in April 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia, after he pleaded guilty.

The Bosnian State Court said Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic was found guilty of obeying an order to organise an attack on the Bosnian village of Ahmici on April 15-16, when more than 100 Bosnian civilians were murdered and their houses burned down by the fascist Croatian aggressor.

"Ljubicic ... aided and abetted the planning and execution of this attack," the Bosnian State Court said.

The sentence came after Croatian war criminal Pasko Ljubicic struck a plea-bargain agreement with the Bosnian State Court. He was last year transferred for trial in Bosnia from the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
.

AGREEMENT ON REALIZATION OF THE SECOND PHASE OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE GAZI HUSREF-BEG'S LIBRARY SIGNED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 30,2008) – Emir of Qatar Hamed bin Khalifa Al-Thani donated 2.336.374 USD for realization of the second phase of the project of construction of Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library. This donation made Qatar’s participation in the project to reach the sum of almost 4,4 million USD.

On that occasion, Agreement on the Second Stage of the Construction Activities was signed in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by the leader of the Bosnian Islamic Community Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric , Director of the “Unigradnja Company” from Sarajevo Vehid Adilovic and Acting Director of the Hidrogradnja Company from Sarajevo Semir Masic.

The signing ceremony was attended by Ambassador of Qatar to Bosnia Mubarak K. Al-Hajri and construction project coordinator for the Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library Bakir Izetbegovic, as well as representatives of public, political and cultural life of Bosnia, diplomats and other officials.

Readiness of Emir of Qatar Al-Thani to support the construction of the Library was emphasized. That Library is a kind of a memories’ archive and is a testimony of continuity and richness of cultural and historical heritage of Sarajevo and Bosnia.

According to the new project, the library building located near the Kursumli Medresa in Bascarsija will have the capacity of storing 500.000 books and will contain reading rooms, archives, reconstruction rooms, printing press and other follow-up facilities.

For the first time after 140 years, the library which was established in 1537 will have the facilities of its own. So far, the library has been situated in the Kursumli Medresa.

The Gazi Husref-Beg’s Library contains valuable manuscripts written in Bosnian,Arabic, Persian and in other languages. There are some unique documents, over 800 years old. They are considered priceless.

Founder of the Library is Gazi Husref-Beg, grandson of Sultan Bayezid the Second. The Library contains 80.000 books and documents, including 10.000 of old documents and codexes, as well as about 5.000 documents from the period of Bosnia within the Ottoman Caliphate.

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

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

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

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

STUDENTS OF PAKISTAN'S NATIONAL UNIVERSITY FOR DEFENCE VISIT BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 30,2008) – Students of the National University for Defence of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are in a several-days’ visit to Bosnia.

Marina Pendes, the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Defence and Major General Slavko Pujic,the Deputy Commander of the Bosnian Army welcomed the guests.

They presented the guests from Pakistan to the past results achieved in the sector of the Bosnian defence reform, as well as to the activities and plans of the Bosnian Defence Ministry and the Bosnian Armed Forces aimed to improve the NATO association processes.

Bosnian officials expressed gratitude to the Pakistani guests for assistance offered to the Bosnian Armed Forces in the process of personnel training.

A briefing was organized on defence and security policy, as well as a briefing on the Bosnian defence system structure.

The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Bosnia Jauhar Saleem attended the presentation.In the days to come, the Pakistan guests will visit other Bosnian state ministries and institutions.
.

VATICAN AWARDS BOSNIAN STATE PRESIDENCY MEMBERS WITH MEDALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 30,2008) – The Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Dominique Mamberti presented in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday high medals of the Vatican to members of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic, Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic, as well as to the Bosnian State Presidency members from the previous mandate Sulejman Tihic, Ivo Miro Jovic and Borislav Paravac.

They have been awarded by Pope Benedikt 16th for achievements in the process of ratification of the Base Agreement between the Vatican and Bosnia.

This meeting was not attended by the President of The Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic, who is on an official trip and Sulejman Tihic, because of the illness.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic stated that the present and former Presidency members talked at the meeting with Mamberti about relations between Bosnia and the Vatican and about the big steps Bosnia is making on the way to the EU.

Mamberti has also been presented to the way in which Bosnia will implement the Base Agreement with the Vatican, which is the first agreement of the kind in Bosnia.

Archbishop Mamberti recalled the world of late Pope John Paul the Second during his visit to the Bosnian State Presidency in 1997, that the South Slavic peoples live together in Bosnia.

”In Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, a Catholic cathedral, an Orthodox cathedral, a Muslim mosque and a Jewish synagogue rise up to the sky. These four structures are not only a place where the believers in one God practice their faith. They are also a clear warning for the citizens to build a peaceful society here – a society of peace. In that society, citizens will recognize God as the Lord and Father of all”, Memberti cited Pope John Paul the Second.

These words are important today and they express the same attitudes accepted by Mamberti. He hopes that a space will be made in a concrete hope for dignity and future of all peoples living in this area together.

Former member of BiH Presidency Ivo Miro Jovic thanked for the medals on behalf of the present and former Bosnian Presidency members. He said that they all see those medals as a recognition for guidance of Bosnia the way of future and modern civilization achievements.
.

SDP WARNS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ABOUT GENOCIDAL SERBIA'S TROJAN HORSE IN BOSNIA MILORAD DODIK

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 30,2008) - The President of the Bosnian Social Democratic Party (SDP BIH) Zlatko Lagumdzija has sent a letter to the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) and Ambassadors from member countries of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), and urged them to take action against activities opposing the Dayton Agreement.

He was referring to a letter that the SNSD president and the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "RS", Milorad Dodik.sent a few days earlier, asserting how the Bosnian State Radio and Television (BHRT) "is bound to vanish under the current mode of operation, but so is Bosnia as a country".

As Lagumdzija wrote, he has been waiting for a response from the OHR in vain. In the letter, he compared Dodik’s ambition to have ethnically-oriented broadcasting services to a similar demand that Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic (who is wanted for genocide) made 17 years ago just before the beginning of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

"Whatever you do, I can only tell you that Dodik’s threats will not come to life. The progressive part of the international community, as well as this country’s citizens will not let that happen.That is why I call you to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem which will be solved anyways. It is better to be with you on time than without you and late," the President of the Bosnian Social Democratic Party said in his letter.
.

Monday, April 28, 2008

BOSNIAN AND SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSSED CURRENT POLITICAL ISSUES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 28,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj had a meeting on Friday with the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Rafael Descallar.

Alkalaj congratulated for the recently-completed elections in Spain and congratulated the minister for his re-election to the post. He also congratulated his colleague Moratinos.

Alkalaj informed Descallar on the current political situation in Bosnia, especially in the light of the recently-adopted police reform, as precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU.He also emphasised the importance of the decision passed at NATO’s Bucharest Summit at which BiH was granted Intensive dialogue status.

Descallar expressed pleasure with adoption of the law on police reform and added that Spain has been carefully monitoring development of the political situation in Bosnia.

The Bosnian and Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministers concluded that there are no open issues between Bosnia and Spain and that bilateral and economic issues are at a satisfactory level.
.

BOSNIAN STATE COURT: FOUR PROSECUTION WITNESSES TESTIFIED AT TRIAL OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL PREDRAG KUJUNDZIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 28,2008) - Four Prosecution witnesses testified on Friday before the Bosnian State Court at the trial of Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic.They said, with tears in their eyes, how their husbands were taken by the genocidal Serbian aggressor from Bukovacke Civcije, in Doboj municipality, to a concentration camp and how they found out about their deaths.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminal Predrag 'Predo' Kujundzic, as commander of a genocidal Serbian fascist paramilitary unit, with having participated in the occupation of Bukovacke Civcije village, demolition of the local mosque and abuse and taking around 160 Bosnian civilians to a concentration camp in Doboj on June 12, 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The witnesses said that, on that day "the Serbian army" came to their village and "mined the mosque" and then took all men "in the direction of Doboj" by buses.

"I found out that my husband was used as a live shield and that he died in Makljenovac place on July 12, 1992," said Senada Ahmic in the courtroom. She added that the body of her husband and 12 other neighbours were exhumed in 1998.

The story told by second witness Vahida Sehic was similar to this one. She said that her husband's cousin told her that her husband was "no longer with us" and that he was used as human shield and killed.

The indictment alleges that Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic participated in taking 50 detained Bosnian civilians from a concentration camp near Doboj and "using them as human shields" in Makljenovac, where at least 16 of them were killed.

Witness Ferida Ahmic said that the genocidal Serbian aggressor detained her husband Zijad and son Nermin to a concentration camp and that she saw Zijad for the last time one day before he was killed, when he was brought by the genocidal Serbian fascists to a place near their house to perform some forced labor.

"He said that there was going to be some exchange, but it did not happen. They used them as human shields. My son survived and he said that they were half-naked, when they lined them in five rows. When the shooting started, people started falling dead and he also fell down with them. He was wounded, but he survived," said Ferida Ahmic, adding that her husband and 13 residents of Bukovacke Civcije village were killed on that day.

