Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BOSNIA CELEBRATES STATEHOOD DAY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - Bosnian authorities organised a series of events to mark Statehood Day yesterday.

A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic sent his greetings to all Bosnian citizens on the occasion of November 25, the Bosnian Statehood Day.

”I want us to mark this national holiday in dignity, remembering all those who gave their lives for foundation of the Bosnian state. The duty of us all who love this country is to remember the victims who fell for its freedom, independence and sovereignty, to build a modern, multiethnic and multicultural state for all its citizens without discrimination on any basis”, stated Silajdzic in his greetings.

On the occasion of November 25th,the Bosnian Statehood Day, flowers were laid and tribute was paid to the Bosnian soldiers killed during the World War II on Tuesday in front of the Eternal Flame in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic, representatives of the City and Canton Sarajevo, SABNOR members, members of the Democratic Youth Movement, SDA Party and citizens of Sarajevo laid the flowers.

Bosnian State Presidency member Zeljko Komsic delivered the following speech on the occasion of the Bosnian Statehood Day:

"Councilors of ZAVNOBIH, dear comrades, ladies and gentlemen, Your Excellencies, dear friends, respected officials…

On today’s day, exactly 65 yaers ago, at the first session of ZAVNOBIH held in Mrkonjic Grad, 173 councilors from Bosnia took part in the session.

Out of 173 afore mentioned councilors, 8 are still alive. Unfortunately, for health reasons following councilors are not attending this ceremony: Boro Popovic, Ibro Sator, Rade Hamovic and Enver Redzic. However, we have the honour to host other councilors, including: Krstan Bijeljac, Oskar Danon, Ljubo Babic and Mile Perkovic. I would kindly ask you to greet them.

I extend my sincere greetings to you all and congratulate you the National Day.

Celebrating this national holiday, when 65 years ago in Mrkonjic Grad, in Europe besieged by fascism, in the middle of seized territory, a landmark occurred in the history of our country, let us recall this important historic date, as a foundation stone, upon which modern, democratic Bosnia rests.

I will not repeat this time the legendary ‘3 and’ or ‘nor 3’ from the ZAVNOBIH session, but I will remind you that it was the session of the Council of Bosnia's antifascists from all the peoples living in Bosnia. It is true that antifascist movement was led by communists, but the fact is that most antifascist and patriots were not members of Communist party of Yugoslavia.

I would like to point out that we are talking about the event which not only confirms the continuity of the Bosnian statehood, in the only right way. And that is- every citizen of Bosnia is equal in his rights and way of life, regardless of the part of Bosnia he lives in, and regardless of the fact whether or not he belongs to ‘majority or minority’ in that part of our homeland. Or, to put it simplier-Bosnia, every part of it, even the smallest one, belongs to every Bosnian citizen.

In its history which is thousands of years old, its peoples have demonstrated, although they suffered and lived through numerous blows dealt by various enemies and policies, that peace, tolerance, and co-existence become something of a genetic code, to put it that way.

I would like to send out the message to our friends from international community, to those, who, as opposed to us from Bosnia, all this might not strike them as something close and familiar.

I am aware of the fact that, those who do not wish well to our country, tell stories to you who are not from here, trying to convince you of something, present you with the so-called historical facts, that almost ‘the natural condition’ of this country is conflict, lack of tolerance, and the only way to peace and stability is division, separation, ethnic disintegration, to the stories that Bosnia should be wiped off the face of political world map.

However, if that is the way things are, don’t you think that this country would have disintegrated before, and that history would have waited for its present enemies to complete their task?

Bosnia has neither disintegrated nor separated before the forces of that time, including Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Ustasas’ NDH, cetnik military movement, before neighbouring fascists at the end of the 20th century. Those were forces too strong for such a small country, but small Bosnia still exists. I think that all things said lead to a irrefutable conclusion!

Conflicts and wars in Bosnia have always been bloody and fierce, but according to historical parameters, they lasted shortly, and most importantly, they were always imported, started beyond the boundaries of Bosnia.

Dear friends…

There is no doubt that ZAVNOBIH is a foundation stone of modern Bosnian statehood, but also that it is a model which points to the way we cannot only live together, but equitably and happily, something that no country can live without.

If we live in the same country, if we are the citizens of the same country, than the minimum of civilized behaviour, historical recollection and civic culture implies to celebrate today’s date as the common national holiday of all its citizens and peoples.

As for the appropriate mode of celebrating the National Day, that is, the reason for not celebrating it in certain parts of Bosnia, I would like to repeat the following:

The date of signing the Dayton Peace Agreement I consider as an important date in the recent history of Bosnia, which should be celebrated in a dignified manner, but 25th November, the date of celebration of ZAVNOBIH, and reaching decisions, I personally find of utmost importance, as a crucial landmark, and the sole National Day of Bosnia.

It is the task of this generation to path the way towards the common future, and that is free, democratic and prosperous Bosnia.

Our only future is Bosnia as the unity of equal and egalitarian peoples, a society composed of equal and egalitarian citizens where there would not be those with fewer or no rights, and those with more rights.

Finally, what we must remember on today’s path to European Union is that we must learn from the rest of Europe, take advice, learn from its experience, of course, not haphazardly, and never fail to remember that we can and must do for ourselves mostly by our own forces.

With the wish to remain adamant in building and strengthening of our country, as a country of well-being, security, and common well-being, I would like once again to extend my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the Bosnian National Day!

Thank you!"

.

CROATIAN PRESIDENT STJEPAN MESIC VISITED TUZLA

TUZLA, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - The President of Croatia Stjepan Mesic visited the northeastern Bosnian city of Tuzla yesterday due to marking the Bosnian Statehood Day.

Croatian President Mesic was welcomed by the initiators and organizers of his visit, University in Tuzla Rector Dzemo Tufekcic and Tuzla Canton Prime Minister Enes Mujic.
.

MOLDOVA TO HOST CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING

CHISINAU, Moldova (November 26,2008) - Moldova is to host the summit of heads of governments of the Central European Initiative (CEI) on 28 November due to its holding the chairmanship of this organization starting from 1 January 2008.

Delegations from about 20 countries and representatives of different international and regional organisations are to participate in the summit. The summit's agenda includes discussions related to cooperation for Europe's future, the coordination of the CEI's activities within regional political priorities, the development of the CEI-EU dialogue.

The main objectives of Moldova's chairmanship were to carry out the CEI reform, adopted by the CEI heads of governments within the Sofia summit in 2007, to ease the transfer of experience between the EU member and non member states, to implement joint projects, to foster CEI cooperation with other regional bodies.

According tot he meeting's agenda, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin is to greet the participants in the opening of the summit.

The Central European Initiative was founded in 1989 as a forum of intergovernmental political, economic and cultural cooperation. At present, the CEI's main goal is to support the developing countries to join the EU.

Moldova became the 17th CEI member in 1996, during the summit in Graz, Austria. At present, the CEI has 18 member states: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary.
.

BOSNIAN ALUMINUM PRODUCER ALUMINIJ MOSTAR TO CUT OUTPUT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - Bosnia's aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar will cut production and jobs in 2009 because of low prices for the metal and high electricity prices, the company's general manager said.

Bosnia's largest exporter did not give details of the planned cuts but said government policy had forced it to buy electricity under commercial prices instead of more favourable local prices.

It said in a statement it had lost 24.5 million Euros (30.86 million US Dollars) in 2008 due to high electricity prices.

General Manager Mijo Brajkovic said the price of aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had fallen almost 50 percent in past months, "resulting in about 15 million US Dollars less in revenues per month".

"Because of all of this, Aluminij has found itself in a very difficult situation and will be forced to reduce production in 2009, fire workers and file a lawsuit against all relevant institutions which brought it into inferior position compared with other electricity consumers," he said in the statement.

Aluminij had previously said it expects 2008 output to rise to 140,000 tonnes of metal from 121,750 tonnes in 2007, after it completed the modernisation of its anode plant in September. It has a 970-strong workforce.

Brajkovic said the policy was also jeopardising the sale of Aluminij to a consortium led by Swiss-based commodities trader Glencore GLEN.UL.

The fall in metals prices due to the global financial crisis poses a threat to the Bosnian economy in 2009 as metals account for around 40 percent of its total exports.

Bosnia's largest steel maker Arcelor Mittal Zenica, a unit of ArcelorMittal, has said it has selectively cut deliveries to some markets to accommodate current demand. But it has not announced output or job cuts.

Ljubija iron ore mines in the northwest of the country, also part of ArcelorMittal, has said it expected a 20 percent fall in 2008 output to 1.2 million tonnes from a planned 1.5 million.
.

HEAD OF EU POLICE MISSION VISITED BOSNIAN STATE INVESTIATION AND PROTECTION AGENCY

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - Stefan Feller, Head of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM), met yesterday with Mirko Lujic, Head of the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), who informed him about the present situation and cooperation of SIPA with other law enforcement agencies in Bosnia.

The two top police officials discussed ways to improve the fight against organized crime in Bosnia, and stressed the importance of a smooth information and intelligence exchange amongst the Bosnian law enforcement agencies.

