Thursday, October 30, 2008

ZUKIC: OHR IS OBLIGED TO IMPLEMENT THE CIVILIAN COMPONENT OF THE ANNEX 7

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 30,2008) - The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) is obliged to implement the civilian component of the Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement which is the return process, stated at the press conference,the President of the Boanian association of refugees, displaced persons and returnees, Mirhunisa Zukic.

Zukic also stated that the political factor was the limit and that it did not allow for the process to complete.

"Current strategy for the implementation of Annex 7 clearly stated the carriers of the return process and gave responsibilities, which are state ministry and local government. However, neither one nor the other do their jobs because we have a lot of political influence and people in local communities come from political parties and that is why we have ethnically ecclusive areas”, stated Zukic.

Many municipal mayor do not know that people have returned nor have any care for them, stated Zukic and added that one of the biggest problems is to secure sustainable return and employment for returnees.

Bosnia has 43.000 families waiting for reconstruction of their homes, 2.550 families, or about 7.000 Bosnian citizens live in collective and alternative placements, 2.750 returnees’ households live without electric energy and only 1% of returnees are employed in public management.
.

326 PEOPLE KILLED ON BOSNIAN ROADS IN NINE MONTHS OF 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 30,2008) - In nine months of 2008 in traffic accidents 326 people were killed in Bosnia, while 9.075 persons sustained severe or minor injuries.

On Bosnian roads in the period January-September there were 30.510 traffic accidents out of which 24.159 with material damage.

Each day, about 111 accidents occur, out of which 23 accidents have deadly outcome or people sustaining severe or minor injuries.
.

EU TO INVEST 300 MILLION EUROS IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 30,2008) - The European Union has clear intentions to invest more money through European banks into various projects in Bosnia, including capital infrastructure projects, Head of the EC Delegation to Bosnia Dimitris Kourkoulas confirmed yesterday.

"We know that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank have rather large funds available to invest in Bosnia and infrastructural projects", he said.

To be further added to this are 300 million Euros earmarked for Bosnia through pre-accession assistance, Kourkoulas pointed out. He also confirmed that a strategy is being drafted for the future international engagement in Bosnia.
.

SEVERAL FOREIGN COMPANIES INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN OIL EXPLORATION IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 30,2008) - Five very serious offers have arrived to Bosnia's largest energy company Energoinvest’s call for expression of interest in gas and oil exploration in Bosnia, the company’s assistant general manager Ibrahim Bosto has confirmed.

The companies that have submitted offers include Houston Transglobal Petroleum, Canadian Longview Capital Partners (more precisely, their company Seed Rock), Dutch Delta Hydrocarbons, Hungarian Mol and Croatian Ina.

During the call period, several other companies were making enquiries, which means even more offers could arrive once an international tender is announced (by the end of 2008), Bosto said, adding that Longview Capital Partners seem the most eager for now.

The company has recently sent a delegation to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, announcing readiness to invest up to 100 million US Dollars in the final stage of exploration alone. The other offers are close to that, ranging between 80 and 100 million US Dollars.
.

BOSNIA AND JORDAN SIGNED AGREEMENT ON COOPERATION IN TOURISM

AMMAN, Jordan (October 30,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade Mladen Zirojevic and Jordan’s Tourism Minister Maha Al Khatib signed an agreement in Amman,Jordan, yesterday about cooperation in tourism.

The agreement aims to expand and strengthen cooperation between two countries in this area, and identify those issues that a are a burden on bilateral cooperation. Minister Zirojevic also presented Bosnia’s tourism potential to his Jordanian hosts.
.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KUWAIT: PRESIDENT SILAJDZIC MET WITH EMIR SHEIKH AL SABAH

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (October 29,2008) - The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić is visiting Kuwait.The aim of the visit id continuing cooperation between the two countries, notably in the area of economy.President Silajdžić met yesterday with the Emir of Kuwait Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.They talked about the ways of improvement of political and economic cooperation between Kuwait and Bosnia.

The delegation which accompanied Chairman Silajdžić to Kuwait comprised CEOs from following Bosnian companies : Faruk Širbegović, (the Širbegović company), Elvedin Borovina, (Hidrogradnja), Amer Bukvić, (BBI bank), Hamed Ramić, (Euroasphalt), and Medaga Hodžić (BH 4 d.o.o. Jajce).

President Silajdžić also attended the opening of „the International conference on cultural dialogue“, was held under the patronage of Kuwait Emir Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and organized by the Babtain Foundation.

This foundation is a unique international organization, which implements a dozen programs of global character related to culture and dialogue between peoples and religions. Apart from yhe Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić, Libyan Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, officials from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, France, Algeria, the USA, the Sudan, the UK, Saudi Arabia and other countries also attended the ceremony.

The occasion for holding the conference, as was mentioned at the opening, is publishing the only encyclopedia of the poetry in the world, „ the Babtain encyclopedia of Arabic poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries“. The encyclopedia, published after eleven years of work, including 560 world renowned experts, contains biographies of poets and 8000 selected poems depicting a dialogue of different cultures and civilisations.

In his address, Abdulaziz Saud Al Babtain, Chairman of the Babtain foundation, said that Kuwait was a geographically small country, but thanks to abundant, selfless cultural funds Kuwait has long since transcended its geographical boundaries.

According to Al Babtain, the culture gains prominency in the age of globalization because it builds bridges between the worlds, and the strength lies, as he put it, in the variety of cultures, in the function of bringing the worlds together because understanding between peoples through culture contributes to the peace.

The Babtain foundation finances students who study Arabic language from every continent, presenting annual rewards for contribution in the area of culture and strengthening multicultural and multireligious cooperation and tolerance and has departments on dozen universities in Europe and the USA. Also, the foundation boasts a unique library containing half a million books from various genres of the literature written throughout centuries.
.

BOSNIA AND KUWAIT SIGNED DOUBLE TAXATION AVOIDANCE AGREEMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia's Deputy Finance Minister Fuad Kasumovic and Kuwait’s Deputy Finance Minister Khalifa M. Hamada signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in Kuwait yesterday, referring to income and property.

This is the first such agreement signed by Kuwait, and it is expected to further economic relations between the two countries, from investments to exchange of technologies, trade, transport and science.

Kasumovic invited local entrepreneurs to take a more active role in the economic development of Bosnia. A Bosnian business delegation is currently in Kuwait.
.

DOCUMENT FOR STRENGTHENING OF INTER-CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING IN BOSNIA SIGNED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Representatives of Bosnia, UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF signed yesterday a joint program document on understanding related to the strengthening of inter-cultural understanding in Bosnia.

The project has a budget of 8 million US Dollars, secured by Spain and it will secure improvement of legislative in the culture segment.

The support to Bosnia will be in segments of culture,industry, tourism, education, and tolerance, protection of cultural heritage and usage of cultural development potentials.

The document was signed by the Bosnian Minister of Civil Affairs Sredoje Novic, UNDP resident representative Christine McNab, UNESCO director, Engelbert Rouss, UNICEF resident representative June Kunigi and deputy representative of UNDP in Bosnia, Armin Sirco.

UNDP resident representative Christine McNab stated that culture in Bosnia was often used as a means of separation and division between Bosnian citizens and expressed hope that this document will contribute in getting the communities in Bosnia closer to one another.

This document is realized with the help from three UN agencies in close cooperation with the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs, entity ministries of culture and education and other institutions dealing with this segment.

The program shall last three years and it is funded by Spain within realization of the Millennium Goals in culture and development.
.

EUFOR TO STAY IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - The German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday that the EU's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia (EUFOR) should remain in place.

"There is a link between the OHR (the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia) and EUFOR," Jung told reporters.

"One cannot say that the task of EUFOR is achieved until the one of OHR is completed," he said after meeting with members of the Bosnian State Presidency.

Earlier this month EU defence ministers backed a plan to phase out the bloc's peacekeeping operation in Bosnia but set no date for doing so. EUFOR currently has 2,100 troops deployed in the country.

The High Representative is supervising civil aspects of the 1995 peace agreement that ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The post was due to be phased out in 2007 and replaced with an EU representative.

However, the mandate was extended for an unspecified period because of political instability and the failure of politicians in Bosnia to pass reforms required by Brussels.
.

BOSNIA FACES ECONOMIC CRISIS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia’s business environment “seriously legs behind” both other southeastern European countries and the European Union, finds the latest World Economic Forum report and this is likely to get worse.

The report analyses the business environment and financial environment in 16 European and central Asian countries, and compares their performance with European Union countries and EU-accession requirements.

According to analysts and economists, these results spell trouble for Bosnia, which has already been suffering from the first symptoms of the spreading global recession.

Two weeks ago, a sudden increase in deposit withdrawals – caused by panic among the population – caught several Bosnian commercial banks as well as country’s Central Bank by surprise.

The Bosnian Central Bank reacted swiftly, reducing obligatory cash reserves for banks from 18 to 14 percent, which improved the banks’ liquidity. In addition, Bosnia’s state government has proposed to parliament an urgent law which would increase state guarantees on deposits from 5,000 Bosnian Marks (2,500 Euros) to 20,000 Bosnian Marks (10,000 Euros).

Yet all economists agree that these moves ,however positive ,are not enough and that Bosnia's leaders,who have been caught in political deadlock for the past two years ,are still not aware of the seriousness of the crisis.