Ahmic claims to have heard, the day when her husband was taken away, that "Predo and his Unit" came to their village. Answering the Prosecutor's additional question, she explained that she was talking about Serbian war criminal Predrag "Predo" Kujundzic.

Witness Rukija Mujanovic also spoke about the war crimes committed by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in Bukovacke Civcije, describing her last meeting with her husband.

"My husband used to work in Kotorsko and my daughter asked if we could go and see the bus, in which her father was. The bus stopped for one second only and we managed to see him. And then it left," Mujanovic said. Later on she found out that her husband was used as a human shield and that he was killed on July 12.

"A neighbour, who was released, told me: 'Meho was killed. He is not coming back home,'" the witness said with tears in her eyes.

The witnesses said that the remaining residents of Bukovacke Civcije were forced by the genocidal Serbian fascists to perform forced labor, including digging and cherry picking, every day as of June 12, 1992.

"We dug every day, from dusk till dawn. Every morning we had to bring our picks and food for one day and come to the mosque. A truck would then come and they would load us on it," said witness Vahida Sehic.

As mentioned by the witnesses, when leaving Bukovacke Civcije in mid 1993, all residents were forced by the genocidal Serbian aggressor to sign a statement waiving their property "voluntarily".

The trial of Serbian war criminal Predrag Kujundzic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on May 7.
.

ALKALAJ: NO LEGAL BASIS FOR BOSNIAN CENTRAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION DECISION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 28,2008) - The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj is surprised by the Bosnian Central Elections Commission decision which suspended him and Deputy Defence Minister Igor Crnadak and Deputy Civil Affairs Minister Senad Sepic from applying to any of the positions obtained through elections or immediate elections in the following four years.

The Commission stated that the three officials breeched the decrees of the Bosnian Law on Collision of Interest. Minister Alkalaj announced to make an appeal to the department court.

The Bosnian Central Elections Commission determined that Alkalaj performed two functions in the period from February 9 2007 to January 21 2008 – he was the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister and a member of the VGT Insurance Visoko Managing Board, which made business with the Bosnian state in the amount of over 5.000,00 Bosnian Marks per a year.

However,Alkalaj stated at a press conference in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that he has still not obtained an official information from the Commission, and added that no factual or legal basis existed for such a decision.

He stated that the documents which have been submitted to the Commission clearly state that there is no collision of interest, for the circumstance according to which he was a member of the company’s Managing Board at a time does not, by itself, stand as a breech of law. He had resigned the position of the Managing Board member prior to the Commission’s decision.

”As a minister, I have gained no material use for I have given up all the incomes for membership at the Managing Board”, Alkalaj stated and added that after his nomination to the position of the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister, the insurance company did not make a single agreement with the Bosnian state.

He is of the opinion that it is obvious that certain members of the Bosnian Central Elections commission do not care a lot about the facts. They were exclusively lead by the political goals.

He said that certain political parties, “for reasons already known to the public”, have been taking an action against him for some time. He also said that some members of the Bosnian Central Elections Commission had personal motifs, for they expect that it is a good way of preventing announcement of the data and initiation of procedures related to their illegal actions, at the previous functions they performed.

However, the key reason for this decision is seen by Minister Alkalaj in the fact that the country’s foreign policy is being created inside, not outside of Bosnia and that the position of Bosnia is growing stronger day by day in the world.

”It is obvious that positive results of such policy are seen, especially when we talk about the acceleration of integration of Bosnia into EU and NATO. It is clear that those who openly say things that are not in the interest of Bosnia have their reasons for that to happen”, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj said.
.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS TO APPROVE THE SIGNATURE OF A PRE-MEMERSHIP DEAL WITH BOSNIA ON TUESDAY

BRUSSELS, Belgium (April 26,2008) – The EU foreign ministers are expected to approve the signature of a pre-membership deal with Bosnia on Tuesday when they meet in Luxembourg.

"Bosnia has made a big step forward regarding its obligations towards the EU" by approving the first phase of a much-debated police reform, and the ministers believe that its "hard work so far merits the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)," sources in the EU presidency said.

Officials had previously said that they hoped to sign the SAA itself on Tuesday.

But technical issues related to the translation of the near-1,000-page document into all 23 official EU languages mean that the ministers are now expected to declare their readiness to sign the SAA once the technical work is done.

The SAA is a contract between a European state and the EU setting out what economic, legal and political reforms the state should carry out and how the EU will support it in those reforms.

Bosnia's SAA was initialled in December 2007.While not a guarantee of future membership, the offer of an SAA is widely seen as being one of the main mile-posts on the road towards eventual accession.

The EU insists that all the states of the southeastern Europe have a "perspective" of future membership, and has already signed SAAs with Montenegro and Albania. Croatia is already a membership candidate.

Beyond the southeastern Europe, EU ministers are also set to debate recent developments in Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Georgia, the Middle East and Pakistan.

Officials will review the current set of sanctions in place against top members of the Myanmar regime, with an eye to strengthening the restrictions in the coming months.

On Zimbabwe, EU ministers are expected to reiterate their concern over the recent reports of violence and intimidation of pro-democracy activists as well as the failure by the government to release the final results of the March 29 presidential election.
.

BOSNIAN STATE COURT CONFIRMS INDICTMENT AGAINST SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL RADE VESELINOVIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – The Bosnian State Court has confirmed yesterday the indictment against Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic, former member of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations, who is charged with crimes against humanity committed in Hadzici municipality in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic is charged with abetting and supporting the persecution of the Bosnian civilians on the territory of this municipality, "by committing murder, torture, forcible disappearance, detention and causing suffering and bodily injuries."

The indictment alleges that, from early May to the end of 1992, Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic and other members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations participated in the unlawful detention of Bosnian civilians at a concentration camp, established in the the cultural, sports and recreational hall in Hadzici, where they were tortured and murdered.

The Bosnian civilians were abused also by being forced, by the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers, to "perform unnatural acts".

The indictment mentions the names of Serbian war criminals Dragan Pusar and Nemanja Jovicic, with whom Veselinovic participated in the attack on Musici village, where some Bosnian civilians were murdered and others were detained in the concentration camp in Hadzici.

Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic has been held under custody since November 2007, when the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) arrested him as per a warrant issued by the Bosnian State Prosecutor.

According to the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia,
Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic was arrested together with
Serbian war criminal Nemanja Jovicic, who is suspected of having committed war crimes in the same area.

Within the next 15 days Serbian war criminal Rade Veselinovic is due to enter his plea to the counts charged upon him by the indictment.
.

REAL ESTATE PRICES IN BOSNIA INCREASED 100 PER CENT IN 2007

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – According to the market experts and owners of real estate agencies, the prices of real estate in Bosnia have increased by 100 per cent in 2007.

As a result, the price of a square meter in newly built homes in central Sarajevo can reach up to 5,000 Bosnian Marks. A shortage of residential developments is seen as the main reason for this trend which is not expected to be over soon. Banja Luka is the second most expensive city in Bosnia in terms of real estate prices.

Considering that the average salary in Bosnia is 677 Bosnian Marks a month, and that banks are not trying to make buying a home easier (with home loan interest rate at one bank being as high as 6.75 per cent), a new home has become a luxury item in Bosnia.
.

REGIONAL PROTOCOL ON FIGHTING MONEY LAUNDERING SIGNED IN PODGORICA

PODGORICA, Montenegro (April 26,2008) – The heads of financial security services of Bosnia,Albania,Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia have signed a protocol about fighting money laundering and the funding of terrorism in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica.

Cooperation between these southeastern European countries has been rated as excellent. They also agreed to meet at least once a year, and the next meeting will take place in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
.

LAJCAK CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON MEDIA FREEDOM IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia,yesterday,strongly condemned all attacks on the freedom and the independence of media in Bosnia.

“Freedom of the media is a key freedom for all member states of the European Union, and the EU monitors very closely the quality and the situation in this area in each country that wishes to join the European Union one day. Rest assured that not a single attack on media freedom will go unnoticed in the European Union”, Lajčák said in a video message published on the website http://www.reci.ba in response to a question about threats to media freedom in Bosnia.

“If we want to build a functional democratic state, then we must not tolerate attacks against the independence of the media. There are institutions that must do their job. In our case, this would be the Regulatory Agency for Communications. The state institutions also need to meet their commitments. Politicians should say that there cannot be any tolerance of attacks against the media, since they are responsible for the prevailing atmosphere in a society,” Lajčák said.

He recalled that the EU did not by accident set public broadcasting reform as a condition for further progress in the EU integration process, stressing that it is essential to create “a functional, objective, independent and democratic system of public broadcasting, which will not serve or be abused for biased party or other interests, and which will inform citizens in an objective manner.”
.

PRESIDENT SILAJDZIC RECEIVES CREDENTIALS FROM NEWLY-APPOINTED PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic received in Sarajevo credentials from newly-appointed Ambassador of Palestine to Bosnia Rostom Amir Saker Hussein.

