Saturday, April 26, 2008


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.

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