In addition to the disturbances in the banking sector and plummeting bourses, Bosnia’s industry is also facing trouble. Falling prices of iron and aluminum ,which make up a major part of Bosnia’s exports , threaten these industries and could also jeopardise the country’s mounting foreign trade deficit.

Economic experts agree that one of the key elements for combating the worsening global economic crisis would be for the Bosnian governments to swiftly improve business environment and attract foreign investments, which are already falling all over the region.

Yet according to the latest World Economic Forum indicators, Bosnia’s competitive index,at 3.12 points,is seriously legging behind the rest of the region, which is led by Croatia and Montenegro with 4.1 and 3.96 points respectably.

Such results give ground to assessments of some Bosnian economists and analysts who believe that the coming year will be extremely difficult for both Bosnian citizens and companies.
.

BOSNIA TO POST BUDGET SURPLUS IN 2008

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia expects to post a consolidated budget surplus in 2008 but will have to apply budgetary restrictions in 2009, Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric said yesterday.

"We don't have any indication of a budget deficit this year," said Spiric. "I expect that we shall have some unspent funds in the state budget this year as well."

The international financial agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have long called for the formation of the Bosnian national fiscal council to coordinate the regional fiscal policies.The fiscal council became operational in September, when it conducted its first session.

"We will have to conduct a restrictive budgetary policy at all levels in 2009 and the budget planning will have to be done within realistic resources and take into account all fiscal plans related to 2009," Spiric said.

The Bosnian state budget has seen some unspent funds in the past years due to restrictive law on public procurement.Spiric said he expected a similar situation this year as well, but failed to give any figures.
.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT'S UPPER HOUSE APPROVES EU PRE-MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 28,2008) - The upper house of the Bosnian State Parliament approved yesterday the going into force of a pre-membership agreement with the European Union (EU), paving the way for its EU membership.

The Bosnian State Parliament's House of People gave the consent for ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), signed in June by Bosnia and the European Union.The SAA was approved on Oct. 22 by the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Bosnian Parliament.

Under the Bosnian Constitution, the SAA has to be ratified by the Bosnian State Presidency as well.

The adoption of the SAA in the Bosnian State Parliament is a prerequisite for its ratification in EU countries.The SAA, if properly implemented, is regarded as the first rung on the long path towards the membership of the 27-member bloc.

Bosnia completed the SAA negotiations with the European Union in November2006 and the document was initialed last December.

The European Parliament in October adopted a resolution, calling on EU countries to ratify the SAA with Bosnia as soon as possible.
.

STEFAN FELLER APPOINTED THE NEW HEAD OF THE EU POLICE MISSION IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 28,2008) - Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), issued a statement today congratulating Brigadier-General Stefan Feller on his appointment as the new Head of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM).

Feller, who was until recently the Head of the "Conduct of Operations" Unit in the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) at the Council, succeeds Brigadier-General Vincenzo Coppola at EUPM on 1st November 2008:

"Mr Feller's excellent policing background, his international experience as Police Commissioner in the United Nations Mission in the Kosovo (UNMIK) and his responsibilities as Head of the "Conduct of Operations" Unit makes him most suitable for this position. He can count on my full support and that of the European Union as a whole in carrying out his new duties.

Through EUPM, the EU is making a key contribution to the establishment of a sustainable, professional and multiethnic police service in Bosnia and therefore to bringing Bosnia closer to the European Union. Hard work, patience and determination will be fundamental in fighting organised crime and establishing the rule of law, in accordance with the highest European and international standards.

I would like to express my gratitude to Brigadier-General Vincenzo Coppola for his dedication and work as Head of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia," Solana said.
.

ICTY REJECTS SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL RADOVAN KARADZIC'S COMPLAINTS

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (October 28,2008) - A new proposed indictment against former leader and creator of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "RS" and one of the masterminds of the genocide against the Bosnian people,Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic has been discussed at a status conference held at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Prosecutor Alan Tiger informed the Court that Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic has received most of the indictment-related documents, and the rest will be given to him by the end of this week. He also said that there is no document that will be unknown to the indictee.

The Hague prosecution submitted the new indictment against Serbian war criminal on September 23, but he received the translation only on October 27.

At a pre-trial hearing, Judge Iain Bonomy rejected Serbian war criminal's complaint that the process was going too fast.

The judge said the proceedings had gone virtually nowhere since the last hearing in July.

Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic has chosen to defend himself, but complained he had not yet assembled a legal team to advise him.

"I don't have the necessary resources, I don't have a defence team," Serbian fascist said.

"With the speed with which matters are proceeding... I am afraid that I will be in an even less equal position and I'd like you to be aware of that."

However, Judge Bonomy rejected his argument, saying it was because of his decision to run his own defence that he was not able to keep up.

"It's your own choice, as you know very well, that you should represent yourself and I'm afraid that carries particular problems which you have been told about repeatedly," the judge said.

Correspondents say the judge is anxious not to let Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic emulate the late Serbian fascist leader Slobodan Milosevic, who dragged his genocide trial out for four years before he died of a heart attack in 2006.

Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic was arrested in July this year after 13 years of hiding from justice. The Prosecution at The Hague considers him guilty of genocide, expulsions, deportation, and inhumane acts against Bosnian civilians committed during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
.

EBRD LENDS 180 MILLION EUROS FOR MAIN HIGHWAY IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 28,2008) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing in the largest infrastructure project in Bosnia to date by lending 180 million Euros to the state of Bosnia to construct key sections of the Trans-European Corridor Vc.

A key transport artery linking Bosnia with the rest of Europe, Corridor Vc starts in Budapest, Hungary and ends in the Adriatic Port of Ploce in Croatia. It runs north to south through the centre of Bosnia, and is the most strategically important link for regional trade and economic development.

The 180 million Euros EBRD finance is part of an overall 480 million Euros investment in the priority highway sections on Corridor Vc, which will be co-financed with the European Investment Bank. The priority sections include a 15.2 km section from Drivusa to Kakanj, 18.9km from Vlakovo to Tarcin, 21.4km from Pocitelj to southern border with Croatia and 10.9km from Odzak to the northern border with Croatia.

As part of the project, the EBRD is also providing institutional support to the recently established highway directorate (FBHMD) and for the development of subsequent sections of Corridor Vc using private finance.

Technical assistance is being provided by the donors of the EBRD-Western Balkans Fund* to the amount of 500,000 Euros for institutional support, 80,000 Euros by the Central European Initiative for preparation of a resettlement action plan and a 500,000 Euros by EU’s Infrastructure Preparation Facility for project implementation.

Signing the project, Peter Reiniger, EBRD’s Business Group Director for Central Europe and the southeastern Europe, said that as the largest infrastructure investment in Bosnia so far, Corridor Vc will play a key role not only in providing a financial boost to the development of the Bosnian economy, but it will also have significant impact on the region. As well as connecting towns and cities, the improved road infrastructure will support trade and development and make the country and the region more attractive for investment, Mr Reiniger added.

Dragan Vrankic, the Bosnian Minister of Finance and Treasury, said that the introduction of a fuel levy for highways, which already exists in some countries in the region, as a source of repayment, will not only enable debt to be serviced for this project, but also attract private investors for the construction of the remaining sections.

Sue Barrett, EBRD’s Director for Transport, emphasized the Bank’s continued commitment to supporting the development of the transport sector in Bosnia and noted the significant impact this latest road project will have on institutional reform and encouraging greater involvement of the private sector in improving the country’s road network.

Bozo Ljubic, the Bosnian Minister of Communications and Transport, emphasized that this project is a major step in Bosnia’s integration into the regional transport network and that it demonstrates the ability of Bosnia to embark upon large scale investments in the context of the EU accession.

To date, the Bank has invested more than 270 million Euros in the transport sector in Bosnia, including 23 million Euros for post-war emergency road repair in 1996, 70 million Euros for the construction of a key regional road network in 2004 and 75 million Euros for road maintenance and rehabilitation of a key primary road network in 2007.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Bosnia, having invested 779 million Euros in 70 projects in a number of important sectors, including national and municipal infrastructure, the financial sector and the private corporate sector, including small and medium size enterprises.
.

Monday, October 27, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT HARIS SILAJDZIC VISITS KUWAIT

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (October 27,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic
begins his two-day visit to Kuwait today.President Silajdzic will hold meetings with the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and with the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.

A delegation of the Bosnian businessmen, consisted of the directors of several Bosnian companies and banks: Džemal Vlahovljak (Energoinvest), Faruk Širbegović (Širbegović), Elvedin Borovina (Hidrogradnja), Amer Bukvić (BBI Banka), Hamed Ramić (Euroasfalt) and Medaga Hodžić (BH 4 d.o.o. Jajce), is accompanying the Bosnian President during his visit to Kuwait.

During the visit, the Bosnian delegation will meet with businessmen from Kuwait and discuss the possibilities for economic cooperation.

Also, the Bosnian Deputy Finance Minister Fuad Kasumovic will sign the agreement on the elimination of double taxation between Bosnia and Kuwait.
.

EU HALTS 50 MILLION EUROS IN PRE-ACCESSION PROJECTS FOR BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 27,2008) - The European Commission has halted projects for Bosnia worth 50 million Euros, until Bosnia cancels or refunds taxes on grants and donations.