President Silajdzic stated that Bosnia and Palestine have developed friendly relations through the years and that the cooperation can be further improved in all sectors.

Ambassador Hussein expressed pleasure with his stay in Bosnia. He emphasized that Palestine wants to strengthen the relations with Bosnia and promised that he will dedicate his mission to promotion of cooperation, for the benefit of the peoples living in both the countries.
.

DEPUTY EUFOR COMMANDER VISITED BRATUNAC AND SREBRENICA

SREBRENICA/BRATUNAC, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – The Deputy Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Brigadier General Carmelo De Cicco visited Bratunac and Srebrenica. He visited the Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) House in Bratunac to meet the Austrian EUFOR team who help the local authorities to maintain a safe and secure environment.

To conclude the visit, Brigadier General De CICCO visited the Genocide Memorial Centre in Srebrenica to pay his respects to the genocide victims buried there, on behalf of the entire Italian contingent in EUFOR and of himself. He laid flowers and conveyed his personal thoughts in a message in the visitors’ book of impressions, EUFOR said.

“I am very moved today. I recognise the terrible loss for the families of the victims, and I am convinced that this memorial will continue to serve as a great reminder to all of us to prevent such atrocities ever to occur again,” the Deputy EUFOR Commander said.

In July 1995 the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica.The Srebrenica massacre has been deemed by the UN war crimes tribunal and the International Court of Justice to have constituted genocide. Thousands of bodies of the genocide victims have been uncovered from about 60 mass graves around Srebrenica.
.

40 MILLION BOSNIAN MARKS TO BE USED TO HELP REFUGEES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 26,2008) – The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic met with Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia Ambassador Douglas Davidson and UNHCR representative in Bosnia Naveed Hussain. They talked about realization of the budget funds aimed to help the return process.

”By ensuring significantly bigger amounts of money for the return process in this year, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees and the Bosnian government showed that they are seriously determined to help the return process. It is also encouraging that the Ministry ensured significant funds for sustainable return”, Hussain said and emphasized readiness to help the process of allocation and usage of the money in municipalities.

Davidson and Hussain stated that “the time has come for allocation of funds on the basis of the returnees’ real needs”.

”We are aware that this is a sensitive issue and we are willing to help reorganize the system according to which the allocation of funds on the ethnic principle would be replaced by the aid which would be bat the disposal of people who need it the most”, the international officials said.

Halilovic emphasized determination of the Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees to start the realization of about 40 million Bosnian Marks that have been consolidated by the Bosnian state government and the two entities’ governments.

Minister Halilovic saids that the Annex 7 Implementation Strategy is in the final stages of development.
.

Friday, April 25, 2008

JAJCE FULFILLED CONDITIONS FOR UNESCO'S WORLD HERITAGE LIST

JAJCE, Bosnia (April 25,2008) – UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre confirmed that all the technical criteria necessary within the nomination file for enlisting the Bosnian town of Jajce to the World Heritage List have been fulfilled, the Bosnian State Commission to Preserve National Monuments has announced.This enabled successful completion of the first phase of the activities for enlisting of the Jajce historical core to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Jajce was the capital of the medieval Bosnian Kingdom.The medieval Bosnian royal town was the residence of the Bosnian Kings during the 15th century. The Bosnian King Stjepan Tomasevic was crowned in Jajce in 1461.

The first initiative for listing Jajce to the UNESCO World Heritage List originates form the year of 1979. The initiative was revived in 2005 and on February 1 2007, the Nomination File has been submitted to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris,France, in November 2007.
.

BOSNIAN PARLIAMENT: DISCUSSION ON ACTIVITIES AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RADIO AND TV SYSTEM ENDED WITHOUT CONCRETE CONCLUSIONS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) – The Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives and House of Peoples ended discussions on Public RTV Service activities and audit reports on the institution’s financial management for the period from 2005 to 2006. The discussion ended in no concrete conclusions.

It has been agreed that the department parliamentary commissions of both the houses, on the basis of materials submitted by the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry, make a final proposal of conclusions which will be voted on at one of the following sessions.

The Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives and House of Peoples decided at the joint session not to discuss Information on the situation in the Bosnian diplomatic and consular offices.

It has been agreed that the discussion on this issue is postponed for a month and that in the meantime the materials submitted by the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry is amended.

Delegates criticized the Bosnian State Presidency because nobody appeared at the session. The foreign police issues are in direct jurisdiction of the Bosnian Presidency.
.

INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR OPENS IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) – The International Book Fair jointly organized by Skenderija Centre, Sahinpasic Publishing and Association of Publishers officially opened in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic opened the Fair.

The Sarajevo Book Fair has become an important fact in the region. Together with the guests from the region, Bosnian publishers will present their books.

They are in by far most difficult situation compared to the neighbours. However, an encouraging fact is that Foundation of Libraries has been formed, so all the books written by Bosnian authors and translations will be purchased.

President Silajdzic emphasized that Sarajevo is the city in which culture has always been cherished and expressed hope that it will always remain like that. He emphasized hope that better conditions will be created for publishing and that authors will have a better status in Bosnia.

The fair will last until April 28. 220 presenters will participate.
.

BOSNIAN NATIONAL MINORITIES' COUNCIL FORMED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) – The Bosnian Council of National Minorities has been constituted in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo; Roma people’s representative Nedzad Jusic is President of the Council. His deputies are Slovenian Marija Grbic and Macedonian Vasilija Ibrahimagic are his deputies.

The Council will, within 60 days, pass the book of regulations, which will organize systematization, organization and program of this council.

There are currently 10 members at the Council. The Bosnian State Parliament confirmed their nomination in January.

Keeping in mind that there are 17 national minorities in Bosnia, the council will have additional seven members.

Members of the Council are elected at the proposal of Joint Commission for Human Rights, Rights of Children, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of BiH Parliamentary Assembly. The Assembly is obliged to consult the national minorities’ councils in the process of election of the council’s members, as well as other NGOs that deal with national minorities.

The Bosnian National Minorities Council is an advisory body which will give opinions, advice and proposals to the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, which are concerned with rights, position and interest of national minorities in Bosnia.
.

AMERICAN FASCIST FORTUNE TELLER RICHARD HOLBROOKE NOW SAYS THAT WITHOUT DAYTON 9/11 WOULD HAVE BEEN PLANNED FROM BOSNIA

WASHINGTON, USA (April 25,2008) – Without signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995, Al-Qaeda would have probably planned the attack against WTC on September 11,2001 from Bosnia, not from Afghanistan, former US diplomat,who wholeheartidly supports the existence of the genocidal fascist Serbian aggressor's creature in Bosnia "RS",Richard Holbrooke wrote in his mothnly column in the Washington Post.

”We were concerned with the presence in Bosnia of a little-known group of Islamist extremists who would later become infamous as al-Qaeda. In the Dayton Agreement, we required their removal and gave NATO the right to attack them. Without Dayton, al-Qaeda would probably have planned the Sept. 11 attacks from Bosnia, not Afghanistan ”, Richard Holbrooke, chief architect of the Dayton Agreement stated in his column. He recently visited Bosnia.

However, many experts say that 9/11 was an inside job meant to bring about a permanent state of emergency in the United States and pave the way for the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and ultimately Iran and Syria,and that the “Bin Laden”, the entire Al-Qaeda, is American-made from the start till the end, and there is nothing called Al Qaeda.

Watch the following documentary called "Loose Change" (2005) to find out more.It is a documentary film written and directed by Dylan Avery, and produced by Korey Rowe with Jason Bermas. It claims that the September 11, 2001 attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the United States government, and bases these claims on perceived anomalies in the historical record of the attacks.


.

ITALIAN UNICREDIT GROUP IS THE BANKING LEADER IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) - The Italian UniCredit Group is the banking market leader in Bosnia, with assets of 4.1 billion Bosnian Marks by the end of 2007, and market share of 21 per cent.

Hypo Grupa is the runner-up, with assets of 4.09 billion Bosnian Marks and 20.9 per cent market share by the end of 2007. Raiffeisen is third with assets of 3.8 billion Bosnian Marks and market share of 19.4 per cent.

The fourth largest banking group operating in the Bosnian market is NLB Grupa (1.8 billion Bosnian Marks in assets, market share of 9.2 per cent), followed by Volksbank (1.7 billion Bosnian Marks, 5.4 per cent). Intesa San Paolo is sixth with 955 million Bosnian Marks in assets by the end of 2007, and market share of 4.8 per cent. The six hold more than 80 per cent of the Bosnian banking market.
.

NO VISAS NEEDED FOR BOSNIAN CITIZENS TRAVELLING TO RUSSIA FROM MAY 1

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) - The agreement signed by the Bosnian and Russian officials in New York in September last year regulating the travel of their citizens will come into force on May 1, cancelling visas trips from Bosnia to Russia, and the other way round.

The regulations reffer to travelling for business, professional, scientific, educational, training, cultural, sporting, medical and private purposes, for a period no longer than 90 days. The Bosnian citizens seeking employment in Russia will need a visa.
.