In order to improve the cooperation amongst Bosnia's police agencies the Heads of EUPM and SIPA suggested that the representatives of the various Bosnian law enforcement agencies, police agencies and prosecutor’s offices alike, should hold a series of meetings.

The Head of EUPM said that he would strongly support activities aiming to create the necessary pre-conditions for the further development of the Agency, especially as far as human and technical resources are concerned.

One of the ways to achieve this is to amend the existing law regulations in order to allow SIPA to recruit more new employees, particularly junior and senior inspectors and senior inspector. SIPA is still not at its full strength, currently reaching 68 percent of its full capacity.

The working meeting was also attended by the Deputy Director of SIPA Sead Lisak and EUPM's Chief Adviser to SIPA Brian Donley.
.

BOSNIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH TO SLOW DOWN TO 4,5 PER CENT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - In its 2008 Transition Report released yesterday, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has made an assessment that in the current year the Bosnian GDP growth rate would drop to six per cent (from 6.8 per cent in 2007), and further to 4.5 per cent in the following year.

The EBRD expects slower economic growth in all other transitional countries in the southeastern Europe, as a result of the global economic crisis and instability in the financial market.

The bank urges all the countries in which is has invested to make the stabilization of their banking systems a priority.

EBRD’s economist Peter Sanfey said they are still convinced in mid-term growth perspective for Bosnia, but reminded that there are numerous reform tasks before the Bosnian government, such as public administration reform, improving the business climate and maintaining macroeconomic stability.
.

BOSNIAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES BOOST THEIR PRESENCE ABROAD

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 26,2008) - The value of construction work completed by Bosnian companies abroad has increased in the third quarter of 2008 by impressive 72.1 percent, compared to the third quarter of 2007, while in the first nine months of this year it went up by 47.7 per cent.

However, data from the Bosnian National Statistics Agency also show that the value of new building contracts in the third quarter of 2008 dropped by 42.9 percent, while in the first nine months it was up by 15.3 percent. African countries accounted for the biggest share of completed construction work (59 percent).
.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YUGOSLAV ARMY PARTICIPATED IN THE SIEGE OF THE BOSNIAN CAPITAL SARAJEVO

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (November 25,2008) - Elite Yugoslav Army units participated in the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo in 1993,former high-ranking VJ officer Borivoje Tešić told the trial of former Chief of General Staff of the Yugoslav Army (Vojska Jugoslavije "VJ") Serbian war criminal Momčilo Perišić before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Tešić confirmed yesterday that he had led a special VJ unit, some 100 strong, in the region around the Sarajevo suburb of Vogošća in late December 1993.

At the time, Tešić was an operative officer in the VJ’s Guards Brigade.

He also confirmed that the VJ’s 72nd Special Brigade had also been active in Vogošća, adding that he had received orders from then Special Corps Chief-of-Staff Ljubiša Stanimirović to assist in the evacuation of the brigade’s members and the recovery of the corpses of eight special unit members.

Tešić said that as commander of the Special Corps, Miodrag Panić had not had the authority to order such a maneuver, which was why he had presumed that the orders had come from VJ HQ in Belgrade,Serbia.

Serbian war criminal Momčilo Perišić was VJ commander-in-chief at the time. Tešić also told the court that VJ officers had sent reports on a daily basis to the VJ’s Special Corps Operations Center.

Most of the witness’s testimony has been closed to the public, because of the confidentiality of the documents in question.

Serbian war criminal Momčilo Perišić is accused of providing logistical and financial support to supporting the genocidal paramilitary fascist forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia and Croatia, as well as of playing a major role in a four-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that left about 12,000 Bosnian civilians dead, the bombing of the Croatian capital Zagreb that killed seven Croatian civilians and injured 194 and participation in the Srebrenica genocide, where over 10,000 Bosnian civilians were mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor in July 1995.
.

SECRETARY GENERAL OF MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE MET WITH HEAD OF BOSNIAN HAJJ MISSION

HOLY CITY OF MAKKAH, Saudi Arabia (November 25,2008) - Secretary General of Muslim World League (MWL) Dr Abdullah Al-Turki received here yesterday Head of the Bosnian Hajj Mission Sheikh Mursal Mahmoud Tawfeeq.

Speaking on the occasion, Tawfeeq highlighted the great efforts being exerted by the Saudi Government to ensure the comfort of the pilgrims.

He noted that the Bosnian Muslims have benefited from the Islamic centers established by the Kingdom in Bosnia and so many of Bosnian students study at the schools and institutes established by Saudi Arabia in the country.
.

BOSNIA BECAME ASSOCIATED TO THE SEVENTH EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK RESEARCH PROGRAMME (FP7)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (November 25,2008) - Yesterday, Bosnia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Commission which will allow full access to the EC's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) which runs from 2007 to 2013.

This "associated status" will allow Bosnia to participate in all calls for proposals and compete on an equal footing with the EU Member States and the other associated countries for research co-operation and support actions funded under FP7, as of 1 January 2009.

This agreement is an important step in Bosnia's integration into the European Research Area and in the pre-accession process for European Union membership. Bosnia is the 12th country associated to FP7.

The status of FP7 associated country will provide all scientific entities from Bosnia – researchers, universities, associations or companies – with the possibility of participating in research cooperation with their counterparts across European Union and the rest of the world in order to build up their scientific excellence, including in scientific fields crucial to facilitate the implementation of EU legislation and standards.

With Bosnia and Herzegovina, all Western Balkan countries are now associated to FP7 which will increase the research opportunities in the Region and support the regional competitiveness.

“I am pleased to see that with Bosnia's association to the FP7, we have all the Balkan countries on board to participate in the European Research Area”, said Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

“Research cooperation with Europe's scientific community is a tool that can smooth the way for the integration process of candidate and potential candidate countries into the European Union. In addition to forging links with scientists and companies across Europe, Bosnia will have new opportunities to work with its regional partners in addressing common challenges."

Commissioner Potočnik signed the Memorandum on behalf of the European Commission at a ceremony held in Brussels yesterday, with the Bosnian Minister for Civil Affairs Sredoje Novic, who represented Bosnia.

The FP7 supports scientific research in the EU and the broader European Research Area with a budget of almost 55 billion Euros over a time span of 7 years (2007-2013). It allows for funding of collaborative research in strategic areas such as health; energy; climate change, information technologies, nanotechnology or transport. FP7 also stimulates the mobility of researchers through Marie-Curie grants and has special programmes to support capacity building such as research infrastructure, research for small and medium sized enterprises and Science in Society.

The associated countries to date are Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Israel, Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania.
.

IMF: GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS WILL NOT SLOW DOWN BOSNIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 25,2008) - In a statement for the media after a meeting with Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, IMF’s Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal asserted yesterday that Bosnia is well-positioned macroeconomically to respond to the challenges of the global financial crisis.

Economic growth has been high and inflation rate low in the past period, Portugal said, and welcomed the start of operations of the Fiscal Council. He also underlined the importance of adopting entity and national budgets by the end of this year.

Both sides agreed in their assessment that the global financial crisis will not slow down Bosnia’s economic growth dramatically. An IMF monitoring team will visit Bosnia to help with the crisis management.
.

Monday, November 24, 2008

NATO AND EU CONCERNED ABOUT POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA

BRUSSELS, Belgium (November 24,2008) - The North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the European Union met on 24 November 2008 to discuss the spouyheastern Europe, in particular the political situation in Bosnia.

“We are concerned about the situation in Bosnia, and about the rhetoric,” EU foreign policy Chief Javier Solana said after the meeting.

NATO leaders have called on Bosnia’s three most influential political parties, which signed an agreement over some of the most hotly contested issues in the country, to put the deal into practice.

“It is important that there is agreement and that the agreement is implemented,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

“We have the text now and implementation is important,” he added.

Leaders of the three most influential political parties in Bosnia agreed at the beginning of November, on the basic principles of how to resolve some of the key issues, including those required for the transition of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) into the Office of the EU Special Representative (EUSR), and to push ahead with the country’s European Union accession.

President of the the largest Bosnian political party "SDA" Sulejman Tihic,President of the largest political party of the Croatians living in Bosnia "HDZ" Dragan Covic and President of the largest political party of the Serbians living in Bosnia "SNSD" and leader of the genocidal Serbian fascist creature in Bosnia "RS" Milorad Dodik met on November 8 near the northern Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac with the aim of reaching an agreement over the several highly disputed issues.

In only two hours, they reached a general agreement on a process of future constitutional changes, questions that would be covered in 2011 census, as well as regulation of the status of the Brcko District and state property.

But much of the debate following the agreement has been almost as heated as the debate preceding it. The agreement was made possible because two parties from the ruling coalition – the SBIH Party, and the HDZ1990 Party – were not invited to the meeting. Both parties are junior partners in the ruling coalition at the state level.

