Wednesday, April 30, 2008


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.

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