PROFIT OF BOSNIAN BANKS WAS 160 MILLION BOSNIAN MARKS LAST YEAR

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 25,2008) - Executive secretary of the Bosnian Banking Association Mijo Misic said in a press conference that the pre-tax profit of the country's banks was 160 million Bosnian Marks last year, with total revenue of 1.53 billion Bosnian Marks. Their total assets have increased to 19,679,000,000 Bosnian Marks.

In the same period, the deposits of citizens increased from 4.2 billion Bosnian Marks to 5.3 billion Bosnian Marks, while the deposits of companies grew at a high 40 per cent rate and reached 9.5 billion Bosnian Marks. This shows that the trust banking customers have in the system in growing, Misic said.

It is the Association’s opinion that Bosnia is not indebted too much, with 11.5 billion Bosnian Marks borrowed from the banks in 2007.
.

AZERBAIJANI NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM TO PLAY AGAINST BOSNIA ON JUNE 1

BAKU, Azerbaijan (April 25,2008) - According to the Association of Football Federation of Azerbaijan (AFFA), the Azerbaijani national team, headed by Berti Fogts, German coach, will play against Bosnia on 1 June.

The match will be the fourth test game for Azerbaijani team in 2008. The first game, headed by Joko Hajiyevski, was against Kazakhstan (0:0) in Anatolia, second game against Lithuanian team, was headed by Nazim Suleymanov, in Vilnius (0:1).

Azerbaijani national team will play against Andorra before the games against Bosnia.
.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT HARIS SILAJDZIC MET WITH AMBASSADORS OF EU MEMBER COUNTRIES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 24,2008) – Bosnia could, in late April or in late May, sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic announced.

President Silajdzic stated after a meeting with the Ambassador of Slovenia to Bosnia Natasa Vodusek that Bosnia's progress to the EU and NATO memberships remains priority.

Dilemma related to the signing of the SAA was caused by technical reasons, that is, the time needed for translation of the agreement to the languages of 27 countries of the EU. It is certain that the SAA between Bosnia and the EU will be signed May 26, in the case the previously-arranged deadline is prolonged.

The Bosnian President Silajdzic stated during the meeting with ambassadors of EU member countries to Bosnia that a special attention was dedicated to economic issues in Bosnia, that is, difficulties related to realization of foreign investments. Situation in the region was one of the topics of conversation.

The issue of making the investments’ “flow” easier was also discussed, both in the sense of political or bureaucratic barriers.

In that context, President Silajdzic said that he is supportive of a program related to the sector of energy. He expressed fears that any delays in the process could bring Bosnia into position that the country imports instead of exports electric energy.

Ambnassador Vodusek stated that the southeastern European region is in the focus of her country’s foreign policy.

The southeastern Europe, she said, is a high priority area, which confirms readiness of Slovenia as the country residing the EU, that the countries of the region are brought as close as possible to the EU membership.

Answering the journalists’ question, Ambassador did not want to speculate about whether or not Bosnia is waiting for signing of SAA because of the elections in the genocidal Serbia, but she did say that Brussels has made clear conditions which need to be fulfilled. She emphasized her country’s readiness to maximally engage into processes which will bring the country closer to the EU.
.

BOSNIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER SVEN ALKALAJ MET WITH GERMAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER WALTER STEINMEIER

BERLIN, Germany (April 24,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj met in the German capital Berlin with German Foreign Affairs Minister and deputy German Chancellor Walter Steinmeier. They talked about promotion of cooperation between Bosnia and Germany.

They agreed that there is enough of space for improvement of bilateral relations, especially on the sector of economy and attraction of German investors. They also talked about the need of amendments to the existing and conclusion of the new agreements in the sector of health and social protection, as well as about the need of engaging employees from Bosnia.

Alkalaj thanked for Germany’s support to Bosnia in the period during and after the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, especially in the segment of security and multilateral cooperation.

Minister Steinmeier welcomed adoption of police reform laws in Bosnia, which made the conditions necessary for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU fulfilled. The Agreement will most probably be signed May 26. It has been emphasized that Bosnia can count on support of Germany in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations.

The German Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasized that Germany has been monitoring the events in the southeastern Europe with great interest.

The Bosnian Foreign Minister Alkalaj emphasized the importance of realization of visits between the two countries’ highest officials. He invited Minister Steinmeier to visit Bosnia soon. The proposal has been accepted.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj also held a lecture on Tuesday at Berlin’s Foreign Policy Association (DGAP) on the topic “Bosnia on the Way to the EU”.

Minister Alkalaj hopes that the European Union, as well as its key members individually will accelerate the processes of preparations of official signing of the SAA with Bosnia, which would additionally encourage the reform forces in the country.

The Bosnian tourist offer has also been presented after the lecture, in organization of the Bosnian Embassy in Germany.
.

BOSNIA AND CANADA TO INTENSIFY COOPERATION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 24,2008) – The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdzic, a member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic and diplomatic advisor to a member of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic, Nerkez Arifhodzic, met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with a delegation of the Canadian Parliament, lead by Speaker Piter Miliken.

President Silajdzic thanked Canada for support at the recent NATO Summit in Bucharest and expressed hope that Bosnia will still have support of Canada on the way to the NATO membership.

He also thanked Canada for support the country has provided to Bosnia in different spheres which mounted to about 130 million dollars.

President Silajdzic emphasized that economic cooperation between the two countries is of extraordinary significance and that the Canadian entrepreneurs are welcome in Bosnia.

He said that singing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU will increase economic cooperation, as well as presence of foreign entrepreneurs in Bosnia, not only from the EU, but wider.

The Canadian Parliamentary Speaker Piter Miliken stated that Canada is interested in having Bosnia a part of the international organizations and that the cooperation between the two countries should intensify.
.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY DIRECTOR MUHAMED EL-BARADEI MET WITH BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBERS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 24,2008) – The President of the Bosnian State Presidency Dr Haris Silajdzic and members of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic had a meeting in Sarajevo yesterday with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Dr. Muhammed el-Baradei on priorities of future cooperation between IAEA and BiH.

”It is about medical prevention, early diagnosis of a disease and prevention at the Bosnian borders, where scanners are set up to control everything that is imported to the country through transport”, President Silajdzic told the press after the meeting.

The scanners are being set up at the borders. There will be 12 scanners, the first one will be set up at the Izacic state border crossing.

As stated, Bosnia as adopted the law on radiation safety, but the state regulatory agency is yet to come to life.

”In any case, there is a law; regulatory agency will certainly be formed and we will have a better cooperation with the IAEA”, President Silajdzic explained.

Diseases of animals were a special focus, especially brucellosis. Nuclear technology could contribute the disease’s diagnostics.

New programs Bosnia is yet to become a part of have not been discussed. The so-called PACT (Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy) – was named as an example. IAEA has been developing the program in cooperation with the World Health Organization. It is expected that Bosnia will become a member of the program.

IAEA General director emphasized the wish of the Agency for cooperation with Bosnia.

”We would like to expand that work”, Baradei told the press in Sthe bosnian capital Sarajevo.

According to him, the cooperation would focus on the human health sector, as well as on diseases of animals and nuclear safety sector.

”We have cooperated with many institutions in the process of revealing and treating cancer. We would like Bosnia to increase the capacities in that sense and we would also like the country to be provided with assistance aimed to prevent the disease”, IAEA Director General said.

He recommended the increase of capacities in Bosnia for the purpose of ensuring food safety programs. In that sense, contaminated food would not be imported. He said that in the sector of nuclear safety it is a “high zone of activities where all things need to be put under control”.

”We want to see here an independent regulatory body which is completely functional. We want to know that the body has its director and other staff”, he said.

He thinks that prevention of illegal activities at the state borders is very important. That includes prevention of trade of nuclear materials across the state border.

In that sense, training of the personnel at the customs was marked as extremely important.

”Those are the issues we have discussed today in the sense of expansion of cooperation. We need to make sure that the lives of the Bosnian citizens are improved”, E-Baradei said.

President Silajdzic expressed pleasure over the IAEA Director General’s visit, for he is a fighter for peaceful use of nuclear energy and is one of the Nobel Peace Prize Winners (2005).

“This has also been an opportunity to thank Dr El-Baradei for the assistance IAEA has provided for Bosnia”, President Silajdzic emphasized.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was formed as an autonomous body on July 29 1957. The main goal was the use of atomic energy into peaceful purposes and prevention of its use into military purposes. That was the answer to a deep fear and expectations, as well as a result of the atomic energy discovery.

In Oslo, December 9 2005, Dr. Muhammed el-Baradei received Nobel Peace Prize for the contribution in spread of nuclear weapons’ expansion and for implementation of policy of having nuclear energy used for peaceful purposes.
.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER ZELJKO KOMSIC PLACED WREATHS AND PAID TRIBUTE TO THE JASENOVAC CONCENTRATION CAMP VICTIMS

DONJA GRADINA, Croatia (April 24,2008) – On the occasion of 63rd anniversary of breakthrough of inmates from the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia, a member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic visited the Donja Gradina memorial area.