The dispute was triggered after Bosnia on June 16 signed a key pre-membership deal,called the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, with the European Union which stipulates that the country should either cancel taxes on, or allow the swift refund of taxes collected on pre-accession funds, Zara Halilovic from the Bosnian Directorate for European Union Integration said.

Bosnia still has no legislation that would allow the tax exemption for donations and grants. For years this has been a stumbling block and the source of major frustration for many international organisations which were forced to pay taxes on any money they provided for Bosnia.

Local legislation does stipulate the possibility of refunding taxes paid on donations and grants but the procedure is lengthy and complicated. As a result, the European Commission has halted tenders for its pre-accession projects for Bosnia, worth some 50 million Euros, waiting for new legislation that would finally cancel taxes on grants and donations, Halilovic said.

The spokesman for the Bosnian State Tax Administration, Ratko Kovacevic, said his organisation is ready to propose new legislation that would exempt the taxation of such funds, yet it was uncertain if and when this would be discussed by its managing board.

Analysts believe that this technical obstacle reflects the indolence and sluggishness of local governments, which is jeopardising Bosnia’s EU accession process.

Only a small fraction of reforms ,previously agreed with the EC,has been initiated or implemented by Bosnia so far. The EC Implementation Report , which will be released in November,is expected to reflect Bosnia’s poor performance on its EU path.
.

REGIONAL MILITARY AND CIVILIAN EXERCISE "SEESIM 08" STARTED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 27,2008) - Regional military and civilian exercise SEESIM 08, 4th in the SEESIM series, started on Thursday and it will last till October 31st.The main control group of the exercise within the initiative of the ministries of defence of the countries of the southeastern Europe is placed at the Bulgarian national military training centre "Charalitsa" , the host of the exercise.

The exercise includes military and civilian institutions of the ministries of defence of the following southeastern European countries: Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy,Macedonia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

The following international organization will participate in the exercise: UN, OCHA (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - UN), IFRC (International Federation of Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies), NATO, EADRCC (Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre), EU MIC (EU Major Incident Centre), Stability Pact/DPPI and RACVIAC (Centre for Security Cooperation) and Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia will participate as spectators.

The southeastern European countries, participants in the exercise, will, with the constant communication on their territories, simulate natural or other disasters and make communication with the main control group of the exercise at the Bulgarian national military training centre "Charalitsa". The SE Europe Brigade headquarters (SEEBRIG) will be stationed at the Turkish crisis headquarters with the response cell.

The aim of the exercise is to stimulate national civilian/military agencies of the ministries of securities, ministries of defence and structures of civil protection in fulfilling important tasks of the nations participants and responsibilities in response on emergencies.
.

ANNUAL INFLATION RATE IN BOSNIA IN SEPTEMBER 8,7%

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 27,2008) - The Bosnian Statistics Agency has released information about the September 2008 prices being by average 8.7 per cent higher compared to September 2007.

The list of products whose prices changed the most in the past year differs from the list with showing monthly changes.

On the annual level, the biggest increase was reported in the segment of transport (14.8 per cent), followed by food and beverages (12.6 per cent), rental costs and utilities (12.4 per cent).
.

BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTS PROPOSAL FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH SLOVENIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 27,2008) - The Bosnian government adopted an agreement proposal for the economic cooperation between Bosnia and Slovenia, providing for a more intensified cooperation in 14 areas (agriculture, forestry, water supply, healthcare, education, pharmaceuticals, and so on).

The proposal has been written by the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, and the document is now on its way to the Bosnian State Presidency.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Spiric also announced about a government decision harmonizing the country’s visa policy with the one in the EU. Under that decision, the citizens of 66 countries of the world will be exempt from the visa requirement, if they plan to stay in Bosnia for up to 90 days.
.

AVERAGE GROSS SALARY IN BOSNIA IN AUGUST WAS 1,131 BOSNIAN MARKS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 27,2008) - The average gross salary paid in August in Bosnia was 1,131 Bosnian Marks (735 US Dollars), which was by 17.4 per cent higher compared to August 2007.

The latest official statistics also show that, compared to August 2007, the rate of its nominal growth was 17.3 per cent,Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje reports.

In the past year, the healthcare and social welfare sector saw the highest increase of salaries – by 33.9 index points.

According to the same source, the average net salary paid in Bosnia in August 2008 was 764 Bosnian Marks (496 US Dollars), showing a 12-per-cent nominal growth since December 2007.
.

Friday, October 24, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER ZELJKO KOMSIC DISCUSSED POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA WITH UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

NEW YORK, UNITED NATIONS (October 24,2008) - A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic met in New York with the UN general Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon and UN General Assembly president Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann.

Komsic informed Ban Ki-Moon on the current political situation and the region and pointed out that the situation in Bosnia is much better than some Bosnian politicians and representatives of the international community present.

The strategic interest of BiH is, Komsic said, for all countries in the region to be stable and become members of the EU since instability of one of the countries in the region means automatically the instability of the entire region.

He pointed out that the issue of recognition of Kosovo is specific issue for Bosnia and that, due to internal political reasons, will not happen in the near future.

He also said that one of the main goals in realization of more active role of Bosnia on the field of the foreign policy is Bosnia's candidacy for temporary member of the UN Security Council in 2010.

Ban Ki-Moon pointed out the significance of the unity of the Bosnian state institutions and necessity of focus on Bosnia's stability as one of the important factors in the region.

It is, due to this, necessary to ensure that all Bosnian citizens feel safe and comfortable in Bosnia.At the end he expressed his wishes and hopes that Bosnia will become temporary member of the UN Council of Security.

Komsic also met with the UN General Assembly president Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann discussed the current political situation in the country.
.

TURKISH BUSINESS DELEGATION VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić met yesterday with a delegation of Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Industrials of Turkey- TUSKON, led by its president Rizanur Meral.

They discussed the possibility of investments of Turkish investors in Bosnia and direct cooperation of businessmen working in two countries.

TUSKON representatives announced more intensive cooperation with businessmen in Bosnia.

President Silajdžić stressed that it is the right time to invest in Bosnia, especially when it comes to energy, water, wood industry and tourism.What gives further security to foreign investors, as Dr Silajdžić said, is the fact that Bosnia is on the path to membership in the EU and NATO.
.

ACTION PLAN FOR ACTIVITIES OF BOSNIA FOR OBTAINING NATO MEMBERSHIP ADOPTED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - Coordination team of the Bosnian Council of Ministers for NATO integrations adopted yesterday on the Action plan for realization of Bosnia's activities for obtaining NATO membership until April 2009 that is till the next summit of the Alliance. Igor Crnadak, the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Defence was presiding at the meeting.

As it was announced from the Bosnian Ministry of Defence the most important activities in this period will be realization of the taken obligations, especially from the IPAP and the intensified dialogue.

Another obligations are also fulfilment of the Bosnian Mission to NATO, Department for NATO and PFP at the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as development and the beginning of the realization of the strategy of communication for better introduction of the Euro-Atlantic integrations to the Bosnian citizens.

NATO Coordination team concluded that it is necessary to speed up the fulfilment of the Bosnian Mission to NATO since delay would lead to practical difficulties due to the fact that they could not participate in everyday work of the Alliance and poorer presence of Bosnia in Brussels.
.

BOSNIA RANKED 36 IN THE WORLD FOR PRESS FREEDOM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - According to a new report from Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF), Bosnia is tied for 36th in the world for press freedom, with the United States, Cape Verde, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan. Of the nations that rank above Bosnia, the report lists Mali, Ghana, Namibia, Jamaica, Surinam, as well as states formerly controlled by the Soviet Union such as the three Baltic states : Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and Slovakia. France ranked 35th, just ahead of Bosnia.

The United States rose twelve places to 36th position. The release of Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj after six years in the Guantanamo Bay military base contributed to this improvement. Although the absence of a federal “shield law” means the confidentiality of sources is still threatened by federal courts, the number of journalists being subpoenaed or forced to reveal their sources has declined in recent months and none has been sent to prison.

The group also noted that there has not yet been justice for the murder of the editor of the Oakland Post, Chauncey Bailey, suggesting that flaws in the system and a lack of special protection for journalists may be contributing to the lag in prosecuting the crime.

“The way the investigation into his murder has become enmeshed in local conflicts of interest and the lack of federal judicial intervention also help to explain why the United States did not get a higher ranking”.

RSF also criticized the US for the “many arrests of journalists during the Democratic and Republican conventions”, which includes the arrest of several reporters who were covering an anti-Republican party protest rally, during the Republican national convention, by authorities who were either making blanket arrests or were specifically instructed to interfere with media coverage of the event.

Bolivia was the worst performer, dropping 47 places to 115th worldwide. The RSF report cites institutional conflict and the deliberate targeting of journalists by one political faction or another: “Its institutional and political crisis has exacerbated the polarisation between state and privately-owned media and exposed journalists to violence because of their presumed links with the government or opposition”.

Two aspects stand out in the index, which covers the 12 months to 1 September 2008. One is Europe’s preeminence. Aside from New Zealand and Canada, the first 20 positions are held by European countries. The other is the very respectable ranking achieved by certain Central American and Caribbean countries. Jamaica and Costa Rica are in 21st and 22nd positions, rubbing shoulders with Hungary (23rd). Just a few position below them are Surinam (26th) and Trinidad and Tobago (27th). These small Caribbean countries have done much better than France (35th), which has fallen again this year, this time by four places, and Spain (36th) and Italy (44th), countries held back again by political or mafia violence. Namibia (23rd), a large and now peaceful southern African country that came first in Africa, ahead of Ghana (31st), was just one point short of joining the top 20.