HDZ1990 President Bozo Ljubic said the agreement on the process of future constitutional changes is “unacceptable”. He accused the three parties of trying to establish “a monopoly” in representing the three main ethnic groups in Bosnia, as well as full control over the most lucrative public companies.

a member of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic from the SBIH Party went further and accused Tihic and SDA of betraying Bosnian national interests and yielding before Serbian fascists. Silajdzic stressed that only the agreement on the legalisation of the status of the Brcko District is acceptable, and rejected all other agreed items.
.

THY BUYS 49% STAKE IN B&H AIRLINES

SARAJEVO ,Bosnia (November 24,2008) - The Bosnian government approved yesterday the sale of a 49 percent stake in the Bosnian national carrier B&H Airlines to Turkish Airlines (THY).

THY Chairman Candan Karlıtekin said yesterday they are still continuing talks with their Bosnian counterparts to finalize the sale, adding that a deal with B&H Airlines on the transfer of shares will be signed soon.

Previously, Karlıtekin had said they expected to get a voice in the European aviation market with the B&H Airlines agreement. He noted again yesterday that they will have an airline company in Europe, stressing that, although B&H Airlines is a small company, this step was nevertheless important for bringing THY closer to its goal of having an effective presence in the global market.

Karlıtekin noted that B&H Airlines had significant market potential despite its small size.

"The company has a 14 percent market share in Bosnia and we expect to increase this threefold with the new investments that we plan to make," he said.

THY will have three representatives on the B&H Airlines executive board and they do not plan to go beyond the 49 percent share they are currently working on. THY aims to increase flights between the southeastern European countries, as well as flights to London's Heathrow Airport, the largest airport in England.
.

CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE YOUTH FORUM STARTS IN MOLDOVA

CHISINAU, Moldova (November 24,2008) - Representatives from 12 countries have gathered together for the eighth Youth Forum of the Central European Initiative (CEI). The event is hosted by Moldova, which has been holding the CEI presidency since 1 January 2009.

Moldovan Education and Youth Minister Larisa Savga said that the Forum's goal is to consolidate the Youth trough mobility, which offers equal chances to students and teachers to study in the European countries. In the context, Savga said that the education system of Moldova, which joined the Bologna Process in May 2005, meets the European standards.

Savga said that the academic changes are underway in Moldova and noted that over 300 scholarships to study abroad were offered to Moldovan students in 2008, but this number is much higher due to the higher mobility between education institutions.

The participants in the Forum are to sign today the final declaration on the promotion of opportunities for schools to ensure better conditions for teaching and learning foreign languages, to participate in the European educational exchange and mobility programmes, to facilitate transition between educational systems and to promote the free movement of young people in Europe.

The CEI is composed of 18 states: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary.
.

TIGHT SECURITY IN MOSTAR AMID CLASHES

MOSTAR, Bosnia (November 24,2008) - Local police deployed additional troops to prevent the latest in a series of clashes among Bosnian youths and Croatians living in Bosnia in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar.

Dozens of teenagers gathered on Sunday night on each side of Mostar’s main Boulevard, the thoroughfare which passes through the centre of town, which was the wartime front line between the Croatian fascist aggressor and the Bosnian Army. Alerted by members of the general public, local police swiftly deployed and prevented an incident.

Up to five persons were briefly detained, police officials told media today.

Ethnic tensions among youths in Mostar soared after a brawl broke out during a local soccer match last week. Throughout the week these tensions triggered a series of smaller incidents and escalated in a major fight on Friday afternoon, which involved a few dozen youths.

One Bosnian teenager was slightly injured in the clash. On that occasion, police arrested one and identified four more suspects. Because of the soaring tensions, police maintained a reinforced presence in the city throughout the weekend, ready to prevent any further violence.

Police officials also complained that the city school administration was aware of the brewing tensions but did nothing to prevent it or alert the police in time.

Bosnians and Croatians living in Bosnia fought bitterly for a year during the 1992-1995 Croatian aggression against Bosnia. Mostar was heavily damaged during this conflict.

The international community has invested extra efforts in normalising the situation in the city.
.

EUROPEAN BANK FOR REONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT TO MAINTAIN STRONG PRESENCE IN BOSNIA

TUZLA, Bosnia (November 24,2008) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will maintain strong presence in Bosnia, and continue to endorse banks, microfunding organizations, the financial sector and all the other elements of the Bosnian economy, the head of the bank’s country office Giulio Moreno has announced.

However, he has also said, EBRD’s capacities are limited, and the Bosnian government need to take appropriate measures. Speaking at a Tuzla conference about the effects of the global financial conference, Moreno said that the Bosnian authorities have several typical steps at their disposal in times of crisis, and one of them are tax benefits on new investments.

All the other measures boosting the purchasing power are also a part of that. He expects big problems in Bosnia’s real economy, and not so much in banking and financial sectors.

The EBRD is owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions. Despite its public sector shareholders, it invests mainly in private enterprises, usually together with commercial partners.

EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly owned companies to support privatization, restructuring state-owned firms and improvement of municipal services.

The following countries are members and recipients of investments : Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
.

Friday, November 21, 2008

UNITED STATES STRONGLY SUPPORTS BOSNIA'S EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION

BRUSSELS, Belgium (October 21,2008) - - A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic talked to the US Deputy State Secretary Daniel Fried yesterday in Brussels. Fried repeated the strong support of the United States to Bosnia's Euro-Atlantic integration and expressed his interest in reform process in the country.

Silajdzic expressed concern due to attempts to legalize results of genocide and "ethnic cleansing" through ethnic census in Bosnia, and pointed out that EUROSTAT and UNDP principles do not request ethnic category in the census.

Silajdzic also pointed out his attitude that the solving the issue on state property should not go into direction of the legalization of illegal circulation of the state property.

He pointed out that the status of the state property was confirmed by the Agreement on the succession issues of ex Yugoslavia, according to which the right of ownership of the state property belongs to the Bosnian state since the Independence Day, and that transmission of the ownership to the entities has no basis; it was announced yesterday from the Bosnian Presidency member Silajdzic’s cabinet.
.

883 REMAINS OF GENOCIDE VICTIMS FROM SREBRENICA EXHUMED

ZVORNIK, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - - Bosnian forensic expert team from Tuzla has exhumed 50 complete and 883 partial remains of the genocide victims from mass graves Kamenica 11 and 12.

According to Murat Husic, head of the expert team, these are remains of the Bosnian civilians from Srebrenica mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggresor in July 1995.

Exhumation from mass grave “Kamenica 11” shall continue while “Kamenica 12” will be closed.

According to the number of revealed genocide victims’ remains, these are the largest mass graves recovered in this part of Bosnia so far.
.

BOSNIA NEEDS A THOROUGH POLICE REFORM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives o Wednesday discussed the current security situation in Bosnia, requested by the Bosnian Ministry of Security.

The Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic stated yesterday that the information sent to the parliament is a cross section and review of all events related to security issues and that it showed realistically the security situation in Bosnia.

He reminded that this information is comprised of individual agencies which deliver it to the ministry of security, starting from SIPA, Border Poice, OSA, Immigration Service, entity and cantonal police directions.

Minister Sadovic stated that the police system in Bosnia is divided and poorly connected and that it has a lot of problems in the fight against organized crime exactly due to these facts.

He added that the similar case is with corruption. Fight against corruption is a fight which takes place through various police agencies, different prosecutions and according to the strategy for the fight against organized crime, there are 26 different institutions in this country which deal with corruption.
.

MAJOR INTERNATIONAL POWERS URGE BOSNIA TO FOCUS ON EU MEMBERSHIP

BRUSSELS, Belgium (October 21,2008) - - The international powers that have supervised post-civil war Bosnia for 13 years told the country’s politicians yesterday "to stop their divisive rhetoric and focus on the long-term goal of European Union membership".

After two days of talks in Brussels, the EU, Russia, the US and other countries decided political conditions were not yet calm enough in Bosnia to permit the transfer of controls to EU authorities from the international high representative who has held the job since 1995.

The big powers agreed unanimously that the International Community’s High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and a major political supporter of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "RS" ,Slovakian fascist clown Miroslav Lajcak, should still remain in place until Bosnia’s politicians fulfil two conditions set by the powers in February. These concern the apportionment of state property among the different levels of Bosnian government.

Bosnia secured an important breakthrough in June, when it signed a pre-accession accord with the EU, but ethnic rivalries intensified once more in the build-up to local elections last month. The EU deems Bosnia as worthy in principle of joining the EU, but as nowhere near that objective in practice.

Under the Dayton accords that ended the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia, the country acquired one of Europe’s most complicated constitutional structures, with a weak state government.
.

UNITED NATIONS EXTENDS EUROPEAN UNION'S PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN BOSNIA

NEW YORK, United Nations (October 21,2008) - - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to extend the European Union's peacekeeping force in Bosnia for a year, emphasizing the importance of the country's progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Since 1995,the country has been under international administration, first under NATO and now under the EU.

The resolution was approved unanimously late yesterday, and welcomed the EU's intention to retain its 2,100-strong military presence, known as EUFOR, in the country.

The U.N. Security Council also reminded Bosnia's politicians that it is primarily their responsibility to implement the Dayton peace agreement that ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian agressions against Bosnia.