Komsic placed wreaths to the central monument “the Poplar of Terror” and paid tribute to all the innocent victims of the Croatian fascists in this camp of death.

On April 22 1945,during the WW2, about 600 prisoners of the Jasenovac concentration camp broke through. Only about 100 of them survived.
.

BOSNIA TO APPLY FOR OBSERVER STATUS AT BSEC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 24,2008) – The Bosnian State Presidency has decided at the 36th regular session that Bosnia will apply for the status of observer at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC).

The Bosnian Presidency also passed decision on nomination of Dr. Adil Ahmed Bushnak for the Bosnian Consul Honorary in Saudi Arabia.

The Bosnian Presidency accepted the calls for visits to Malaysia and Libya.

The Bosnian Presidency also discussed this year’s Bosnian Central Bank’s Report, as well as Bosnian Central Bank’s Financial Report.

The Bosnian Presidency praised the work of the Bosnian Central Bank and adopted both the reports which contain reviews on the entire economic situation in BiH in comparison to the region.

The Bosnian Presidency did not pass decision on ratification of the Base Agreement between BiH and the Orthodox Christian Church.

Although previously announced, issues related to defence policy and Report on Work and Finances of the Commission to Preserve Bosnian National Monuments were not discussed.

In that sense, the Bosnian Presidency concluded that Presidency members should discuss the issue among themselves with representatives of the Bosnian Defence Ministry and Commission to Preserve National Monuments. The Bosnian Presidency will then pass decisions.
.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ELVIR LAKOVIC LAKA PRESENTED VIDEO FOR HIS SONG "POKUŠAJ",WHICH WILL REPRESENT BOSNIA AT 53RD EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The Bosnian representative in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, Elvir Lakovic Laka, with the song Pokušaj, has unveiled the promotion video for the Bosnian entry.

The video sticks to the European theme, as it contains flags of participating countries.The promotion video has been released, yesterday, just weeks before the contest, and will be sent to broadcasting nations in way of promoting the song.

Laka was internally selected to represent the Bosnian nation in the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest. An English version has already been made available of the song, although the song will be performed completelly in Bosnian.



Laka will perform in the first Semi Final on the 20th May and will also perform at the Eurovision Preview Party on Friday night in London's Scala.
.

EU EXPECTS TO SIGN SAA WITH BOSNIA NEXT MONTH

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The European Union is aiming to sign an agreement with Bosnia on closer ties in May instead of this month as originally hoped, EU diplomats said yesterday.

They said the delay was linked to technical procedures needed to finalise the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union, made possible after Bosnia agreed a long-awaited police reform earlier in April.

"These procedures take time," said one EU diplomat, noting the 27-member bloc had to formally confirm Bosnia had fulfilled all technical conditions for the SAA and translate the text into the various EU languages.

The upper house of the Bosnian State Parliament finally adopted a reform of its police,the outstanding precondition for an SAA pact,on April 16 after successive failed attempts.

The SAA is the gateway to the ultimate entry of all southeastern European states in the EU.
.

BOSNIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER SVEN ALKALAJ VISITS GERMANY

BERLIN, Germany (April 23,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj is in a three-day visit to Germany and will meet with German Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as with advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Advisor for Foreign and Security Policy Christoph Heusgen.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj will also visit the German State Parliament and have a meeting with the President of Bosnian – German Parliamentary Group Rainer Stinner.
.

BOSNIAN STATE COURT CONVICTS FOUR SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) – The Bosnian State Court has convicted yesterday four Serbian war criminals of murdering Bosnian civilians during the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia and issued varying sentences.

A court statement said two Serbian war criminals with the same name, Mirko Pekez, and Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, forced 27 Bosnian civilians to line up at the edge of a cliff in central Bosnia and shot them with automatic rifles. Four Bosnian civilians survived with bad injuries.

These Serbian war criminals were members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations when they forced the Bosnian civilians, ranging in age from 9 to 74, out of their homes in villages near the Bosnian town of Jajce and took them to the cliff for execution.

The Bosnian State Court said none of the 13 men, 10 women, one child and three teenagers were in any way involved in the armed conflict.

Serbian war criminal Mirko Pekez, 42, was sentenced to 29 years in prison while Serbian war criminal Mirko Pekez, 41, and Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, 37, were given 21-year sentences.

In another trial, Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar, 44, was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in the torture and execution of Bosnian civilians in a concentration camp,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

In 1992, Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar served as the head of one of the three guard shifts in the Keraterm concentration camp, near the northern Bosnian town of Prijedor, the court statement said. During his shifts, he did not prevent regular torture of detained Bosnian civilians by his guards or other genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers, it said. A number of detained Bosnian civilians were beaten do death.

The Bosnian State Court has a special department for war crimes, which is partly staffed by international prosecutors and judges. The department is supposed to take over cases from the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, which is scheduled to close in 2010.
.

INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION AND INVESTMENT CONFERENCE BEGINS IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) – The International Promotion and Investment Conference “Sarajevo canton 2008” started yesterday. The conference will last for two days. Participants are representatives of domestic and foreign companies, political and economic life of Bosnia and other countries. The aim is that Sarajevo Canton is represented as a potential investment destination.

The International Community's High Representative and the EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak emphasized in his welcoming speech that the most important issue Bosnia is facing today, is creation of jobs and rising of the living standards.

Lajcak emphasized that those are the tasks economic reforms need to focus on. Some of the priorities for promotion of business climate are mentioned in the Action Platform, passed by heads of governments last year.

Those priorities foresee simplification of bureaucratic procedures, enabling normal transport of merchandise and capital, removal of obstacles for labour mobility, improvement of the banking system supervision, modernization of laws from commercial sector.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic emphasized in his address that the main obstacle to the attraction of investors to Bosnia is the fact that Bosnia does not have enough prepared projects.

The FBIH entity government has focused all its activities in all the sectors to achieving the goal of employment of 55.000 people. This was stated by the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic who added that that goal can only be achieved through investments, institutions’ reform and infrastructural development.

”I hope that the positive trends from last year will continue. That includes growth of industrial production, increase of export, salaries and all other vital parameters which reflect the quality of a society”, Brankovic said.

The Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Samir Silajdzic, who hosts the conference, stated that participants of this conference will reflect upon the past investments made in the Sarajevo Canton, as well as upon potentials for investments through the public investments programs.
.

CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER MET WITH BOSNIAN PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OFFICIALS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The Canadian parliamentary Speaker Peter Milliken had a meeting yesterday in Sarajevo with the Bosnian parliamentary officials.The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives Speaker Milorad Zivkovic told the press after the meeting that this is an extremely significant visit and that he is of the opinion that it will result in a newer, better cooperation between the two countries’ parliaments.

”Keeping in mind that the two-houses parliamentary system exists in Canada as well, we have exchanged experience because the Canadian Parliament has developed far better than the Bosnian Parliament. We have a lot to learn about the parliamentary democracy from Canada”, Zivkovic said.

According to him, a new issue has been initiated – the issue if restrictive visa regime towards the Bosnian citizens.

”We have found out that Canada has a special visa regime, not only towards the Bosnian citizens, but also towards all other countries in the world. However, it is encouraging that we will soon sign SAA and that will probably mean visa regime facilitation with the EU and with Canada as well”, Zivkovic said.

Programs of assistance Bosnia has received from Canada were also considered. It has been concluded that Canada can be of significant help to Bosnia.

Zivkovic emphasized that Canada is a global leader in the sector and that it has and will continue helping BiH.

”We talked about where Bosnia is on the road to the EU. We also talked about the problems this country has faced with and about the problems that await. We agreed that the direction has been made precise and that the only issue is the issue of speed which is very important”, Zivkovic said.

The Canadian Parliamentary Speaker Peter Milliken expressed pleasure with yesterday’s meeting during which he was informed about Bosnia’s progress and functioning of the Bosnian legislative organs.

He reminded that Canada has been in many ways included into the process of cooperation with Bosnia, starting with the arrival of their troops to Bosnia in peace missions. He added that Canada will continue helping Bosnia’s development, whether it is the sector of small or medium enterprises, or on a global scale.
.

BOSNIA TO ESTABLISH ANTI-CORRUPTION POLICE AGENCY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - According to some unofficial sources, the Bosnian Ministry of Security has initiated preparations to legislate a special national agency for fighting corruption.

The initiative has been around for some time, but only recently did a green light come from the Office of the International Community's High Representative. in Bosnia (OHR).

A bill has reportedly already been drawn up by the Bosnian Ministry of Security. The future agency would answer to the Bosnian State Parliament.
.

BOSNIA TO ABOLISH 50% OF CUSTOM DUTIES CHARGED ON PRODUCTS IMPORTED FROM EU

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - Temporary agreement between Bosnia and the EU will come into force either in June or July depending on the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in April or May.