The economic disparities among the top 20 are immense. Iceland’s per capita GDP is 10 times Jamaica’s. What they have in common is a parliamentary democratic system, and not being involved in any war. This is not the case with the United States (36th domestically and 119th outside its own territory) and Israel (46th domestically and 149th outside its own territory), whose armed forces killed a Palestinian journalist for the first time since 2003. A resumption of fighting also affected Georgia (120th) and Niger, which fell sharply from 95th in 2007 to 130th this year. Although they have democratic political systems, these countries are embroiled in low or high intensity conflicts and their journalists, exposed to the dangers of combat or repression, are easy prey. The recent provisional release of Moussa Kaka, the Niger correspondent of RFI and Reporters Without Borders, after 384 days in prison in Niamey and cameraman Sami al-Haj’s release after six years in the hell of Guantanamo serve as reminders that wars sweep away not only lives but also, and above all, freedom.

Countries that have become embroiled in very violent conflicts after failing to resolve serious political problems, such as Iraq (158th), Pakistan (152nd), Afghanistan (156th) and Somalia (153rd), continue to be highly dangerous “black zones” for the press, places where journalists are targets for murder, kidnapping, arbitrary arrest or death threats every day. They may come under fire from the parties at war. They may be accused of taking sides. Any excuse will do to get rid of “trouble-makers” and “spies.” Such is the case in the Palestinian Territories (163rd), especially the Gaza Strip, where the situation got much worse after Hamas seized power. At the same time, in Sri Lanka (165th), where there is an elected government, the press has to face violence that is only too often organised by the state.

Bringing up the rear are the dictatorships - some disguised, some not - where dissidents and pro-reform journalists manage to open cracks in the walls that enclose them. The year of the Olympics in the new Asian power, China (167th), was the year that Hu Jia and many other dissidents and journalists were jailed. But it also provided opportunities to those liberal media that are trying gradually to free themselves of the country’s still pervasive police control. Being a journalist in Beijing or Shanghai - or in Iran (166th), Uzbekistan (162nd) and Zimbabwe (151st) - is a high risk exercise involving endless frustration and constant police and judicial harassment. In Burma (170th), run by a xenophobic and inflexible junta, journalists and intellectuals, even foreign ones, have for years been viewed as enemies by the regime, and they pay the price.

In Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus (154th) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s Equatorial Guinea (156th), the leader’s ubiquitous portrait on the streets and front pages of the newspapers is enough to dispel any doubt about the lack of press freedom. Other dictatorships do without a personality cult but are just as suffocating. Nothing is possible in Laos (164th) if it does not accord with government policy.

Finally, North Korea and Turkmenistan are unchanging hells in which the population is cut off from the world and is subjected to propaganda worthy of a bygone age. And in Eritrea (173rd), which has come last for the second year running, President Issaias Afeworki and his small clan of paranoid nationalists continue to run Africa’s youngest country like a vast open prison.

The international community, including the European Union, endlessly repeats that the only solution continues to be “dialogue.” But dialogue has clearly had little success and even the most authoritarian governments are still able to ignore remonstrations without risking any repercussions other than the inconsequential displeasure of the occasional diplomat.

The other disease that eats away at democracies and makes them lose ground in the ranking is corruption. The bad example of Bulgaria (59th), still last in Europe, serves as a reminder that universal suffrage, media pluralism and some constitutional guarantees are not enough to ensure effective press freedom. The climate must also favour the flow of information and expression of opinions. The social and political tensions in Peru (108th) and Kenya (97th), the media politicisation in Madagascar (94th) and Bolivia (115th) and the violence against investigative journalists in Brazil (82nd) are all examples of the kinds of poison that blight emerging democracies. And the existence of people who break the law to get rich and who punish inquisitive journalists with impunity is a scourge that keeps several “great countries” - such as Nigeria (131st), Mexico (140th) and India (118th) - in shameful positions.

Certain would-be “great countries” deliberately behave in a manner that is brutal, unfair or just disturbing. The examples include Venezuela (113th), where President Hugo Chávez’s personality and decrees are often crushing, and the Putin-Medvedev duo’s Russia (141st), where state and opposition media are strictly controlled and journalists such as Anna Politkovskaya are killed each year by “unidentified” gunmen who often turn out to have close links with the Kremlin’s security services.

The ranking’s “soft underbelly” also includes countries that waver between repression and liberalisation, where the taboos are still inviolable and the press laws hark back to another era. In Gabon (110th), Cameroon (129th), Morocco (122nd), Oman (123rd), Cambodia (126th), Jordan (128th) and Malaysia (132nd), for example, it is strictly forbidden to report anything that reflects badly on the president or monarch, or their family and close associates. Journalists are routinely sent to prison in Senegal (86th) and Algeria (121st) under repressive legislation that violates the democratic standards advocated by the UN.

Online repression also exposes these tenacious taboos. In Egypt (146th), demonstrations launched online shook the capital and alarmed the government, which now regards every Internet user as a potential danger. The use of Internet filtering is growing by the year. China is still leads the “Internet black hole” ranking worldwide, deploying considerable technical resources to control Internet users.

Only a few countries have risen significantly in the ranking. Lebanon (66th), for example, has climbed back to a more logical position after the end of the bomb attacks on influential journalists of recent years. Haiti (73rd) continues its slow rise, as do Argentina (68th) and Maldives (104th). But the democratic transition has halted in Mauritania (105th), preventing it from continuing its rise, while the slender gains of the past few years in Chad (133rd) and Sudan (135th) were swept away by the overnight introduction of censorship.

The RSF report covers “every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations”.

The 2008 world press freedom ranking:

1 Iceland 1,50
- Luxembourg 1,50
- Norway 1,50
4 Estonia 2,00
- Finland 2,00
- Ireland 2,00
7 Belgium 3,00
- Latvia 3,00
- New Zealand 3,00
- Slovakia 3,00
- Sweden 3,00
- Switzerland 3,00
13 Canada 3,33
14 Austria 3,50
- Denmark 3,50
16 Czech Republic 4,00
- Lithuania 4,00
- Netherlands 4,00
- Portugal 4,00
20 Germany 4,50
21 Jamaica 4,88
22 Costa Rica 5,10
23 Hungary 5,50
- Namibia 5,50
- United Kingdom 5,50
26 Surinam 6,00
27 Trinidad and Tobago 6,13
28 Australia 6,25
29 Japan 6,50
30 Slovenia 7,33
31 Cyprus 7,50
- Ghana 7,50
- Greece 7,50
- Mali 7,50
35 France 7,67
36 Bosnia 8,00
- Cape Verde 8,00
- South Africa 8,00
- Spain 8,00
- Taiwan 8,00
- United States of America 8,00
42 Macedonia 8,25
43 Uruguay 8,33
44 Italy 8,42
45 Croatia 8,50
46 Israel (Israeli territory) 8,83
47 Mauritius 9,00
- Poland 9,00
- Romania 9,00
- South Korea 9,00
51 Hong-Kong 9,75
- Liberia 9,75
53 Cyprus (North) 10,00
- Montenegro 10,00
- Togo 10,00
56 Chile 11,50
57 Panama 11,83
58 Kosovo 12,00
59 Bulgaria 12,50
- Nicaragua 12,50
61 Kuwait 12,63
62 El Salvador 12,80
63 Burkina Faso 13,00
64 Serbia 13,50
65 Timor-Leste 13,75
66 Botswana 14,00
- Lebanon 14,00
68 Argentina 14,08
69 United Arab Emirates 14,50
70 Benin 15,00
- Malawi 15,00
- Tanzania 15,00
73 Haiti 15,13
74 Bhutan 15,50
- Ecuador 15,50
- Qatar 15,50
- Seychelles 15,50
- Zambia 15,50
79 Albania 16,00
- Fiji 16,00
81 Guinea-Bissau 16,33
82 Brazil 18,00
- Dominican Republic 18,00
- Tonga 18,00
85 Central African Republic 18,50
86 Senegal 19,00
87 Ukraine 19,25
88 Guyana 19,75
89 Comoros 20,00
90 Mozambique 20,50
- Paraguay 20,50
92 Congo 20,75
93 Mongolia 20,83
94 Burundi 21,00
- Madagascar 21,00
96 Bahrein 21,17
97 Kenya 21,25
98 Moldova 21,38
99 Guinea 21,50
- Honduras 21,50
101 Guatemala 22,64
102 Armenia 22,75
- Turkey 22,75
104 Maldives 23,25
105 Mauritania 23,88
106 Tajikistan 25,50
107 Uganda 26,00
108 Peru 26,25
109 Côte d’Ivoire 26,50
110 Gabon 26,75
111 Indonesia 27,00
- Kyrgyzstan 27,00
113 Venezuela 27,33
114 Sierra Leone 27,75
115 Bolivia 28,20
116 Angola 29,50
- Lesotho 29,50
118 India 30,00
119 United States of America (extra-territorial) 31,00
120 Georgia 31,25
121 Algeria 31,33
122 Morocco 32,25
123 Oman 32,67
124 Thailand 34,50
125 Kazakhstan 35,33
126 Cambodia 35,50
- Colombia 35,50
128 Jordan 36,00
129 Cameroon 36,90
130 Niger 37,00
131 Nigeria 37,75
132 Malaysia 39,50
133 Chad 41,25
134 Djibouti 41,50
135 Sudan 42,00
136 Bangladesh 42,70
137 Gambia 42,75
138 Nepal 43,25
139 Philippines 45,00
140 Mexico 46,13
141 Russia 47,50
142 Ethiopia 47,75
143 Tunisia 48,10
144 Singapore 49,00
145 Rwanda 50,00
146 Egypt 50,25
147 Swaziland 50,50
148 Democratic Republic of Congo 51,25
149 Israel (extra-territorial) 51,50
150 Azerbaijan 53,63
151 Zimbabwe 54,00
152 Pakistan 54,88
153 Somalia 58,00
154 Belarus 58,33
155 Yemen 59,00
156 Afghanistan 59,25
- Equatorial Guinea 59,25
158 Iraq 59,38
159 Syria 59,63
160 Libya 61,50
161 Saudi Arabia 61,75
162 Uzbekistan 62,70
163 Palestinian Territories 66,88
164 Laos 70,00
165 Sri Lanka 78,00
166 Iran 80,33
167 China 85,50
168 Vietnam 86,17
169 Cuba 88,33
170 Burma 94,38
171 Turkmenistan 95,50
172 North Korea 96,50
173 Eritrea 97,50