The council stressed that international willingness to provide political, military and economic aid to Bosnia will be determined by the compliance and active participation by Bosnia's political leaders in maintaining peace and rebuilding the country.

The resolution also emphasizes the importance of Bosnia's progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration, saying that its signing of a pre-membership agreement with the EU in marked a key step forward.
.

BOSNIA ENCOURAGES MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

OHRID, Macedonia (October 21,2008) - - There is considerable energy potential in Bosnia, but the resources are still not being used fully.Bosnia will encourage foreign investment in its energy sector and will continue to improve the environment for such investment,Chairman of the Bosnian State Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic asserted at the fifth regional economic forum in Ohrid,Macedonia.

Here is his entire speech:

"Esteemed Presiding,
Distinguished Presidents,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to greet you and to thank the organizer for inviting me to participate in this Forum. It is of a crucial importance for our European future and regional cooperation to exchange our views and experiences and encourage cooperation in all areas of importance to our peoples as well as mutually good relations trough these or similar gatherings.

Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved considerable recovery and economic prosperity in the past 13 years. Strong investment activity, financed by donations of the international community, has contributed to the high post-war GDP real growth rate. What encourages us is the fact that economic growth was also continued after the foreign help was reduced. In the period 2002 – 2007, the average economic growth was 5.2 % annually, which puts Bosnia and Herzegovina at the equal status with other states of the former Yugoslavia. In spite of this, Bosnia and Herzegovina is lagging behind its neighbors, concerning GDP per capita. The reasons for that greatly lie in the past war events, which left marks on its economy and population.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was successful in achieving macroeconomic stability. Domestic currency – Convertible Mark is stable, with the constant growth of foreign exchange reserves. The fiscal budget balance has been established, thanks to the successful tax reforms, and especially the introduction of value added tax. Fiscal discipline has been intensified due to establishment of the treasury business transactions and the public sector audit office. Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to establish a competitive banking sector with strong supervisory bodies.

Long lasting unemployment rate and high foreign trade deficit represent the main hindrance to the economic growth and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is due to the low rankings in competitiveness of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s economy. We are aware that the competitive economy cannot be accomplished only by creating the stable macroeconomic environment. It is necessary to build the efficient institutions, mastering the contemporary technologies, developing corporative management, investing into research and development, together with the appropriate level of economic freedom and entrepreneur capacities. Building competitive economy represents a difficult, lasting and complex process that requires constant and persistent work, which is confirmed by experiences of developed countries. We must use all our creative energy in fostering competitive economy for our better future and the well-being for the generations to come.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is significantly lagging behind in building necessary infrastructure for joining the European integration and global market. Therefore, we are not surprised by the huge efforts put in by the European Union in investing infrastructure in order to ensure relatively equal conditions for development of all regions. The road infrastructure of Bosnia and Herzegovina has become an impediment for a greater scope of foreign trade cooperation with the neighborhood and the world. That is why our entities’ governments put in efforts to fix the situation in that field using concessions and our own resources. I would like to use this opportunity to express our readiness to build major regional road routes, trough joint ventures that would contribute to the faster development of the entire region.

Looking towards the future, the key challenge for Bosnia and Herzegovina and its economic development is in utilization of the electric power potentials through building new power generating plants, in order to resolve the growing needs in power supply in the country, and increase the export scope within the regional market. Entities’ governments have been undertaking the numerous initiatives and steps on attracting and engaging foreign capital for modernization the existing ones, as well as in building new capacities. The encouraging fact is that there is a great interest of foreign investors for investing in the power sector. That also represents a challenge for the countries of our region to start building more electric power capacities, through joint ventures. Bosnia and Herzegovina is open for that way of cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are about to face the years of high uncertainty, caused by the world financial crisis. It is sure that the economic crisis will not avoid this region. There is no doubt that the international financial crisis will indirectly influence the countries of the whole region and reduce the prospects for continuation of high economic growth rates from the previous years. In regard with Bosnia and Herzegovina, it could be expected that the economic crisis will reflect to several key segments. First, banking credits will be more expensive which will reduce the scope of investments and liquidity in the economy, the scope of total demand for goods and services, and slow down the economic growth. Second, there is a justified fear of lowering direct foreign investments flow. Third, recession, which will probably take Europe and the Region, being our most important foreign trade partners, will have a detrimental effect on export, which is our crucial need. Fourth, it could be expected that the value of our diaspora remittances lowers, particularly due to the recession which may cause loosing the jobs for part of this population. Fifth, further privatization of the state capital in the companies will be slowed down, since this is not a very favorable time for their sale.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the advantage of having the foreign debt, both public and private, relatively small, compared to the countries in the broader Region. Level of the bank credits is also moderate, and the credits are quite well secured. These are significant advantages for mitigation of the economic crisis consequences.

Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, entities’ respective governments and the Central bank have undertaken necessary measures for preservation of financial stability. However, the future time will certainly require undertaking numerous new measures. Before all, more attention and efforts should be put in the issues which contribute to improvement of competitive abilities of the economy, in order to increase export. It is necessary, as much as possible, to direct a part of public expenditures into production purposes, in order to mitigate negative effects of investment reduction. Economic crisis imposes the need for protection of socially vulnerable categories of the population which are the most sensitive to its consequences. In simple terms, it is necessary to realize a more productive production, lower spending, higher saving, and export more while importing less.

Global crisis should be resolved jointly with other players, to the extent possible, at the same time not neglecting our own interests. In times like these, great economic powers primarily preserve their own interests. In our reality, we must not allow ourselves to be a collateral damage of the world financial crisis.

Global financial crisis requires global responses. The time has shown that it is impossible to manage the 21st century economics with the 20th century instruments. Many rules of playing in the world financial market must be changed, in order to have the global financial system preserved from any imprudent moves.

Thank you!"
.

BOSNIAN TRADE DEFICIT REACHES 8 BILLION BOSNIAN MARKS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 21,2008) - Official statistical data about Bosnia’s trade exchange were announced today at a press conference in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

In October 2008, Bosnia's exports were worth 583 million Bosnian Marks, while its imports amounted to 1.543 billion Bosnian Marks. The export/import ratio was 37.8 per cent last month.

In the first ten months, exports totalled 5.729 billion Bosnian Marks – by 15.9 per cent more compared to the same period of 2007, while imports grew by 21.7 per cent, to 13.88 billion Bosnian Marks.

The export/import ratio was 41.3 per cent, and trade deficit reached 8.152 billion Bosnian Marks. Croatia was the main trade partner, accounting for 17 per cent of imports and 17.5 per cent of exports.
.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

U.S. JUDGE ORDERS RELEASE OF FIVE BOSNIAN CITIZENS HELD AT GUANTANAMO PRISON

WASHINGTON DC, USA (November 20,2008) - A US judge has ruled today that five Bosnian citizens of Algerian origin held in the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for almost seven years had been illegally detained and must be freed.

Richard Leon, a US district judge in Washington DC, said the US government had "failed to show by burden of proof" that the five men had allegedly planned to go to Afghanistan to fight US-led forces there.

However the judge did find that a sixth man,Bensayah Belkacem, seized alongside the other men in Bosnia in 2001, had been "legally detained".

Six Bosnian citizens of Algerian origin,Bensayah Belkacem, Mustafa Adir, Saber Lahmar, Mohammed Nehle, Lakdar Boumedien and Boudellah Hadz, known as the Algerian Group, were arrested in Bosnia in October 2001 under suspicion of planning possible attacks against US and British diplomatic missions in Bosnia.

Although the Bosnian Supreme Court ordered their release, after finding no evidence of their alleged involvement in terrorist activities, then premier Lagumdzija ordered their arrest again in January 2002 and handed them over to the US authorities.

The ruling follows the first hearings under a landmark US Supreme Court ruling in June, based on a case brought by lawyers for Lakhdar Boumediene, one of the Algerian men, that gave Guantanamo prisoners the legal right to challenge their continued detention.

The June ruling said that inmates in Guantanamo Bay had the right to know under what charges they were being held and what the evidence was against them.

Thursday's decision marks a fresh embarrassment over the camp for the Bush administration and comes after Barack Obama, the US president-elect, pledged to close the prison camp after taking office in January.
.

BOSNIA WINS FRIENDLY AGAINST SLOVENIA 4:3

MARIBOR, Slovenia (November 20,2008) - Bosnia won yesterday a high-scoring encounter with Slovenia 4:3 (1:2). An early goal by the Bundesliga top scorer Vedad Ibisevic set the stage for a goal-rich friendly between Slovenia and Bosnia in Maribor,Slovenia.Zvjezdan Misimovic and Edin Dzeko also netted.

Ibišević set the tone early, scoring in the 2nd minute, and then drew a penalty about 15 minutes later, which Misimović converted for 2:0. A lapse in concentration let the Slovenians claw one back in the 27th, but Džeko and Ibišević scored again in the 53rd and 63rd minutes respectively. Slovenia’s top weapon, Milivoje Novakovič (Koln), eventually scored two more (one of them from the penalty spot) for the final 4:3.