When temporary trade agreement between Bosnia and the European Union comes into force, the country will lose about 50% of customs duties charged on products imported from the EU countries, confirmed Dragiša Mekić, the chief of the working group for free movement of goods in Bosnia to the team negotiating on the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). Mekić pointed out that the temporary agreement will come into force right after signing the SAA between Bosnia and the EU.

"When negotiating on the Stabilization and Association Agreement, we wanted to protect the most sensitive products such as meat and milk until the very accession to the EU. This is what we got, but in return we had to abolish customs duties for about 50% of the products we import from the EU, decreasing revenues from the customs duties by 50%. The good thing is that the customs duties will be abolished for production material and raw material which our economy needs," Mekić explained.

The temporary agreement between Bosnia and the EU will come into force either in June or in July depending on the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in April or May. The temporary agreement is a part of the SAA, and refers to trade and transport. The agreement will be in force two to three years, the period needed to ratify the SAA between Bosnia and the EU in the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the 27 EU member countries.
.

CZECH REPUBLIC OFFERS JOBS TO BOSNIAN WORKERS

PRAGUE, The Czech Republic (April 23,2008) - The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) continues with the successful Pilot Project on the “Selection of Qualified Foreign Workers” in Bosnia.

The aim of the project is to open opportunities for qualified candidates who meet the eligibility criteria, i.e. who found employment in the Czech Republic, to attain permanent residence in the Czech Republic after two and a half years, instead of the current five.

Since 1st July 2007 a new category of highly qualified participants of the project has been introduced. It shall be opened for foreigners who are working in the Czech on posts which require university degree and matches their profession (education or working experience). Republic

Participants in this category are entitled to apply for permanent residence permit already after 1,5 years of participation in the project. This advantage will also apply to immediate family members.

Another important change in the project is also extension of the “grace period” for a search of a new job. For all project participants it has been extended from 30 to 45 days.

Participants who in the first year of the project lose their job through no fault of their own are entitled to a 45 day grace period during which they do not lose their visa and their residence permit is not revoked. The above mentioned grace period should serve as time during which participants search for another job in the Czech Republic.

In the course of following years of the pilot project the participants are given the grace period also if they lose their job for other reasons (formulated by the Czech law).

A new country has been involved in the project – India. The citizens of India, together with citizens of other project countries Bosnia, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine, after fulfilling set criteria, can obtain permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic in a shortened period of 2,5 years or in case of the new category already after 1,5 years.

The same opportunity belongs to graduates of Czech universities and secondary schools regardless their country of origin.

This Pilot Project has started in July 2003 and it has been established by The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since its inception, 1.002 candidates have applied to participate in the project.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo is the implementing partner responsible for informing the Bosnian public about the project.
.

CROATIA AND SERBIA OWE BOSNIA 4,5 BILLION EUROS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - Several Bosnian government officials, helmed by the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic met yesterday with a delegation of the Council of Europe Secretariat’s Monitoring Team led by Jean Louis Laurens.

President Silajdzic told them how Bosnia was encouraged to proceed with her efforts towards NATO membership in the recent summit of the Alliance. Also, he said that, despite all the obstacles and difficulties, Bosnia is making progress.

The recently adopted police reform laws are expected to open the door to the SAA signing, and after that to constitutional reform, Silajdzic said.

Situation in the region was also discussed, when Silajdzic asserted that Bosnia lacks the capacity to protect her interests in bilateral relations, and that the fact could reflect on security in the region. The Bosnian President accused neighbouring Serbia and Croatia for using Bosnia’s natural resources without paying for them. Croatia and Serbia owe Bosnia around EUR 4.5 billion so far, he said.
.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BOSNIA TO SIGN SAA WITH EU IN MAY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj has started consultations with the European Commission’s high officials to pressure Slovenian Presidency over the EU to fulfil the promise that Bosnia will sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) after adoption of the police reform laws.During his two-day visit to Brussels, Minister Alkalaj met with the majority of the high European Commission’s officials – Michael Leigh (Head of the Expansion Direction), Michael Giffoni (Political Director for the West Balkans), Javier Solana (EU’s High Commissioner for Foreign Policy), Manuel Barosso (President of the European Commission) and others.

Alkalaj told Bosnian media that he talked to the EU high officials about signing of SAA April 29 or on some other date.

He made clear that because of the quantity of tasks that are to be performed (translation of 1.300 pages into 22 languages is one of them), signing of the Agreement may not take place on April 29 as planned. He emphasized, however, that the European commission is strongly engaged and determined to bring the job to the end.

Alkalaj expects that Bosnia will sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union in May.
.

SAUDI BUSINESS DELEGATION TO VISIT BOSNIA

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (April 22,2008) – A 30-member delegation of Saudi businessmen will visit Bosnia in early May to explore the prospects of establishing business and trade relations between the two countries.

The delegation, organized by Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, will also travel to Turkey, according to Dr. Ghassan Ahmed Al-Sulaiman, president of Ghassan Ahmed Al-Sulaiman Development Co. Ltd. and former chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the chairman of the Saudi-Turkish Business Council, who is traveling with the group.

"This is the first trip organized by a Saudi chamber to Bosnia and will be an exploratory one because most of the delegates have not visited Bosnia before," Al-Sulaiman, said.

"I hope the businessmen will succeed in promoting trade and investment with that country," he said.

The delegation is expected to meet the Bosnian President Dr. Haris Silajdzic, who visited Saudi Arabia for the Jeddah Economic Forum in February this year. "We were impressed by his speech, which he gave in Arabic, and we will make it a point to meet him during our visit as it is part of our program," Al-Sulaiman said.

"Bosnia is a beautiful country. It is not far away. A direct flight from here may take four hours. Though it is a European country, it is not far from Saudi Arabia," he added.

He said Bosnia has tremendous potential as a tourist destination and in addition has very strong attractive tourist destinations nearby.

Close by is Croatia which has some beautiful beaches and also Montenegro.

"There is a possibility that Bosnia will attract Saudi tourists once they come to know that country," he said.

"This trip, from May 4 to May 8, is meant to explore only Bosnia. No Saudi businessman will actually invest in Bosnia if he does not know the country. The first step is to see the country and explore it, and hopefully they (businessmen) will like the country. And once they like the country they will look at business, investment and trade opportunities," Al-Sulaiman said.

"The purpose of this visit is to see and study the potential of that country and I hope this will be first of many visits to follow in future," he said.

He added "Bosnia is a Muslim country and it needs the support of all Arab countries. Still, lots of people have a misconception that Bosnia is in the midst of a war, although the war ended more than 10 years ago."

According to him, the bilateral trade is negligible. Even if Saudis invest in Bosnia, it is still early to talk of building strong economic relations between the two countries.
.

BOSNIAN STATE PROSECUTOR ASKS FOR LONG-TERM IMPRISONMENT OF SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MILOS RADIC AND MIRKO TODOROVIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) – Following the testimony of the indictees, the Bosnian State Prosecutor in his final statement has asked yesterday for long-term imprisonment of Serbian war criminals Milos Radic and Mirko Todorovic.

Serbian war criminal Milos Radic, accused of shooting 14 Bosnian civilians in Borkovac, Bratunac municipality, claims that he was forced to watch the mass-murder of these Bosnian civilians in May 1992.

The presenting of evidence against Serbian war criminals Milos Radic and Mirko Todorovi was concluded by Radic's account and the Prosecution has called for the Bosnian State Court to convict them.

Serbian war criminals Milos Radic and Mirko Todorovic are charged with participating in the detention and shooting of 14 Bosnian civilians in Borkovac on May 20, 1992,in the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia. Eight Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor and the rest of them survived and some gave their testimony at the Bosnian State Court during this trial.

Witnesses who survived claimed that they were taken to the shooting by Serbian war criminal Milos Radic,who stated that he was forced and taken by unknown soldiers to participate in the shooting.

Adnan Gulamovic, the Bosnian State Prosecutor presenting his final statement, pointed out that they had presented enough evidence for the Court Chamber to convict Serbian war criminals Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic.

“On May 20 1992 the indictees acted in the group with other four Serbian soldiers and each of them has played by its own rule. They know that detention and taking away have only one aim – the liquidation of detained Bosnians," Gulamovic stated, adding that the indictees “provided no help to civilians, they even participated in those acts.”

The Bosnian State Prosecutor also said that the claim given by the Defence team that the genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers had forced the indictees to be there is irrelevant considering the testimony given by Serbian war criminal Milos Todorovic.

“They didn’t make an effective move to try to save those people, they did not state they were specifically against doing that, nor did they move from the shooting place. For all that time they cooperated with Serbian soldiers, and that was what they wanted because they were sharing the common aims," the Bosnian State Prosecutor said.

At the end, he proposed that the Bosnian State Court proclaim them guilty, considering that there is no mitigating circumstances, while there is “whole chain” of aggravating ones, like the number of victims, the circumstances under which they were killed, as well as the consequences this event left on their families.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor believes that a long-term prison punishment will provide “spiritual peace for the victims.”
.