.

OSCE HOLDS BORDER SECURITY SEMINAR IN BOSNIA

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - A seminar in the northern Bosnian cirt of Banja Luka began yesterday aimed at strengthening border security procedures.The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Bosnian State Agency for Identification Documents, Data Registers and Data Exchange organized the two-day training seminar, the OSCE said.

Security experts from around the world came to take part in the seminar designed to support Bosnia's new passport and identity card system. Officials say border police and criminal investigation authorities are undergoing training on methods and modernized techniques to ensure border security.

"An upgrade to a new travel document provides a good opportunity to modernize and secure the handling and issuance process," OSCE representative Dimitar Jalnev, said in a statement.

"A vital tool in this regard is the development of a modern, secure, transparent and comprehensive civil registration system that safeguards and verifies the identities of citizens," he said
.

RUSSIA THREATENS TO CUT GAS SUPPLY TO BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - Russian Gazprom has announced that it would halt its supply of natural gas to Bosnia from January 1, 2009, if a debt totalling 104.8 million US Dollars is not settled by that time.

Bosnia has already faced such threats on several previous occasions.

Bosnian main energy company Energoinvest’s head Dzemail Vlahovljak, who is currently in Moscow at the helm of a Bosnian delegation, said Russians have made their threat more clear than ever before, and announced they would not back down again.

Furthermore, they have threatened for the first time to turn the issue of Bosnia’s debt over to arbitration and court, Vlahovljak said, adding that that would be the worst option for Bosnia, since she would have to pay almost 300 million US Dollars including interest, instead of 104.8 million.

The Russian side has proposed the introduction of a special tax which would be charged to all gas consumers for the purpose of paying the debt. The Bosnian government has little over two months to solve the problem.
.

BANK PANIC IS OVER,BOSNIAN CENTRAL BANK CONFIRMS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 24,2008) - The panic in the Bosnian banking market is over.In the past two days there have been more of those clients who were making deposits than those making withdrawals, the Governor of the Bosnian Central Bank confirmed yesterday.

Kemal Kozaric was unable to say, however, what the total amount of withdrawals is. Kozaric said this returned trust is good for commercial banks, as well as that it needs to be mutual, urging banks not to raise their rates and fees.

The governor said the solvency of banks is satisfactory, and that there is more than 1 billion Bosnian Marks surplus in required reserves. He announced a proposal would be made on October 30 to cancel the reserve requirement for foreign loans.
.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTED RATIFICATION OF SAA WITH EU

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives unanimously supported yesterday the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union (EU).

The document has yet to be ratified by the Bosnian State Presidency. Niko Lozancic – the president of the lower house – announced that letters would be sent to all the parliaments of EU member countries, urging them to advance the ratification process.

The SAA was signed on June 16 in Luxembourg, and after Bosnia completes the process it is necessary for the SAA to be ratified by all EU member states.
.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT URGES BOSNIA TO MOVE ON WITH KEY REFORMS

STRASBOURG, France (October 23,2008) - The European Parliament is discussing a resolution urging Bosnia’s leaders to move on with key reforms amid fears of heightened tensions in the country.

According to the European Parliament schedule, the resolution is expected to be voted on today, after the debate which took place yesterday.

“Divisions along ethnic lines are growing, the Office of the High Representative is not using its powers and nobody fears or respects it. Politicians are doing nothing and the situation could not be worse,” said the European Parliament deputy from Germany, Doris Pack, who proposed the resolution.

Speaking at the session in Strasbourg, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said Bosnia has made “a significant step forward” by signing a key pre-membership deal called the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on June 16.

“The EU could initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement last December and sign it in June because the country's political leaders pulled together and reached consensus on the main conditions, particularly police reform. This proves that progress can be achieved and crises overcome, when the political will exists,” Rehn said in his speech.

“However, this consensus has since collapsed and reforms halted,” Rehn said.

“Nationalist rhetoric ahead of the October local elections was a factor in this deterioration. Yet, the country's political problems run much deeper.”

“The lack of a common vision among the country's leaders about its future and the absence of consensus on EU reforms harm its European prospects. There is open disagreement on most political questions, while no sense of urgency or responsibility to overcome this stalemate.”

Rehn welcomed and supported the proposed resolution of the European Parliament, which requires Bosnia's leaders to move on with key reforms. This would enable the transition of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) into the Office of the EU Special Representative (EUSR) which will be discussed in mid-November by the international powers.

Rehn added that also in November, the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission will publish its Progress Report for Bosnia.
.

US AMBASSADOR GIVES STARK WARNING TO LEADER OF GENOCIDAL SERBIAN FASCIST CREATURE IN BOSNIA "RS"

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - The US administration is very serious in its dedication to maintain the current influence in Bosnia, prevent any secession attempts, and stop inflammatory nationalist rhetoric.

That sums up the messages communicated to the leader of the genocidal Serbian fascist creature in Bosnia "RS" Milorad Dodik by the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English.

Furthermore, several different "penalties" have allegedly been discussed for the past month in diplomatic circles with the aim of restraining fascist leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia, including his removal from the Bosnian political scene and a travel ban.
.

ASHDOWN: BOSNIA IN CRISIS,BRITISH GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ACT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - Former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Paddy Ashdown spoke about Bosnia in the British Parliament's House of Lords yesterday and warned about the worsening state of internal affairs in the country.

Ashdown also asked what the British government plans to do about it, in order to prevent the crisis from escalating.

In Ashdown’s opinion, there has been no progress in Bosnia in the last two years, and it is time for the international community, and especially the EU to wake up, unless it wants to "wake up to another crisis in Bosnia".

Ashdown also asked the British government whether it would allow the leader of the genocidal Serbian fascist creature in Bosnia "RS" Milorad Dodik to reverse the progress made in Bosnia in the last 13 years.

.

WORLD BANK PLANS TO FUND 15 PROJECTS IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - There is no risk concerning the USD 240 million worth of projects the World Bank plans to fund in Bosnia, it was concluded yesterday in the first joint meeting between the World Bank’s representatives and members of the Bosnian government.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric said that, out of the total 15 projects, 12 are credit arrangements and three will include grants. 13 projects are already effective, and for the remaining two contracts have yet to be signed, he explained.

The two sides agreed that procedural improvements need to be made and the Public Procurement Act amended, because it often slows down the process.

Spiric could not say who is responsible for Bosnia not using the funds for the prevention of the bird flue, but said that the Bosnian government would attempt to redirect the money to fight Q fever and brucellosis.
.

BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - Representatives of the British opposition led by the member of the British Parliament and Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs William Hague, who are visiting Bosnia, met yesterday in Sarajevo with representatives of six Bosnia's ruling parties.

They talked about the current political situation in Bosnia, including issues that are related to forthcoming constitutional reforms and Bosnia's road towards European integrations.

As the HDZ BiH president Dragan Covic said in his press statement the key issue for Bosnia is the constitutional reform. Stating the attitudes of his party on which he informed guests, Covic considers that OHR should stay in BiH until Bosnia gets new constitution and that this task should be completed until the next general elections in order for us not to fall behind on the road towards the European integrations.

SDA attitude is that the Bosnian state institutions should be strengthen in order to solve economical problems of the country in as efficient way as possible and in order for Bosnia to build position of equal collocutor with other European countries and that Bosnia's road towards EU integrations is indisputable: Amir Zukic, SDA general secretary said.

SNSD vice-president Nikola Spiric assessed that the meeting with the representatives of the opposition from the British Parliament was a chance for exchange of opinions on challenges that expect Bosnia in the future.

HDZ 1990 vice-president Martin Raguz said that it is significant that Bosnia is in focus of interests of Great Britain, reminding of its role in the period since the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed.