Video: Slovenia - Bosnia 3:4 (1:2)

The big story of this game is the emergence of Ibišević. He’s had a fantastic season for Hoffenheim so far, but was never able to translate it to the international level. Yesterday he got a proper chance and made it count.
.

BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT'S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ADOPTS TWO DRAFT LAWS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 20,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives on Wednesday’s session deliberated on several draft laws and sent them to the collegium’s commission for adjustment due to inexistence of entity majority for voting on them.

They adopted draft law on amendments to the law on classification of activities in Bosnia. This law will ensure implementation of the uniform standard of activities classification in all of Bosnia and ensure compatibility of the Bosnian statistics standards with those of the EU.

Delegates also adopted draft law on amendments to the law on criminal proceedings and supported principles of the draft law on juvenile delinquency and detention of children and juvenile delinquents with conclusion to organize a public debate on this draft law.
.

CONFERENCE "BOSNIA TODAY" HELD IN SPAIN

GIRONA, Spain (November 20,2008) - A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic has received the award "Premio Liber Press Cataluna 2008“ in Girona, Spain, and which was consigned by the Catalonia Government president in Girona Enrico Vilert within the programme of the conference “Bosnia Today”.

Silajdzic in his addressing at the conference thanked to the representatives of the Liber Press for their true friendship towards Bosnia and expressed hope that this friendship will continue to strengthen.

He pointed out that Bosnia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnical society and pointed out that even though some in the international community are not doing enough to prevent ethnical segregation in the country he will continue pointing out to the richness of out country in its differences.

He also added that it is necessary for the Bosnian society to reintegrate since Europe aspires towards building of one such society as Bosnia is for hundreds of years.

Silajdzic also met with the president of Girona municipality Anna Pagans, and opened the exhibition “Long Road” by the author Miguel Ruiz, and which presented the pictures from the time of devastation of the Bosnian cities during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.
.

BOSNIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN TRADE MLADEN ZIROJEVIC VISITS QATAR

DOHA, Qatar (November 20,2008) - The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mladen Zirojevic from November 18 to 21 is in visit to Qatar, participating at the 8th Conference of signatories to the Vienna Convention and 20th Meeting of signatories to the Montreal Protocol on Substances Depleting the Ozone Layer.

"In spite all difficulties and hardships we had to endure in the post-war and reconstruction period Iin Bosnia, since 2000 we have taken serious activities on implementing the Montreal Protocol”, stated Minister Zirojevic.

"We ratified amendments of the protocol from London, Copenhagen and Montreal and we want to announce that we are preparing for ratification of the Beijing Amendment”, he added.

He underlined that Bosnia successfully implemented the program of customs strengthening so that Bosnian customs officers are trained in all aspects of border control and import registration that is, import of equipment containing Ozone Depleting Substance (DS).
.

RECEPTION ORGANIZED ON THE OCCASSION OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF PALESTINE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 20,2008) - On the occasion of the National Day of Palestine a reception was organized on Tuesday evening in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo hosted by Amir Saker Rostom, the Palestinian Ambassador to Bosnia.

Solemn reception, which gathered members of diplomatic core as well as numerous prominent personalities and politicians from Bosnia was the occasion for remembering the numerous events that marked modern history of the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Rostom pointed out in his statement for the Bosnian media that the national Day of Palestine is linked to the date when the Palestinian independence was proclaimed on November 15th 1988, and that this act indicates new phase in solving the Palestinian issue.

He said that this is the day when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized numerous international resolutions which resulted in political turning point and persistence on finding out ideal political solutions.

Ambassador Rostum expressed his expectation that the new US administration will contribute in finding a just solution and make pressure on Israel to respect the agreed.

At the same time, he expressed his belief that the friendly countries, including EU countries and Russia will support the efforts on the plan of peaceful resolution of Middle East crisis.
.

BOSNIA TO PARTICIPATE AT REGIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM IN MACEDONIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 20,2008) - The Bosnian State Presidency Chairman Nebojsa Radmanovic, on invitation of the Macedonian president Branko Crvenkovski shall participate at the 5th regional economic forum for the southeastern Europe (REF SEE), held from November 20 to 21 in Ohrid,Macedonia; stated the Bosnian Presidency press release.

The forum shall be attended by presidents of several countries from the region: Nebojsa Radmanovic - Bosnia, Georgi Parvano -, Bulgaria, Bamir Topi - Albania, Filip Vujanovic - Montenegro and Stjepan Mesic - Croatia.

Radmanovic shall address the presidential session of the forum and it is planned for him to hold number of bilateral meetings, among others, with the forum’s host, the Macedonian President Crvenkovski and with presidents of other states in the region.

This year’s topic of the forum is “Competitors and Partners on the Road towards EU”.
.

IRD FOCUSES ON PROJECTS IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 20,2008) - Daniel Florea from the Board of Directors of International Relief and Development (IRD), an American NGO (non-governmental organization),is currently in Bosnia to gather information about the needs of local communities. On the basis of that information, IRD will apply for funds to assist Bosnia.

Florea said Bosnia is a priority for the organization, which is why IRD’s office was opened in Bosnia more than a year ago. A reason is partly in the fact that IRD was founded by a Zenica-born Jasna Basaric Keys and her husband Arthur Keys, more than ten years ago. IRD’s budget in 2009 will be in excess of 700 million US Dollars.

IRD, a charitable, non-profit, non-governmental organization, focuses its operations in regions of the world that present social, political and technical challenges.

IRD works in collaboration with a wide range of organizations in the design and implementation of humanitarian relief and development aid programs, including U.S. government agencies, bilateral and international donor organizations, international finance organizations, faith-based organizations, advocacy groups, international and local NGOs, and U.S. corporations.
.

42,500 BOSNIAN CITIZENS WORK ABROAD

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 20,2008) - There are around 42,500 Bosnian citizens whose work has taken them out of the country, it is estimated by the Bosnian State Labour and Employment Agency.

An exact number is impossible to get, since as many as 40,500 of them have not been employed by the agency. Some 30,000 Bosnian citizens have employment in Slovenia. Montenegro and Croatia.

Bosnia has no bilateral employment agreements with these countries.
.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BOSNIA AND IRAN TO FORM JOINT POLITICAL COMMITTEE

TEHRAN, Iran (November 19,2008) - Bosnia and Iran have agreed to form a political,economic and scientific committee in a bid to improve cooperation between the two nations.

The agreement was reached between the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and the Bosnian Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Trisic Babic in a meeting in Tehran yesterday.

The two sides expressed interest to boost economic and political cooperation.

Mottaki stated that Iran and Bosnia’s friendly relations are not a threat to other nations.

The Bosnian diplomat called for forming a group of economists, politicians, and academics tasked with studying the two countries’ potential for closer relations.

Mottaki welcomed the proposal, saying Tehran is prepared to boost its trade ties with Bosnia and also host negotiations on ways to further develop economic relations.

Babic said she traveled to Tehran to discuss closer comprehensive cooperation with the Islamic Republic especially in economic sector.

She expressed hope that regular meetings between Iran and Bosnia would help bolster bilateral relations in different spheres.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki criticized the European Union’s “undemocratic approach” towards other nations, saying, “Unity (among) European countries is normal but the fact that the main members of the European Union impose their ideas on others violates democracy and freedom.”
.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEMBER HARIS SILAJDZIC WARNS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO RECONSIDER ITS CURRENT POLICY ON BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 19,2008) - A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated today that "the country would soon enter the most dangerous stage in its post-war history", unless the international community makes a reassessment of its current policy on Bosnia.

"Thirteen years after the Dayton Agreement, we are witnessing a final attempt to transform Bosnia into a loose union of two entities", Silajdzic warns in a letter he had sent to members of the Peace Implementation Council, the EU and the NATO.

It is his impression that the international community is ready to accept such an arrangement, and claims that such tactics surely undermines further the stability of Bosnia.
.

NEW JUDGE TO BE APPOINTED IN SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL RADOVAN KARADZIC TRIAL

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (November 19,2008) - The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) President Patrick Robinson has decided that a new judge should replace him in the case 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.

According to a Tribunal statement, Robinson will be replaced by German Judge Christoph Flieger.

It comes after he was appointed Tribunal president on Monday, a position that, under Tribunal regulations, precludes him from acting as a trial judge.

The other members of the Trial Chamber in the Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadžić case include Britain’s Iain Bonomy and French Judge Michelle Picard.

Judge Bonomy is currently presiding over the pre-trial proceedings against Serbian war criminal, as the Trial Chamber’s deliberates the most important issues in the case.

The Trial Chamber is soon due to decide whether to accept the amended indictment against Serbian fascist, proposed by the prosecution in late September.

Under the existing indictment, Serbian war criminla Radovan Karadzic is charged with genocide, deportation, persecution, inhumane acts, murders and other crimes committed against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
.

PREPARATORY CONFERENCE FOR NATO EXERCISE "JOINT EFFORT 2009" STARTED

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 19,2008) - Around 150 participants from 40 countries have gathered in Sarajevo yesterday at the beginning of the seven-day Concept plan conference for NATO exercise “Joint Effort 2009”.