1200 BOSNIAN STATE EMPLOYEES UNDERWENT TRAINING ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATIONS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) – One year training project on the European integrations financed by the European Union enabled 1.200 Bosnian state employees to implement the activities related to the EU integrations processes.

As a part of this project, worth 500.000 Euros, 38 three-day courses were held.At the project’s closing conference, which was held yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, methodology and achievements of the project were presented as well as the key conclusions for future trainings and courses.

The main goal of the project, was to offer the attendees the basic knowledge on the EU, its institutions, policies and on the current political situation in Bosnia, as well as about the EU integrations processes and the role of state institutions and administration in the processes, as well as on legal alignment and EU support.

”Almost every state official in Bosnia has undergone at least one course of the European integrations”, jakob Finci, Head of the Bosnian State Administration Agency said.

He emphasized that this is only the beginning, keeping in mind that the European integrations are a very comprehensive material. There are over 80.000 pages of regulations.

That is why the intention is that the Bosnian state employees are made completely ready for the association with the EU, once Bosnia fulfils all the conditions, Finci said.

Head of the European Commission’s Operative Sector in Bosnia Ferdinand Kopp stated that this project, which had started in April 2007, has proven to be very successful. He emphasized the importance of enabling state servants for activities in the European integrations processes.

Although this project focused solely on the European integrations, Kopp stated that in future, foreign language courses will be organized together with other necessary issues for the Bosnian state employees.

As stated, a high degree of participation in the training was made in the process. The Bosnian State Administration Agency has proven that it is capable of organizing some more demanding training programs.

Apart from this agency, entity and Brcko District agencies for administration were users of this project. The East West Consulting Company realized this project.
.

"SARAJEVO 1878 - 1918" AND "CONTEMPORARY BOSNIAN ART" EXHIBITIONS OPEN IN VIENNA

VIENNA, Austria (April 22,2008) – Exhibitions “Sarajevo 1878 – 1918” and “Contemporary Bosnian Art – Remake” were presented yesterday in the Austrian capital Vienna at the “Palffy” palace. ”

”Today, Sarajevo begins its guest visit to Vienna by the return cultural event “Sarajevo in Vienna”. A year ago, Vienna prepared for Sarajevo a unique cultural and artistic event. Vienna in Sarajevo Manifestation was seen as a recognition and an expression of will that such a big and prominent city such is Vienna wants Sarajevo as its institutional partner. We are happy about that and it makes us proud. It also obliges us to strengthen our partner relationship”, Predrag Mitrovic, Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo said at opening of the exhibition at the Palffy Palace.

He emphasized that citizens of Vienna will be able to, starting today until May 4, attend a series of cultural events City of Sarajevo has prepared.

He called the citizens of Vienna to visit the events as much as they can, prepared as a part of the Sarajevo in Vienna cultural event.

Mayor of Sarajevo Semiha Borovac attended the opening and she welcomed the guests present. She also called all the guests present to visit all the cultural events.

The “Sarajevo 1878 – 1918” exhibition is a replica of an old museum exhibit in Sarajevo. It presents the period of Austro-Hungary with all the changes this monarchy had brought about into the City of Sarajevo.

The contemporary art exhibition is a collection of works by Sarajevo artists which treats the phenomenon of the use of different materials which are not commonly use din art. That is one of the most legitimate precedents in the modern art.

Exhibitions will be open until May 4.
.

INTERNATIONAL SLAVIC LIBRARIANS MEETING OPENS IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) – The 4th International Fair of Slavic Librarians opened yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo under the title “Librarian paths: The Next Generation”. It closes on April 24.

This four day gathering held every year within International Book Fair has a purpose of experience exchange between Bosnian and foreign librarians. About 70 librarians shall participate, mainly from Bosnia, Slovenia, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.

Organization board member and American historian Robert Donia opened the event stating that efforts of librarians surpass all limits with the belief that answers to all challenges must dealt with internationally.

He expects from this year’s event to result with better knowledge and development in human informal relations based on mutual interests. The goal is better understanding of mutual problems and finding adequate solutions.

The event shall be held in sessions in which participants will present their works, pointing out on the existing problems and obstacles.

It was planned for participants to visit the Bosnian Jewish Museum, the Zenica City Museum and the town of Vranduk and to participate at the opening of 20th International Book Fair on April 23 in Sarajevo.
.

11 PER CENT MORE INTERNET USERS IN BOSNIA IN 2007

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) - According to an estimate by the Bosnian State Regulatory Agency for Communication (RAK), there were 1,055,000 internet users in Bosnia last year, or 11 per cent more than the year before.

There were 273,752 registered internet subscribers in the country in 2007. Dial-up internet access still prevails with 69 per cent share, followed by broadband access (31 per cent).
.

TURKISH BUSINESS GROUP TO INVEST IN BOSNIAN FOOD AND TEXTILE INDUSTRY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 22,2008) - Nedžad Branković, the Prime Minister of the FBIH entity, the FBIH entity Minister of Displaced Persons and Refugees Edin Mušić, the FBIH entity Minister of Trade Desnica Radivojević and the Director of the Privatization Agency Enes Ganić, met yesterday in Sarajevo with the Delegation of Turkish businessmen of PER-DER Group.

The Group gathers 205 companies in different line of business, has 25,000 employees and annual revenue of 4.5 billion USD. The Turkish businessmen are interested in long-term investment in production capacities for items intended for the European market, building of department stores and shopping malls in Bosnia.
.

Monday, April 21, 2008

BOSNIA AND PAKISTAN TO SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 21,2008) – The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić met with Jauhar Saleem, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Bosnia.During the meeting, the Ambassador of Pakistan was interested in the current phase of the Free Trade Agreement between Bosnia and Pakistan, which would enhance the economic cooperation between the two countries.

President Silajdžić assured him that he would make efforts to see the Bosnian Council of Ministers submitting the mentioned Agreement for adoption in accordance with the set procedure to the Bosnian State Presidency as soon as possible.

During the meeting, the Pakistan Ambassador also reminded about the request to designate a construction location for the Pakistan Embassy building to Bosnia, which was submitted to the competent institutions back in 1994, with a reciprocity condition and an obligation for Pakistan to ensure a construction location for the Bosnian Embassy in Pakistan.

He also said Pakistan supported the progress of Bosnia toward the European Union and that the European Union was the greatest partner for Pakistan in economic cooperation; trough integration, Bosnia and Pakistan could intensify cooperation in the economic field.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić received an invitation to visit the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which he gladly accepted.
.

BOSNIAN STATE PROSECUTOR HAS FILED AN INDICTMENT AGAINST SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS VELJKO BASIC,PREDRAG BASTAH AND GORAN VISKOVIC

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 21,2008) – The Bosnian State Prosecutor has filed an indictment against Serbian war criminals Veljko Basic, Predrag Bastah and Goran Viskovic, who are charged with crimes against humanity committed in the Vlasenica municipality in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The indictment was submitted to the Bosnian State Court confirmation.

The indictment alleges that, from April to late September 1992 Serbian war criminals Basic, Bastah and Viskovic, knowing that a broad and systematic attack was conducted by the Serbian aggressor's forces, persecuted Bosnian civilians in the eastern Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that they participated in murders, unlawful detention, mental and sexual abuse, forcible disappearances and torture.

Serbian war criminal Predrag Bastah murdered three Bosnian civilians in the vicinity of Susica concentration camp in early June 1992.

Serbian war criminal Goran Viskovic participated, together with Bastah, in the murder of four Bosnian civilians on June 12, 1992 and he together with four other Serbian war criminals raped one Bosnian woman.

The indictment further alleges that Serbian war criminals Basic, Bastah and Viskovic were members of a joint criminal enterprise, with the aim of committing murder, detention, mental and sexual abuse, forcible disappearance and torture.

The indictees have been held under custody since January 28 this year, when the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) arrested them in Bosnia.
.

FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN BOSNIA FOR 2007 WERE ABOUT 2.9 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 21,2008) – The Bosnian Central Bank Governor, Kemal Kozaric stated that in Bosnia in 2007 the foreign investments in the last year amounted to 2.9 billion Bosnian Marks.

At the press conference in the bosnian capital Sarajevo, Governor Kozaric stated that the reason for this significant inflow of foreign investments was due to realization of large financial agreements.
.

SDP INITIATES SIGNING OF PETITION AGAINST THE INCREASE OF BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT DELEGATES' SALARIES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 21,2008) – The Bosnian Social Democratic Party (SDP BIH) initiated at all regional centres in Bosnia the signing of a petition “Stop Increasing Salaries and Pensions to the Politicians”. The petition has been initiated after adoption “in the first reading” of the Law on Delegates’ Salaries at the Bosnian Parliament.

At the same time, SDP party activists are distributing fliers with pictures and names of all the delegates who voted for the law. The fliers read: “Winners of the Golden Shovel – Medal of Honour for Pillaging of People with Shovels”.