SBiH vice-president Beriz Belkic considers that it is encouraging that the guests from Great Britain understood that Bosnia needs support from international community on the field of reform of constitution, adoption of EU standards and preservation of integrity and sovereignty.
.

EUPM,EUFOR AND UNIFEM TO SIGN MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) – The EU police mission in Bosnia, the EU military mission in Bosnia (EUFOR) and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Central and Eastern Europe will sign today a Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation in the advancement of the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security on 23 October 2008.

This event will launch a joint project supported and financed by UNIFEM on “Women Building Peace and Human Security”. The project will be implemented in Bosnia together with the Bosnian NGO Zene Zenama.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security was adopted by the General Assembly in 2000. It addresses the impact of war on women, and calls for ensuring women's contribution to conflict resolution. It calls for gender-sensitive security sector reforms and for women’s engagement in peace processes at both political and social level.

The project partners commit to advance these goals by facilitating interaction between community, military and civilian police personnel about human security and conflict resolution. The project is envisaged to last 18 months.
.

FBIH ENTITY GEARS UP TO PRIVATISE TELECOMS FIRM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 23,2008) - Top FBIH entity government officials and experts said yesterday that the Bosnian largest telecoms company needed to be urgently privatised before investors lost interest in a time of global recession.

The FBIH entity government two years ago proposed privatising Sarajevo-based BH Telekom but the parliament has blocked the sale amid political bickering.

"The government sees the telecoms privatisation as a generator of economic growth," the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic told a conference on the privatisation of telecoms.

He said the parliament was expected to vote on the government's sell-off plan soon and the government needed the money for infrastructure and development projects,.

BH Telekom, in which the government owns a 90 percent stake, is the larger of two telecoms companies operating in the FBIH entity.

Under the plan, the FBIH entity government plans to sell a 51 percent stake in BH Telekom to a strategic investor and offer a 10 percent stake to investors on an international bourse and up to five percent to the Bosnian citizens on the Sarajevo stock exchange.

Officials put a value of up to 3 billion Bosnian Marks (2 billion US Dollars) on BH Telekom but its share price values it at 1.2 billion. The company made a profit of 162.5 million Bosnian Marks in 2007.
.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BOSNIAN CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION ANNOUNCED CONFIRMED RESULTS OF LOCAL ELECTIONS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - The Bosnian Central Election Commission has adopted decision on conclusion of the local elections results. "In order for the results to be confirmed within 30 days it is necessary to enable all participants in the election process to appeal this decision and to demand re-counting of ballots in certain election units”, stated at the press-conference president of the Bosnian Central Election Commission Suad Arnautovic.

After the process is completed, the Commission shall confirm the election results which will be published in the Official Gazette of Bosnia and other official releases.

Arnautovic added that it is possible to file a request for re-counting of ballots within three days since the announcement of results. This period starts tomorrow.

Whwn it comes to municipally mayor positions, SNSD won 39, followed by SDA with 36, SDS 16, HDZBiH 16, SDP 9, SBiH 4, HDZ1990 3, and DNS 3. This does not include certain positions parties won in coalitions.

The largest number of municipal council seats went to SDA - 537, SNSD 494, SDP 322, SDS 316, HDZBiH 216, SBiH 180 and PDP 148.

Largest number of votes for municipal councils went to SDA 275.065, then SNSD 207.896, and SDP 193.765.

The Bosnian Central Election Commission ordered the control counting of votes in 96 polling stations due to irregular calculations with 171 complaints being sent to the municipal election commissions.

In nine cases the Bosnian Central Election Commission had suspicions of criminal offenses and reports have been sent to the Bosnian State Prosecution.
.

THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE FIRST BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC COMMEMORATED IN SARAJEVO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - By Saying of the Al-Fatiha Prayer and laying of flowers on the grave of the first President of the Republic of Bosnia and founder and honorary president of the largest Bosnian political party - SDA, Alija Izetbegovic, the 5th anniversary of his death was commemorated at the Kovaci cemetery in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Asides family members, the memorial was visited by leaders of SDA and the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic, officials of the FBiH entity, the Sarajevo Canton and the City of Sarajevo and other public personas and admirers of the deed of President Alija Izetbegovic.

SDA President Sulejman Tihic remembered in his address that President Izetbegovic always fought for Bosnia, state of equal peoples and citizens and added that all who follow his path fight for such Bosnia.

He added that President Izetbegovic led realistic politics, the only one possible and right.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic, remembering the deeds of Alija Izetbegovic stated that this was the man who fought for freedom with clear sense who the aggressor was, who is the victim and who is the attacker.

He especially underlined President Izetbegovic’s humanity due to which “we never had any acts of revenge, we did not tear down monuments of others nor have we created concentration camps”.

He stated that lately there is an intensified campaign to equal the aggressors against Bosnia and the defenders of Bosnia and President Silajdzic stated that this is the goal of those who do not want to do anything to bring more justice to Bosnia.
.

SDA INSISTS ON FBIH ENTITY GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - The largest Bosnian political party - the Party of Democratic Action (Bosnian: Stranka Demokratske Akcije - SDA) thinks a revision of the current members of the FBiH entity government is necessary, both in the sense of replacements and re-distribution of authorities, it was concluded yesterday in a party meeting.

According to SDA’s President Sulejman Tihic, current entity prime minister Nedzad Brankovic would remain in that position, but his cabinet is to undergo significant changes.

Tihic said the party is not satisfied with the performance of the FBIH entity government departments in charge of industry and energy, finance, veteran issues and social welfare.
.

CROATIAN OIL COMPANY "INA" TOPS LIST OF 100 MOST SUCCESSFUL BALKAN COMPANIES

SOFIA, Bulgaria (October 22,2008) - Croatian oil company INA tops a list of the 100 most successful companies in the southeastern Europe in terms of sales revenue in 2007, consulting firm Roland Berger's Zagreb office said today.

Last year INA's sales revenue exceeded 3.7 billion Euros (4.88 billion U.S. Dollars).

The list is based on a survey conducted by Bulgarian on-line news agency SeeNews, covering companies from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

In terms of the number of companies included on the Top 100 list, Slovenia is first with 23 companies, while Croatia is second with 21.

The survey reveals that the oil and natural gas sector is the leading branch of the economy in the region, followed by electric power production and distribution, telecommunications, metallurgy, and construction.
.

BOSNIANS MARK THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SJEVERIN MASSACRE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - Today is the 16th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of a group of Bosnian civilians from Sjeverin,Sandzak, by the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia.

Fifteen Bosnian men and one woman from Sjeverin were on a bus to Priboj on the morning of October 22, 1992. The bus was stopped by a group of Serbian fascist in the village of Mioče.

After looking at their papers, they took only the Bosnian civilians out of the bus and took them to a truck which then transported them to the Vilina Vlas Hotel in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad.

There the Bosnian civilians were brutally tortured by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor, before being taken to the shore of the Drina River, where they were mass murdered.

Their bodies have yet to be found, 16 years later.

The families and friends of the genocide victims from Sjeverin held a commemoration today in Mioče and threw flowers into the Lim River, after which a procession of cars will travel to Višegrad to place flowers at the location where they are believed to have been murdered.

The genocide victims of the Sjeverin massacre were: Mehmed Šebo, Zafer Hadžić, Medo Hadžić, Medredin Hodžić, Ramiz Begović, Derviš Softić, Medhad Softić, Mujo Alihodžić, Alija Mandal, Sead Pecikoza, Mustafa Bajramović, Hajrudin Sajtarević, Esad Džihić, Ramahudin Ćatović, Idriz Gibović and Mevlida Koldžić.
.

KOSOVO HOSTING KUR'AN RECITATATION COMPETITION FOR SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

PRISTINA, Kosovo (October 22,2008) - Kosovo is hosting annual Kur'an recitators' competition for the southeastern Europe for the second time in the city of Prizren.

From 18th October until 26th the competition will be open for all those who wish to participate on the final night of the competition in Prizren on November 1. Twelve best recitators will win the right to compete on the final night.

Ilir Gashi, responsible for technical part of the event, said that those who wish to compete can apply by sending their recordings by mail or if they are in Kosovo they can deliver them by CD in few spots in Prishtina, Prizren and Mitrovica.

"Last year we organized for the first time Kur'an Fest and participants from Kosova and Macedonia took part, meanwhile this year we have qaris from Bosnia and Albania too" said Hafz Faton Bytyqi, one of the organizers
.
Last year winner was given a free trip to Hajj and the second and third contestants were rewarded with money.

The official website for the event is www.kuranfest.com from where more information can be taken regarding this great event.
.

CZECH REPUBLIC FAVORS BOSNIA'S QUICK INTEGRATION WITH EUROPEAN UNION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - The Czech Republic supports as quick as possible integration of Bosnia with the European Union and the abolition of visas towards this country by the 27 EU member states, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj today.

However, it seems that it is difficult to convince the partners in the EU that the abolition of EU visas towards the southeastern European countries would benefit both sides, Schwarzenberg said.

At present, only citizens of Croatia can travel to EU countries without visas.

Schwarzenberg assured Alkalaj that Prague would help Bosnia with the preparation for EU membership.Schwarzenberg and Alkalaj discussed the Czech Republic's forthcoming EU presidency that will start in January, 2009.

They also signed a memorandum on cooperation.

Alkalaj told journalists he firmly believed that the Czech EU presidency would have great impact.