The exercise "Joint Effort" will take place in September next year in Bosnia.

"This is the first time that this exercise takes place in a country which is not a full member of the NATO and therefore the significance that is being given to Bosnia is even on the higher level; Marina Pendes, the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Defence said at the press-conference. She also held an introductory speech at the Conference.

By holding the preparation conferences and exercises, Bosnia started the full implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which envisages the activities and all details when it comes to the armed forces of the countries participants in this exercise; Pendes pointed out.

Director of the exercise, Colonel Rick Dollesin from US Command for Europe said that in military and tactical terms these are communication exercises and their main goal is first of all to practice the communication systems.

Dollesen said that this is going to be one of the biggest exercises in the world of communications and interoperability.

The Bosnian Army is fully prepared to handle these challenges and the exercise will be prepared well; Deputy Commander of the Bosnian Army Joint Staff,General Slavko Puljic said.
.

CNAB DEMANDS FROM BOSNIA TO BLOCK THE INTERSTATE AGREEMENT WITH MONTENEGRO

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 19,2008) - Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB),demands from the Bosnian State Presidency, the Bosnian State Parliament and the Bosnian government to block the conclusion of the interstate agreement between Bosnia and Montenegro until the Officials of Montenegro officially apologize for genocide committed against Bosniaks during the 1992-1995 Montenegrin aggression against Bosnia; it was announced from CNAB.

It is said in the announcement that Bosnia recognized Montenegro in 2006 and that the official apologies to the families of the genocide victims and Bosnia were not even set as the condition.

CNAB considers that the interstate agreement between Bosnia and Montenegro can be concluded only after Montenegro officially apologizes.
.

BRIEFING FOR HIGH MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC OFFICIALS HELD IN KONJIC

KONJIC, Bosnia (November 19,2008) - Representatives of the Bosnian Ministry of Defence organized on Monday in the southern Bosnian town of Konjic an informative briefing for high officials of EUFOR, NATO, OSCE and UNPDP.

The briefing was attended by EUFOR Commander General Major Ignacio Martin Villalain, head of the OSCE Mission in Bosnia, Gary Robbins, UNDP resident representative Christine McNab and representatives of NATO HQ in Bosnia, stated the ministry’s release.

Host of the event was the Bosnian Defense Minister Selmo Cikotic who informed international representatives about activities, current challenges and plans of the Bosnian Ministry of Defence and the Bosnian Army.

They especially underlined activities of the Ministry relating to the participation of Bosnia in the “partnership for Peace” program, as well as adjustment of the Bosnian Army to NATO standards.
.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BOSNIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ANA TRISIC BABIC MET WITH IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI

TEHRAN, Iran (November 18,2008) - The Iranian Foreign Minister criticized today certain influential members of the European Union for imposing ideas on other European countries saying the behavior is against democracy and freedom.

Manouchehr Mottaki meeting with the Bosnian Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Trisic Babic, in Tehran said the unity among EU members is a normal issue but imposing ideas by certain major members does not accord with democracy and freedom.

Iran and Bosnia interactions are not against any country he noted and added Iran is prepared to enlarge trade cooperation in order to promote bilateral ties.

Mottaki also denounced the U.S. double standard policies regarding fragmentation of countries or others’ territorial integrity and continued “this approach in addition to Washington’s other mistakes has led to the country’s foreign policy failure.”

Ana Trisic Babic on her part said the visit is aimed at promoting bilateral economic ties between Bosnia and Iran.

She also added the level of economic relations does not accord bilateral political interactions and thus must be raised.
.

BOSNIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ANA TRISIC BABIC VISITS IRAN

TEHRAN, Iran (November 18,2008) - The Bosnian Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Trisic Babic met and conferred yesterday in Tehran with Head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi.

Boroujerdi expressed satisfaction over the establishment of peace and security in Bosnia that has provided an appropriate ground for development and advancement of the country and improvement of the Bosnia's economic status, announcing Iran's readiness and will for expansion of political, social and economic relations with Bosnia.

Referring to the outstanding roles played by the parliaments in elimination of the obstacles in the way of the countries' cooperation, he said, "The two countries' parliamentary officials should therefore continually exchange ideas and have regular meetings."

The head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission referring to Iran's nuclear profile, said that our country is determined to continue its nuclear activities within the framework of the NPT regulations and will not yield to any concession regarding its absolute rights, adding that Iran is meanwhile ready for continuation of negotiations, as the sole existing way for solving the dispute with the West.

He also one again stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is strongly opposed to manufacturing nuclear weapons, adding, "We do our best in line with the annihilation of the entire atomic bombs around the world."

He then referred to the ongoing economic crisis in the United States, expressing worry over the expansion of its dimensions to the European countries, adding, "We hope the dimensions of such crises would not expand very noticeably."

Boroujerdi meanwhile announced the Iranian officials' readiness for joining efforts aimed at controlling the negative effects of a potential international economic crisis.

He reiterated, "The current economic crisis is the result of the inappropriate militaristic approach adopted by the White House officials during the years of the past decade."

The Bosnian Deputy Foreign Minister, too, in her part stressed the importance of maintaining optimum relations with Iran, asking for stronger bilateral economic ties between Bosnia and Iran.

She expressed hope that the two countries' comprehensive cooperation, particularly in economic field, would grow constantly.

Babic added, "There are lots of commonalities between Iran and Bosnia that can serve as the basis for the expansion of ties and the two countries' top officials are fortunately well aware of this fact."
.

TURKISH HEALTH MINISTER RECEP AKDAG TO VISIT BOSNIA

ANKARA, Turkey (November 18,2008) - The Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag will visit Bosnia upon invitation from the Bosnian Civil Affairs Minister, the statement released by his ministry said today.

Turkish Health Minister will travel to Bosnia on Wednesday, an official statement has said.

Minister Akdag is expected to return to Turkey on November 21.
.

TWO SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS ARRESTED IN BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 18,2008) - Bosnian police today arrested two Serbian war criminals suspected of torturing and murdering Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia,the Bosnian State Court said.

Serbian war criminals Soniboj Skiljevic and Radoje Lalovic are suspected of "unlawful detention, torture, inhumane treatment, causing serious bodily harm, murder and forced labor" at the Kula concentration camp, prosecutors said.

Before the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, the Kula prison was for petty criminals, but in April 1992, the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor turned it into a detention facility for thousands of Bosnian civilians.

The crimes were committed from May 1992 to December 1995, the prosecutors of the Bosnian State Court of Bosnia said in a statement.

The two Serbian war criminals were arrested in Sarajevo and in the northeastern Bosnian town of Bijeljina, respectively.

Before Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, the Kula prison was for petty criminals, but when the fighting broke out in April 1992, Serb forces turned it into a detention facility for thousands of Croats and Muslims.

Some 10,000 Bosnian civilians passed through the Kula concentration camp during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, according to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia.
.

BOSNIAN STATE BUDGET TO INCREASE BY 237 MILLION BOSNIAN MARKS IN 2009

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 18,2008) - The Bosnian Ministry of Defence will have 384 million Bosnian Marks at its disposal in the following year, which is 59 million Bosnian Marks more compared to 2008, according to a budget draft adopted at the last meeting of the Bosnian Council of Ministers.

17 million Bosnian Marks more has been earmarked for the Bosnian Tax Administration, around 15 million Bosnian Marks more for the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency and around 10 million Bosnian Marks for the border police.

However, these figures are smaller than initially planned. According to the draft adopted, the Bosnian state budget will increase by 237 million Bosnian Marks in 2009.
.

Friday, November 7, 2008

BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY RATIFIES STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT WITH EU

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 8,2008) - The Bosnian State Presidency of ratified the Stabilization and Accession Agreement (SAA) with the EU yesterday.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic was presiding over the 45th regular session yesterday, after which member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic took over the chairmanship for an eight-month rotation.

The SAA and the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-Related Matters were signed in Luxembourg on June 16. The latter has been in force since July 1, while the former still needs to be ratified by the EU27.
.

ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK'S DELEGATION VISITS BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 8,2008) - The FBiH Entity Prime MinisterM Nedzad Brankovic met today in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with a delegation of the Islamic Bank for Development from Saudi Arabia, led by Ahmad M. Al-Ghannam.

The delegation signed the launch of a USD 5 million USD worth credit line for Bosnia's exporting enterprises yesterday with Bosna Bank International, which is seen by both sides as the beginning of a successful financial collaboration.

Al-Ghannam pointed out the agreement is an extension of assistance his country has been providing to Bosnia. Brankovic informed him that the FBiH entity is currently looking for ways to fund capital investments in the energy sector.
.

KUWAIT INVESTS IN DEVELOPMENT OF BOSNIAN INFRASTRUCTURE

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 7,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic and Kuwait’s Prime Minister Nasser Al-Sabah have agreed on a 30-million-Euro loan which will be given by the Kuwaiti Fund for Development, the Bosnian Deputy Finance Minister Fuad Kasumovic has announced.