The SDP President Zlatko Lagumdzija stated on Friday at a press conference held at a petition signing stand near the Eternal Flame in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that the Law on Delegates’ Salaries is “to put it in the mildest way immoral”. It foresees incomes for the delegates in the amount of 7.000 Bosnian Marks per month per a delegate. That is only an introduction to the law on pensions and special privileges of the delegates who would have pensions in the amount higher than 3.500 Bosnian Marks, “only for having sat at parliament for two years”.

The SDP announced that the citizens’ signatures will be submitted to the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly for the prupose of stopping the delegates in “unscrupulous, shameful intention of doing something Switzerland would not do”.

”If they ignore the petition, SDP will call the citizens to assemble in front of the Parliament and tell them what they think” Lagumdzija said.

Lagumdzija added that he does not receive the salary in Parliament. He leaves it to the state Budget, but one example is not enough.

SDP Secretary General Nermin Niksic stated that citizens are signing the petition; crowds formed at the Eternal Flame stand.

The Party’s Headquarters expect the reports from cantonal and regional boards which will be made available to the public.

Niksic announced that the action will last at last until the end of April and that he expects that the delegates will do something for the sake of citizens, not only for their own sakes.
.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

GREEK TERRORISTS ATTACKED BOSNIAN EMBASSY IN ATHENS

ATHENS, Greece (April 19,2008) - The Bosnian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned yesterday an attack on the vehicle of the Bosnian Ambassador to Greece early yesterday morning.

"The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry strongly condemns this act of terrorism," the Ministry said in a statement.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry said it sent a diplomatic note to the Greek government requesting better protection for the building and personnel of the Bosnian embassy in Athens.

The personal car of Bosnian Ambassador to Greece, according to statement, was completely destroyed in the attack in front of the Ambassador's Athens residence.

Greek terrorists claimed responsibility for bombing two diplomatic cars belonging to the embassies of Turkey and Bosnia on Friday, causing extensive damage but no injuries, reports said.

An unknown person rang saying he was from the left-wing Greek terrorist group "Anti-Democratic Struggle" and claimed responsibility for yesterday's attack, the third this week.

Two cars belonging to the Saudi embassy were also set on fire using homemade gas canisters in separate incidents earlier this week.

The little known Greek left-wing terrorist group "Anti-Democratic Struggle" claimed responsibility for one of the attacks while another Greek terrorist group, "Subversive Cell", claimed responsibility for the second.
.

BOSNIA BEGINS CONSULTATIONS ON SIGNING OF STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT WITH EUROPEAN UNION

BRUSSELS, Belgium (April 19,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj has started consultations with the European Commission’s high officials, for the purpose of pressuring Slovenian Presidency over the EU to fulfil the previous promises that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) will be signed after adoption of packages on police reform.

After the first short meeting with European commissioner for Expansion Olli Rehn, positions of the two sides have not changed – Bosnia insists on fulfilment of the previous EU promises that SAA will be signed by the end of April if the reform laws, as the main condition, are adopted during this month. On the other hand, the EU still negates the possibility of a fast singing of SAA with Bosnia and does not want to make any precisions about the date of signing of the Agreement.

During his two-day visit to the EU, on Thursday and Friday Minister Alkalaj met with most of the chief operatives of the European Commission in charge of Bosnia and the Balkan region – Head of the Direction for Expansion Michael Leigh, Political Director for the West Balkan Michael Giffoni and others.

This meeting was aimed to clarify the alleged technical obstacles that have arisen on the way to Bosnia’s signing of SAA, after adoption of the police reform laws.

Although Bosnia has several times officially confirmed that texts of the SAA and of the Temporary Trade Agreement have been translated by experts to 22 EU official languages and have also been submitted in early April to the European Commission’s expert services and member countries, the EU still claims that Bosnia’s several months-long hesitation has jeopardized the regular technical procedure for signing of the Agreement.

For the reasons stated, the unofficial sources have confirmed that the main obstacles are legal experts, in charge of legal interpretations of the international agreements.

If that proves to be right, Alkalaj will, the sources close to his cabinet confirmed, insist at the European Commission and Javier Solana, that the agreement is signed in one of the “languages of the EU acceptable to all”. Legal and linguistic issues will further be discussed until the agreement is ratified.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikоlа Spiric had a phone conversation on Thursday with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa on Bosnia’s European perspectives. Spiric told Jansa via phone about ongoing reforms in Bosnia aimed to obtain the country’s progress in the European integration processes.

In that context, he emphasized that the Bosnian Parliament's House of Peoples adopted the police reform laws which means that the last condition for Bosnia’s signing of SAAwith the EU has been fulfilled.

Spiric asked for the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s support for signing the SAA between Bosnia and the EU, for Slovenia is currently presiding the EU.

Jansa congratulated for the progress Bosnia has made in the European integrations processes. He promised to do all in his power to make sure the SAA between Bosnia and the EU is signed as soon as possible.
.

U.S. SUPPORTS BOSNIA'S MEMBERSHIP TO NATO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 19,2008) – U.S. Embassy’s Head of Office in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka Heidi Jovanovic stated yesterday that the US strongly supports Bosnia on its road to NATO and will continue supporting the country in every way in the NATO association processes.

She emphasized that the decision made by NATO at the Bucharest Summit to ask Bosnia to enter the Intensive dialogue Phase followed fast after the Association to Partnership for Peace, which is a clear sign that NATO is highly appreciative of Bosnia.

She emphasized that members of the alliance want to deepen cooperation and partnership with Bosnia and that the decision on Bosnia’s Intensive Dialogue phase is mostly a result of successful implementation of the Bosnian defence reform.

”Although the reform has not ended, results achieved so far are nothing less than extraordinary”, she emphasized and added that defence reform success is a proof that leaders at the entity and state level can make real changes by passing such decisions and by finding compromise, which will make Bosnia move forward.

Those changes will strengthen Bosnia’s position in the Euro-Atlantic processes, for the benefit of all Bosnian citizens, she emphasized at last night’s reception for representatives of BiH political life organized by the US Embassy’s Office in Banja Luka, on the occasion of NATO’s decision to ask Bosnia to start the Intensive Dialogue phase.
.

BOSNIAN CENTRAL BANK PRESENTED FINANCIAL REPORT FOR 2007

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 19,2008) - In 2007, the Bosnian Central Bank has achieved record results.According to the financial results, the Bosnian Central Bank ended 2007 with foreign reserves amounting to 6,7 billion Bosnian Marks, representing the increase of more than 1,2 billion Bosnian Marks, or of 22,9% in comparison with 2006. Net free reserves as of December 31, 2007, amounted to 393,7 million Bosnian Marks,the Bosnian Central Bank said yesterday.

In the last year, the Bosnian Central Bank also achieved the largest profit recorded so far in the amount of 142,6 million Bosnian Marks, of which 59,9 million Bosnian Marks was transferred to the Bosnian state budget at the beginning of April 2008.

In accordance with international standards, analyses were performed within the Bosnian Central Bank Financial Reports, which show exposure and sensibility to market risks.

The analyses have shown that the Bosnian Central Bank has satisfying liquidity, which means that Bank’s liabilities are adequately covered with liquid assets.

Analyses also show that the bank was not exposed to larger market risks during the process of investment of foreign reserves, such as exchange rate related risks, interest fluctuations risks or credit risk, the Bosnian Central Bank said.

Positive operations of the CBBH were also confirmed by the external auditing company Deloitte, stressing that the Bosnian Central Bank Financial Statements for 2007 were reliable and accurate.

As the fiscal agent to the state, the Bosnian Central Bank has regularly serviced foreign obligations which amounted to 3,9 billion Bosnian Marks at the end of 2007. The total amount of foreign debt has reduced by 167,2 million Bosnian Marks, or by 4,1% compared to 2006.

The year ended with the Decision of the CBBH Governing Board on increase of reserve requirement rate for commercial banks from 15% to 18%, in order to slow credit growth. This Decision is implemented from the beginning of this year.

During 2007, a rapid increase of FDI inflow in Bosnia was recorded. In accordance with the Bosnian Central bank estimates, FDI in 2007 amounted to close to 2,9 billion Bosnian Marks. The reason for such significant inflow of FDIs was realization of the large privatization agreements during 2007.

The year was also marked by several negative economic indicators – 4,9% inflation at the annual level, measured in December 2007 in comparison with December 2006, followed by stopping of downward trend of interest rates in Bosnia, as well as, worsened Balance of Payments position.

Foreign trade imbalance still represents one of weaknesses of the Bosnian economy, considering the level of the current account deficit, which is present for several years already. This is the consequence of transition which Bosnia is passing through, but also of the external factors, on which Bosnia cannot influence.

General increase of the current account deficit in Bosnia is the consequence of the large increase of foreign trade deficit in 2007 and, in essence, 8 billion Bosnian Marks foreign trade deficit can be easily identified as the main cause of the current account imbalance. Reasons for worsening of the foreign trade deficit are large increase of imports in some branches, as well as, in the general increase of goods prices.
.