"We have one of the strongest voices in the EU that says that the integration of Western Balkan countries with the Euro-Atlantic structures should be speeded up and completed," he said.

He added that he would try to convince politicians from other EU countries of the necessity to lift visas towards these countries as soon as possible.

The Czech Republic is of the view that the EU should abolish visa requirements for citizens of individual southeastern European countries separately when these countries were prepared for this.

For instance, citizens of Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania need visas to travel to EU countries, including the Czech Republic. However, Czechs, for instance, do not need visas to go to these countries, which means that a one-sided visa regime is valid for the former.

Bosnia made progress in the integration with the EU this summer. A stabilisation and association agreements between Bosnia and the EU have been signed which is a pre-condition for the future EU membership and in which Bosnia pledged to implement certain reforms.
.

MORE ENTREPRENEURS IN BOSNIA TO BENEFIT FROM EBRD LOANS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 22,2008) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending another €10 million loan to Mikrokreditna Fondacija Partner, one of the leading microfinance institutions in Bosnia, to enable micro and small enterprises (MSEs) to gain more access to finance to start up or expand their businesses.

Partner was established in 1997 as a non-governmental organisation supported by Mercy Corps and in December 2000 it was registered as a microfinance institution to provide financial support to low-income entrepreneurs across Bosnia. Through its network of 43 offices, Partner now serves around 60,000 clients both in urban and rural areas.

The new loan to Partner follows the first credit line of €8 million provided by the EBRD to this institution in June 2007. The first loan, which was fully disbursed, has served more than 3,000 new clients.

The first loan provided by the EBRD to Partner was complemented by €500,000 in technical assistance from donors under the EBRD - Western Balkans Fund. This technical assistance support will be used to facilitate the company’s current restructuring from a non-profit organisation into a commercial organisation, reflecting a recently adopted law on micro-credit organisations passed in Bosnia. The assistance will focus on strengthening internal information technologies, audit/control processes, risk management, and MSE lending-specific processes.

Chikako Kuno, Director of Group for Small Business at EBRD, said that in times of constrained liquidity it is important that micro and small entrepreneurs gain sufficient access to finance to meet their demands. This new loan to Partner, an important partner for the EBRD, will help reach even smaller and more credit-constrained borrowers in rural parts of Bosnia, facilitating their growth of domestic production,Kuno added.

This latest EBRD loan builds on the Bank’s continuing support for the Bosnian micro enterprise sector, including loans to Mikrofin, EKI, Sunrise, MI Bospo and Prizma. Since its first microfinance loan in 2006, the Bank has already extended a total of €51 million to six microfinance institutions in the country. Across its countries of operations, the EBRD has committed over €1.1 billion to 138 financial institutions, supporting more than 3 million micro and small businesses.
.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

REHN: 2009 TO BECOME YEAR OF EU MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN STATES

BRUSSELS, Belgium (October 21,2008) - Olli Rehn: The year 2009 is going to become the year of EU membership opportunities for all southeastern European states, according to Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission (EC), responsible for EU enlargement.

The fact that the Lisbon Treaty failed to become effective was not going to become an obstacle for the EU to accept new countries, Rehn believes.

He further said that it was most likely that negotiations about the membership of Croatia, which began in 2005, would conclude in 2009, adding that Croatia was going to be approved as member after it fulfils all criteria and that Zagreb still had a lot to do in reforming the country's legal system and in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The EC also expects positive results from the negotiations with Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia.
.

FASCISM IS ON THE RISE IN EUROPE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The charismatic far-right Austrian politician Jörg Haider died recently in a car accident.He caused the accident by driving twice as fast as the speed limit. Although there is an old proverb instructing us to “speak only the best about dead people,” Haider’s tragic demise stirred a part of my mind already anxious enough about a phenomenon that is threatening the future of my country, my city, my environment and, consequently, the future of my own family.

The problem is intolerance, racism and fascism, which are a growing menace in Central and Eastern Europe that we identify only when we hear news of violent assaults or about the promoters of such ideologies.

Haider himself did not hide that he derived his political philosophy from Nazi Germany. He used to describe the Nazi SS troops as patriots and would belittle the Holocaust. The European Union even imposed sanctions against Austria in 2000 in a protest over his party’s role in the government.

There are such discredited politicians and various far-right, racist, fascist and neo-Nazi movements and parties in other European countries as well, even represented in parliaments. It is one of the accompanying consequences of the ideological vacuum left by the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

The German newspaper die tageszeitung stresses that “a seething ideological mix came to the fore in many countries, made up of anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes, nationalist prejudices and elements such as militant anti-communism, revisionist ambitions and a vengeful fundamentalism.” Anti-Islamic activity has become part of the agenda of those movements in recent times.

Fascist movements in the southeastern Europe are obsessed by the nation as a supreme power and fascinated with religion, particularly Christianity. They often choose sporting events and popular music as their sphere of action.

Some pro-Nazi groups in the genocidal Serbia, like National Alignment, did not succeed last week in undermining an anti-fascist meeting in Belgrade. Dozens of their members were arrested last year during protests against the independence of Kosovo and because of their attacks against Albanians and Roma on their graffiti and posters. Two Israeli citizens were beaten in Belgrade by a group of “white power skinheads” wearing Nazi symbols. In fact, ultranationalists and radicals in Serbia are mostly focused on Kosovo, but the spirit of violence and national fanaticism, often supported by the Orthodox Church, could easily be included in a wider fascist scope.

Neo-Nazism in Croatia is often identified with neo-ustashism. Ustashe, the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis, were armed forces of the Independent State of Croatia, which was created and supported by Hitler and consisted of Croatia and Bosnia. Croatian ultranationalists still consider the ustashe patriots and their commanders heroes, equating them with the anti-fascist Tito’s partizans. The anti-Serb hatred, inherited from World War II, is a permanent issue for Croatian nationalists that erupts especially at football matches and the pop concerts of the controversial Croatian fascist singer Marko Perkovic Thompson. His audience,there were 60,000 in the Croatian capital Zagreb alone,usually raises their hands in a fascist salute. Even Catholic bishops sing ultranationalist fascist songs, and the Croatian fascist slogan “Srbe na vrbe” (Hang Serbs on the willow trees!) is being repeated after more than half a century.

The well-known Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic warned recently in London’s Guardian about the split that such national, religious and racial hatred causes in her country. However, she was met with harsh and orchestrated criticism for “insulting the nation.”

And what can be said about Bosnia?The aggression against its independence in 1992,initiated by the genocidal Serbia,and the genocide against the Bosnian people committed by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia was simply an extreme fascism.

The Bosnian media these days quote the former US ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, who said in a program called “How wars end” on Public Radio International that Serbians living in Bosnia are “fascists, genocidal fascists.”

From the other side, Croatian fascists still regret that the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the 1990s failed. They apply their ideology on the Croatians living in Bosnia. They sometimes use curious means, like what happened last year during a football match in Bosnia: Croatian fans formed the letter “U” in the stadium -symbolizing the above described Croatian fascists known as "Ustashe".

Hungary’s image in the EU was stained last year when it revived the Magyar Garda (Hungarian Guard). A pro-Nazi party with the same name ruled Hungary at the end of World War II and today the group is closely associated with the far-right party Jobbik, which has representatives on dozens of city councils.

“The founding of the Hungarian Guard,” Die Welt wrote, “is an alarming sign of sickness in a society, in which barriers to the glorification of violence, racism and intolerance are being torn down and where there are increasing attempts to undermine the already weak institutions of democracy.” It could be a “nucleus of a racist paramilitary army,” the German daily warned.

In other European countries, there are also activities of more-or-less fascist and pro-Nazi parties and movements. In Bulgaria, a country politically and economically stable, a latent nationalism is again coming to the surface. The nationalist Ataka party, consisting mostly of right-wing and ex-communist remnants, won 9 percent of the vote in the 2005 legislative elections, and its leader, Volen Siderov, managed to poll 25 percent in the 2007 presidential elections.

According to the party’s ideological statement, “20 points of Ataka,” Bulgaria is a monolithic, one-nation state, indivisible along ethnic or religious lines. The party attacks the national channel’s broadcast of news in Turkish indirectly, stating that the national language is only Bulgarian and that any ethnic parties should be prohibited. The most notable pro-Nazi organization in Greece is Hrisi Avgi, inspired by the Metaxas quasi-fascist dictatorship put in place by Hitler during the German occupation from 1940-1944. Its members launched a series of riots, especially in football fields. Their targets are mostly Albanian migrants and the Macedonian minority.

It is worth mentioning that many Greek fascists participated in the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, helping the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murder some 10,000 Bosnian civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

It has to be noted that they are a small island in the large sea of anti-fascist, liberal and democratic movements and parties. They represent 1-10 percent of the population in most European countries.But what could happen tomorrow? Nobody can predict where this financial chaos, initiated in America, is leading all of us. And it is important to remember that Hitler and Mussolini built their power starting with a few percent of the popular vote and just on the eve of a large global economic crisis.
.

ZUKIC: REFUGEE RETURN IN BOSNIA IS NOT SUCCESSFUL

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The process of refugee return is not successful in Bosnia, regardless the fact that it has positive sides. No one controlled money that was invested for solving the issues of refugees and displaced persons but that money was spent without partially and in an unknown way; it was pointed out by the President of the Bosnian union of associations of refugees, displaced persons and returnees (SIRL) Mirhunisa Zukic.