The loan will bear interest rate of 1.5 per cent, and it will be used for Bosnia's highway network building.

However, it is not certain yet whether the road funded through this loan would be a section of the Sarajevo – Tuzla highway or the Vc Corridor highway.
.

BH TELECOM INTRODUCES NEW MOBILE TELEPHONY SYSTEM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 7,2008) - Bosnian BH Telecom and Croatian Ericsson Nikola Tesla signed a contract worth 2.763 million Euros yesterday about the implementation of the 3G HSPA mobile telephony system.

The contract marks the launch of a new network in Bosnia, enabling video calls and high-speed internet access.

BH Telecom will be the first in the Bosnian market to launch a commercial 3G network, and thus join the group of 22 operators in the world with this type of service.

In the first stage of the project, base stations will be put up in the nine largest urban areas in the country. A UMTS signal licence has not been issued yet by Bosnian regulator RAK because of unavailable frequency.
.

BOSNIAN STATE BUDGET TO INCREASE BY 12%

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 7,2008) - The Bosnian State Fiscal Council adopted yesterday a budget framework for the following year, providing for a 12-per-cent increase in the Bosnian state budget=.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric explained the state budget would increase by 100 million Bosnian Marks, and that the government was guided by its commitment to conduct a more restrictive fiscal policy in 2009, in the light of indirect impact of the global crisis expected on the Bosnian economy.

The Bosnian government expects smaller VAT revenue and smaller GDP growth rate next year, and plans to reduce public spending, Spiric said.

However, the Bosnian Finance Minister Dragan Vrankic warned that the adopted budget framework is not sufficient to meet even the basic needs of government institutions.
.

BOSNIAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES OFFERED PARTNERSHIP IN KUWAIT

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 7,2008) - Sarajevo-based Bosnian construction companies Hidrogradnja and Euroasphalt have been offered cooperation in Kuwait and Iraq by a Kuwaiti businessman.

Representatives of the two companies that visited Kuwait last week with the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic have confirmed that a Kuwaiti entrepreneur offered to build jointly a tennis court complex with a hotel in Kuwait, and possibly even a new town in Iraq, near Kerbala.

Kuwaiti businessman is expected in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo in three to four weeks with project papers, but the two companies are not certain yet whether they would accept his offer.
.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

REISU-L-ULEMA MUSTAFA EF. CERIC MET WITH FORMER SOLDIER OF ADOLF HITLER - POPE BENEDICT XVI

VATICAN CITY, Vatican (November 6,2008) - The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric met today with former soldier of Adolf Hitler - Pope Benedict XVI, at historic talks held in the Vatican City aimed at defusing tensions between Muslims and Catholics.

He thanked the pope for his "warm hospitality," and reminded the pontiff that his predecessor, John Paul II, had prayed for him during the three-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia in the 1990s.

Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric, who headed the Muslim representatives in the forum, said the talks represented a "great step," both for Muslim-Christian relations and for "the whole of humanity."

The forum was to wrap up three days of talks at the Vatican with a public session later today.

"I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need," Pope Benedict told attendees of the Muslim-Catholic Forum.

The forum stems from an October 2007 open letter sent by 138 Muslim representatives to the pope and to the heads of other Christian churches, inviting them to engage in dialogue.

The letter proposed working together to avoid a repetition of incidents such as the violent protests in the Islamic world triggered by the 2005 publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammed.

Under the theme "Love of God, Love of Neighbour," the talks also represent the latest move in rapprochement between the Vatican and Muslims since Pope Benedict XVI (who was a soldier of Adolf Hitler during the World War II...click here and here to find out more about this historical fact) offended Islam in his controversial speech in 2006. The pontiff's speech sparked outrage in the Muslim world..

Benedict on Thursday, stressed "fundamental human rights," which he said, Christians and Muslims shared.

"Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual's freedom of conscience and freedom of religion," the pontiff told forum members, including representatives from Europe, Asia and Africa.

Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927).

When he was 14,Pope Benedict XVI became a Hitler Youth member.

When he was 16, Pope Benedict XVI became a soldier of Adolf Hitler's genocidal fascist German army......he was a helper in an anti-aircraft briagde.In 1945, he was put through basic training and stationed near his hometown in Bavaria.

In 1945 Pope Benedict XVI was captured by American soldiers and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.

(click here and here to find out more about these historical facts)
.

EUROPEAN UNION LAUNCHES DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE ON BOSNIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - Concerned over the seemingly perpetual political crisis, the European Union has launched a flurry of activities aimed at bringing troubled Bosnia back onto the European path.

The EU has presented Bosnian leaders with its progress report and sent a separate letter expressing “extreme concern” with the developments in the country. Senior EU officials have also prepared a draft new strategy for Bosnia.

“What we have been witnessing in the last few months in Bosnia is not compatible with the EU values,” the head of the EU mission to Bosnia, Dimitris Kourkoulas told reporters yesterday, after he presented the EU progress report to the Bosnian government.

“All these actions, this situation, risk unfortunately not only to delay but even to jeopardise your EU perspective,” he said.

The progress report has found little or no progress achieved in the country since the June 16 signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, which was hailed as the first concrete step on Bosnia’s path to EU.

So far Bosnia's officials offered little public comment on the report. Bosnia’s Prime Minister, Nikola Spiric said he will first “read the report in detail.”

In addition to the report, the EU has sent a letter to Bosnia's leaders, demanding them to unblock key political and economic reforms, thus showing that they are interested and ready for EU membership, media reported on November 6.

“We are extremely concerned over the political climate which is being created by your officials at all levels: boosting fears and divisions instead of associations is contrary to your European project,” said a letter sent from the French presidency of the EU, on behalf of Olli Rehn, the bloc’s enlargement commissioner, and Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

In addition to the letter, Rehn and Solana have also prepared a new EU strategy for Bosnia, which aims to end two years of political impasse and bring the country back to the EU path. EU foreign ministers will consider and most likely endorse the strategy on November 11.

“A lack of political census on key reforms, inflammatory rhetoric and clashing visions of the state, have once again slowed down reforms,” says the seven-point report, which argues that the “status quo is unviable and likely to remain so until and unless the international community is prepared to change the parameters of its presence and approach.”
.

BOSNIAN STATE COURT SENTENCES SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL MLADEN BLAGOJEVIC TO 7 YEARS IN PRISON

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - The Bosnian State Court, earlier today,found guilty Serbian war crimianl Mladen Blagojević of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.

As pronounced in the Verdict, Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević is guilty for participating in the widespread and systematic attack by the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor against the Bosnian civilian population of the UN safe area - Srebrenica Enclave, between 11 and 18 July 1995.

During the attack,Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević persecuted Bosnian civilians on political, national, ethnic, cultural and religious grounds, with a view to inflicting serious bodily injuries.

As read in the pronouncement, Serbian war criminal Mladen Blagojević thereby committed the criminal offence of Crimes against Humanity and the Bosnian State Court sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment.

The time Serbian war criminal spent in custody under the decisions of this Court from 17 November 2006 onwards shall be credited against the prison sentence,the Bosnian State Court said.
.

BOSNIAN STATE PARLIAMENT CONCLUDED DISCUSSION ON DRAFT LAW ON WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives concluded yesterday a discussion on the draft law on the witness protection program in Bosnia.

The goal of this law is to ensure efficient witness protection during and after the conclusion of criminal proceeding and enable a witness a free testimony before Bosnian courts.

The proposed law prescribed that the witness protection program is used during the criminal procedure with possible prison sentence of three years or more, or in cases of more severe criminal acts, crimes against humanity and values protected by the international law and in cases of organized crime as well.


Delegates also discussed the proposal of delegates Niko Lozancic, Beriz Belkic and Milorad Zivkovic regarding the draft law on amendments to the law on service in the Bosnian state institutions in urgent procedure.
.

EUPM ORGANISED COURSE ON DRAFTING LEGAL ACTS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) – The EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) has organized a “Course on Legal Drafting” November 3-5 in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, aiming to further enhance the knowledge of lawyers and legal experts from the Bosnian state and regional institutions on drafting legal acts.

The course covered topic such as the types and content of legal acts, terminology, grammar and acronyms used, as well as methods of implementing changes to existing pieces of legislation.

A total of 31 representatives from the Bosnian state and regional institutions attended the course along with 10 representatives of EUPM.

“The participants and lecturers considered the initiative very beneficiary for legal drafting process in general,” said Tamer Kilic, EUPM Coordinator of the Legal and Regulatory Unit of the Police Reform Department.

“EUPM expects that this course would contribute to the quality of legislation drafted by their institutions and facilitate future drafting projects related with police matters.”

Depending on the need in the future, as well as expectations from the counterparts, EUPM would consider organizing a similar course in the area of legal matters while focusing on more specific areas.
.

JOINT POLICE PATROLS TO GUARD BORDER BETWEEN BOSNIA AND CROATIA

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) – A ceremony held o Tuesday in Zupanja (Croatia) marked the commencement of joint patrols of Bosnian and Croatian police at the part of the border under the jurisdiction of Croatian Vukovar-Srijem Police Administration on one side and Bosnian Border Police, Field Office Bijeljina on the other.

“The border should no longer be an obstacle for the police work in this region,” said Vukovar-Srijem PA police officer Tomo Iljic.

“Joint patrols with our colleagues from Bosnia should demonstrate our commitment in preventing crime in the area along the border. Until now, it was the border itself which prevented us from fighting crime since we ourselves were not able to cross it in order to prevent illegal border crossings. We also had no protocols nor agreements signed. Now, we are able to cross the border in case we notice illegal border activity, and our colleagues from Bosnia can do the same.“

The agreement on joint police patrols has been signed between the Bosnian and Croatian governments. Chief of the Bosnian Border Police Field Office Bijeljina, Novo Blagojevic, sees this decision as an approach to solve the problems of police forces on both sides of Sava River.

“This is surely a way to jointly fight against smugglers and other criminals, “ stated Blagojevic.
.

WORLD BANK: BOSNIAN ECONOMY IS NOT LIKELY TO GO INTO RECESSION

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 6,2008) - Head of the World Bank Office in Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli expects the impact of the global crisis to be felt in the country through several transmission mechanisms.

First of all, loans will be harder to get, and their price will increase, both for the corporate and the retail sector. Secondly, the capital inflow from other private sources (FDI, for example) will be reduced for a while. Thirdly, demand for the products exported by the Bosnian companies is likely to decrease, and, finally, the trend of growing remittances will slow down, or even take the opposite direction,he said.

According to Mantovanelli, the Bosnian economy is not likely to go into recession, but GDP, employment and tax revenue growths from the previous years are almost certain not to continue in 2009.

Bosnia's political leaders and regulators in the financial sector need to develop measures for strengthening regulatory control, Mantovanelli recommends.
.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

EUROPEAN COMMISSION URGES BOSNIA TO SPEED UP REFORMS

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 5,2008) - Head of European Commission (EC) delegation in Bosnia Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas delivered the report today on Bosnia's progress towards EU membership for the last 12 months to Bosnia's Prime minister Nikola Spiric.

The European Commission (EC) urged Bosnia to speed up reform efforts in order to enter closer ties with EU.

Bosnia has made some progress in addressing political criteria during the first half of 2008. Beyond the developments that led to the signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, the country continued implementing its public administration reform strategy and adopted a national plan for development of the justice sector. The Bosnian State Court continued prosecuting war crimes, and trials have generally been held within a reasonable time frame and in compliance with internationally recognised principles. Municipal elections in October 2008 were conducted in accordance with international standards,the EC said.

However, lack of consensus on the main features of state building, frequent challenges to the Dayton/Paris peace agreement, and inflammatory rhetoric have adversely affected the functioning of institutions and slowed down reform, in particular since the middle of this year. The authorities have not yet demonstrated sufficient capacity to take the necessary political ownership and responsibility. The role played by ethnic identity in politics hampers the functioning of the democratic institutions and the country's overall governance. No progress has been made as regards constitutional reform. Corruption remains widespread and is a serious problem,the European Commission said.

The Bosnian economy has continued to expand rapidly and the country made some, albeit uneven, progress towards becoming a functioning market economy.

Macroeconomic stability has weakened as a result of worsening trade balance, higher inflation and expansionary fiscal policy. The persistence of very high unemployment remains a major source of concern. Fiscal coordination was improved, however.

The SME sector benefited from increased access to financing. However, the shift in the structure of production towards higher value added activities remained sluggish and the commitment to structural reforms remained uneven across the country.

Further considerable reforms must be pursued to enable the country to cope over the long term with competitive pressures and market forces within the Union,The EC said.

As far as En standards are concerned, progress has been made in Bosnia in the fields of customs, taxation, agriculture, transport, visa administration, border management, asylum and migration.

However, the country needs to intensify its efforts in many areas, as free movement of goods, persons and services, employment and social policies, state aids, energy, environment and statistics. Improved results as regards the fight against organised crime, drug trafficking and money laundering are also necessary,the EC said.

The report on Bosnia's progress for 2008 on Thursday shall be presented before the both houses and joint commission for EU integrations of the Bosnian State Parliament.
.

ALKALAJ AND SOLANA DISCUSSED POLITICAL SITUATION IN BOSNIA

MARSEILLE, France (November 5,2008) - On the margins of the meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers of the Mediterranean Union member states held yesterday in Marseille,France, the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj met with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Javier Solana.

They discussed current political situation in Bosnia, especially in terms of fulfillment of obligations deriving from the process of getting closer to EU integrations.

Alkalaj expressed hope that the European Commission report on progress of Bosnia shall express the achieved progress in fulfillment of obligations of Bosnia in the EU integrations processes and give incentive to Bosnia on its EU path.

Solana expressed concern of EU because of stagnation in Bosnia regarding fulfillment of obligations and expressed the need to continue with reform processes as soon as possible.
.

BISHOP KOMARICA: JUSTICE FOR CATHOLIC REFUGEES IS BEING "TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT"

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (November 5,2008) - A Catholic bishop from the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka has protested that neither the Bosnian government nor the international community is doing anything to enable Catholic refugees to return to their homes some thirteen years after the end of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Bishop Franjo Komarica said he and his priests had expected that the Bosnian government and the international community would take steps to restore damaged infrastructure, but he fears the government does not seem to regard itself as responsible for the Catholics.

In the bishop’s view, the government appears to take the position that Catholics in Bosnia are the concern of the bishop, though Bishop Komarica pointed out that it is not the task of the Church to build homes, provide running water and repair roads.

According to the bishop, perhaps two percent of the Catholics who fled during thew war have returned. He added there was no discernable political will to implement the public declarations that Catholics could return to their homes.

“Our appeals, pleas and protests have gone unheard", said Bishop Komarica. "Justice in this case is being trampled underfoot! Why do human rights apply in Germany, France and the USA, for example, but not to us in Bosnia?"

The bishop explained that the Catholic Church wishes to make a “fruitful contribution to the future of Bosnia,” but he added: “in order to do so we must first be able to live here.”

Bishop Komarica said that he will not tire of speaking out for all those disenfranchised.
.

SALIHOVIC COMMITS TO HOFFENHEIM

HOFFENHEIM, Germany (November 5,2008) - TSG Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic has pledged his long-term future to the Bundesliga newcomers, signing an extended contract running until the summer of 2012.

The 24-year-old Bosnia international has helped his club rise from the third tier of German football, having joined Hoffenheim from Hertha Berlin just over two years ago.

The club’s sporting director, Jan Schindelmeise, said: "Sejad is a wonderful example for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's rise.

"Our team is unthinkable without him these days. I'm delighted that we continue to go our way together."

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp has warned off any club considering making a bid for Salihovic’s compatriot, Vedad Ibisevic, in the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old has already scored 13 goals in 11 Bundesliga games this season, sparking talk of interest in him from a number of major clubs across the continent.

However, a defiant Hopp said: "I have not invested so much in my club to allow others to come along and start picking off our best players.

"All the players are under contract and are part of an exciting project. We don't need the money and we won't be selling anyone," he said.
.

SERBIAN WAR CRIMINALS MOMIR POLEMIS AND SLAVKO PERIC ARRESTED IN BOSNIA

ZVORNIK, Bosnia (November 5,2008) - On the order of the special section for war crimes of the Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office, members of the Bosnian State Information and Protection Agency (SIPA) arrested today Serbian war criminals Momir Pelemis and Slavko Peric in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik.

The two Serbian war criminals are suspected of committing a criminal act of genocide,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, by participating in detention and mass murder of up to 1.700 Bosnian civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995, stated the release of the Bosnian State Prosecutor's Office.
.

GENERAL CARLOS DÍAZ DEL RÍO APPOINTED NEW DEPUTY COMMANDER OF EUFOR

SARAJEVO, Bosnia (November 5,2008) - Brigadier General Carlos Díaz del Río took over yesterday his duties from the outgoing Deputy Commander of EU's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia (EUFOR) Brigadier General Roberto D’Alessandro, who departed after six months in Bosnia,EUFOR has announced.

Brigadier General Roberto D’Alessandro on his departure said: “I am honored to have served as the EUFOR Deputy Commander for the past six months. It has been an enriching experience both professionally and personally. The professionalism and the unique support and cooperation of the staff of EUFOR HQ have been crucial to me to reach the goals of my job. Finally, my appreciation for the close cooperation established between EUFOR and the Bosnian Army, which is another step for the complete stabilization of the county.”

Brigadier General Carlos Díaz del Río has previously worked in Land Operation Centre at the Spanish Army HQ, Madrid, attended Senior Course at NATO Defense College, Rome and assigned to the NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic Norfolk, Virginia embarked on board USS Mount Whitney as ACOS CJ9 (CIMIC).

More recently, he was appointed Chief of the Army National Planning Centre (CEPOEN). He is very much looking forward to serving in Bosnia and is keen to reinforce the message that EUFOR remains a force for good and is working together with the Bosnian Armed Forces.
.