She, at the press-conference in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka, pointed out that that responsibility for the fact that refugee return was still not finished and that the problems of refugees and displaced persons are not solved is on the countries that signed the Dayton Peace Agreement and that were responsible for implementing that document and they did not do it.

She reminded that the rights of refugees, displaced persons and returnees were enabled and protected with the Annex VII of the Dayton Peace Agreement but the commission and the means fund that would guarantee compensation and return.

"International organizations directed us in other direction and therefore we got a complete non-coordination between domestic and international organizations”, Zukic pointed out. She also pointed out that therefore we have today completely exclusive ethnic areas in Bosnia and that there is almost no return in urban areas.


Zukic also talked about what SIRL did so far, pointing out that it was lobbied out for 307 000 houses to be reconstructed from the funds of domestic institutions and international organizations which makes 68 per cent of the total devastated housing fund in our country.

There are still 145.000 houses in Bosnia that were not reconstructed but only 43.000 housing units are recorded in the data base.
.

BOSNIAN TRADE DEFICIT REACHES 7 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The Bosnian trade exchange total amounted to 2,093,300,000 Bosnian Marks in September, it has been announced by the Bosnian State Statistics Agency. Export accounted for 616 billion Bosnian Marks or 29.5 per cent of that and import for 1.5 billion Bosnian Marks or 70.5 per cent. The export/import ratio was 41.8 per cent.

The nine-month export was worth around 5 billion Bosnian Marks, or 16.7 per cent more than same time last year, while import was up by 22.3 per cent and worth to 12 billion Bosnian Marks. During the same period, the export/import ratio was 41.7 per cent, and Bosnia’s trade deficit reached 7 billion Bosnian Marks.
.

WEEK STARTED WELL FOR SARAJEVO STOCK EXCHANGE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - The current week started well for the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE), bringing new increase to stock prices and indexes. All ten shares from the main index were traded yesterday, with only one closing in the negative – IK banka (-0.44 per cent).

Investors were putting most of their money on the Sarajevo tobacco factory (FDS) share (+7.62 per cent), whose value traded exceeded BAM 0.5 million.

The total turnover was 1,905,085 Bosnian Marks, the number of transactions was 357 and the number of shares traded 98,960. Sarajevo Postbanka saw the highest daily growth with 9.96 per cent, while Elektropromet Banovici lost the most (-1.84 per cent).

BIFX (funds) was 1.84 per cent in the positive and SASX-10 gained 6.06 per cent.
.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BOSNIA WARNED NOT TO DEPORT FORMER FOREIGN FIGHTER IMAD AL-HUSEIN TO SYRIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2008) — Amnesty International, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia, and Human Rights Watch called upon Bosnian authorities in Bosnia not to deport Imad Al Husein (also known as Abu Hamza al-Suri, his nom de guerre).He participated in the defence of Bosnia from the genocidal Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian fascist aggressors in the 1990's,and who is now detained by some criminals within the Bosnian government and may face deportation to Syria.

The organizations say that he should be freed from immigration detention immediately.

On October 6, 2008, the Bosnian authorities seized Al Husein in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and placed him in the Lukavica immigration detention center, pending possible deportation to Syria. Al Husein is on a hunger strike to protest his confinement and pending deportation.

“The authorities of Bosnia should act in accordance with the rule of law,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International. “Any measures taken should comply with the international obligations Bosnia has taken upon itself to respect.”

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has also warned Bosnia against deporting Al Husein before it has had an opportunity to consider his appeal to that body.

There is no current legal basis for detaining Al Husein. The deportation proceedings against him have been voided pending his hearing for asylum or a temporary residence permit. He is an unlikely flight risk due to his family situation and has complied with regular reporting requirements with the Bosnian State Agency for Foreigners.

“Bosnia should stop its illegal deportation proceedings against Imad Al Husein immediately and set him free,” said Ben Ward, Associate Director of the Europe & Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch.

It is believed that between 2,000 and 5,000 foreign fighters came to the country during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions ahainst Bosnia. Most of them left after the war, but a few hundred married Bosnian women, had families and remained in Bosnia.Abu Hamza is one of them.

He obtained Bosnian citizenship in 1994 but some criminals within the Bosnian government, claiming "he posed a threat to national security", revoked it in 2001.

Foreign and domestic Christian fundamentalist media has speculated that Abu Hamza may have been linked to al Qaeda - though none of those claims and accusations were backed up by any evidence.
.

BORROWING FROM BOSNIAN BANKS INCREASES RAPIDLY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2008) – According to the Bosnian National Banking Association the loans of the Bosnian commercial banks totalled 14.5 billion Bosnian Marks as of June 30, 2008, which was by almost 2 billion Bosnian Marks more compared to the end of 2007.

The retail sector accounted for 6.3 billion Bosnian Marks of that sum, whereas the remainder was borrowed by the corporate sector. Since late 2007, the debt of the Bosnian citizens increased by 700 million Bosnian Marks.
.

OSCE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2008) – OSCE parliamentarians are in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today to visit the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and observe the implementation of the Mission's mandate, including its work to combat human trafficking.

Tomorrow, the delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will participate in a roundtable discussion with members of the Bosnian State Parliament on "Eradicating human trafficking as a political priority".

The OSCE's Special Representative and Co-ordinator on Human Trafficking, Eva Biaudet, will join the delegation to contribute her expertise on the issue and to enhance awareness of the role that parliamentarians play in the fight against human trafficking.

The OSCE Parliamentary Delegation is led by Robert Battelli, Special Representative of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President on South-Eastern Europe, who will also chair the inter-parliamentary discussion.

Ilija Filipovic, First Deputy Speaker of the Bosnian State Parliament's House of People, will open the event, and Biaudet will discuss the role of parliaments in the fight against human trafficking. Other speakers include Branko Zrno, Head of the Bosnian Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and Ambassador Vadim Kuznetsov, Acting Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections.

The OSCE is an ad hoc organization under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII), and is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its 56 participating States are from Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America and cover most of the northern hemisphere. It was created during the Cold War era as an East-West forum.
.

Friday, October 17, 2008

REGIONAL STOCK EXCHANGE CONFERENCE HELD IN VIENNA

VIENNA, Austria (October 17,2008) - Representatives of six southeastern European states attended a two-day international stock exchange conference Wednesday and Thursday in Vienna,Austria.

The conference brought together regional stock exchange delegates from Bosnia,Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro,Serbia and Croatia.

The conference aimed to acquaint the biggest securities issuers in the region with their capital markets and to attract international investors.
.

BOSNIAN POLICE ARRESTED SIX PEOPLE FOR ARMS SMUGGLING

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2008) - Bosnian police arrested six people involved in a weapons smuggling ring that includes unspecified EU countries.The six were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday in Sarajevo and three other central Bosnian cities - Travnik, Vitez and Zenica,the head of the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) Dragan Lukac said.

A large number of weapons, including 30 guns, six machine guns, 100 hand grenades and 1,000 bullets, were seized during the search in eight locations throughout the country, another SIPA official said, adding an unspecified amount of Swiss francs were also seized.

The weapons were "planned to be sold and transferred out of Bosnia, in certain EU countries," Lukac said.

He denied any link between the operation and another carried out here in September and October, in which nine people were arrested on similar charges.
.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT FAILS TO MEET EXPECTATIONS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 17,2008) - In the first six months of 2008, the Bosnian economy did not experience positive effects on the trade exchange as a result of the CEFTA membership, it was said yesterday at the 4th forum of CEFTA chambers of commerce.The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is a trade agreement between Non-EU countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe.

The forum organized by the Bosnian Chamber of Foreign Trade opened in Sarajevo yesterday.

CEFTA also failed in meeting expectations in the areas of investment, the general standard of living, employment, etc, it was also said, and its impact is generally rated as minor to non-existent. After six months, Bosnia’s trade deficit has exceeded 4.6 billion Bosnian Marks.

According to an analysis unveiled yesterday, Bosnia has the most liberal trade policy in the southeastern Europe, and more than 30 per cent of trade exchange is done with the region.
.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BOSNIAN BANKING SECTOR REMAINS RESILIENT TO GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2008) - At yesterday's session of Bosnian State Presidency, the Bosnian Minister of Finance and Treasury Dragan Vrankić has informed the Bosnian Presidency about the possible consequences of the world financial crisis for Bosnia.

The report was given at the request of the Bosnian State Presidency members.

Minister Vrankić said that the Bosnian banking sector is sound and stable, that the banks were liquid and the consequences of financial crisis that affected the world would not directly reflect on Bosnia.

He informed the Bosnian Presidency members that resistance of banking system was ensured by strict legal measures of agencies for bank security and deposit insurance as well as high rate of obligatory reserve which business banks must keep in Bosnian Central Bank.

The Bosnian State Presidency is convinced that discernible mistrust of the Bosnian citizens, who have money deposed in banks and have been raising it lately, is ungrounded.

The Bosnian Presidency assumes that mistrust towards banks could reflect on the capacity of banks to invest in the Bosnian economy, which still has negative consequences for economic growth and also the standard of all Bosnian citizens.

According to the Bosnian State Presidency, Bosnia will not have the crisis of banking sector which occurred at the world banking scene.
.