Tuesday, February 26, 2008


JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (February 26,2008) — The second day of the 9th Jeddah Economic Forum kicked off with an electrifying first session that included three absorbing speeches delivered by a self-critical Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain and the United States, a confident Dr Haris Silajdzic, a member of the Bosnian Presidency, and a highly articulate Dr Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister of Palestine. Bosnian Presidency member Dr Haris Silajdzic, speaking in fluent Arabic, recalled the sacrifices that Bosnians made in their march to freedom and said that the oppressors were devoid of any feelings in their hearts and carried out attacks not for any financial gain but on account of an ideology that was highly exclusive.

“The aggressors’ hearts were empty,” he said. Silajdzic also appealed to the Saudi business community to invest in Bosnia because it is a shining example of universal tolerance.

The Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad said that despite all promises made at the Annapolis Conference, the Palestinians were still suffering at the hands of the Israelis and checkpoints still remain in place, making life miserable for Palestinians. He acknowledged the help from various donors but said a lot needed to be done on the political front for people to feel a tangible difference in their lives.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal admitted, in retrospect, he may have failed to provide his children and grandchildren with a better world rather than the one he inherited.

The three were deliberating on the theme of “From the ‘House’ to the World,” a reference to the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

In his speech, Bosnian Presidency member Dr Haris Silajdzic,who began by thanking the Saudi Arabian citizens and leadership for continuously supporting Bosnia financially and emotionally,outlined that there is a need to overcome conflicts between civilizations.

He emphasized that Bosnia is a role model that must be followed by other countries for there to be coexistence.

“The Bosnians, through their authentic culture and principles, have learned how to coexist with others and offer them support and protection. Our country is not just a piece of land somewhere in Europe. It is a symbol and model of success and failure as well... we paid and are still paying the price of keeping these principles,” Silajdzic said.

“The world today needs models and examples such as Bosnia. In this era of globalization, the world resembles Bosnia,” he said, adding that dialogue is important and is the only way for globalization.

“I am standing here near the sacred lands of the Two Holy Mosques and the Kaaba. New culture and principles started from Makkah. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says, He made mankind ‘to meet and know each other,’” he said, adding that this is the concept of globalization today. Silajdzic said that Bosnia is not usually cited as an example to learn from and that only its negativities are mentioned.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal said he blames himself for lacking in political development and social misgivings. “I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that my generation has failed to meet these challenges that face us all. I hope that my children and my grandchildren will succeed in leaving behind them a better world for their children,” he said.

He further stressed that those who do not learn from their mistakes are bound to make them again. “From the theme of this forum ‘Value Creation Through Partnership and Alliances,’ we have to operate within a global society. Let’s not be afraid of committing mistakes, but learn from them,” he said. “The emphasis is on education, education and education.”

The Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, quoting Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah during the recent Islamic Summit, called for Muslims to work together to alleviate poverty. “We should work together to alleviate the poverty of our fellow human beings. We also should improve education as means of alleviating poverty,” he added.

Highlighting the historical importance of Saudi Arabia as being “the cross roads and center of commerce of the world” the Saudi Prince said that the Saudi economic horizons could no longer be limited by national horizons. “As a member of the World Trade Organization, Saudi Arabia is now truly open for business,” he said.

“We must generate an understanding that the only way for us to continue to improve our condition is to reach out to those around us,” he added.

During the panel discussion on how communities build their alliances, Nahed Taher, founder and chief executive officer of Gulf One Investment Bank, expressed her concerns about the misunderstanding of alliances. She raised the issue of people coming to the Kingdom thinking of it as an investment pocket and how it is creating a big funding gap.

The Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal agreed with Taher’s comment.

“You’re right. We have to bring people to work with us and invest in our economy,” he said. “It’s not simply a matter of us having wallets full of cash.

The world is different now thanks to young people, especially in Saudi Arabia, who are engaged in entrepreneurship and providing services to other people.” Prince Turki said that Saudi Arabia no longer relies on oil and that there are other alternatives that are taking over. If an American, European or Japanese investor is seeking cash, he’ll be surprised what his Saudi counterpart asks of him.

“Those who seek to steal money from Saudi, will find it to be a much more difficult place,” he said.

From February 23 to 26, Bosnia was presented at the economic forum held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.A business forum and bilateral meetings were organized by the Bosnian External Trade Chamber in cooperation with the Bosnian Presidency and the Bosnian Foreign Investment and Promotion Agency (FIPA) and in coordination with Trade Chamber of Saudi Arabia and Trade Chamber of Jeddah as a host.

At this business forum, Bosnia was represented by a memner of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic and more information on business ambience and investments possibilities was given by the Bosnian External Chamber Head Milan Lovric and FIPA Director Haris Basic.

The main goal of this visit of the Bosnian delegation to Saudi Arabia was to see all possibilities of placing their products on Saudi market and to offer concrete investment projects.


BRUSSELS, Belgium (February 26,2008) – The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) will convene in Brussels today and tomorrow , to discuss the political situation in Bosnia. One of the issues expected to be on the agenda is the closing of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR).

Members of the Bosnian Presidency, Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric and the presidents of six most influential political parties in Bosnia will be at the meeting of the Peace Implementation Council, as well. After that they will meet the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to talk about the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union and the Bosnian constitutional reform.


LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (February 26,2008) - The European Union hopes to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia in March or April, as soon as the Southeastern European country completes an overdue police reform, the bloc's president Slovenia said.

The Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj said the reform of Bosnia's ethnically separate police forces would be completed in March.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel told a joint news conference with Alkalaj the EU was ready to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Bosnia immediately after that.

Bosnia initialed the SAA, the first rung on the ladder to EU membership, in December.

Alkalaj rejected threat of the Serbians living in Bosnia to hold a referendum on secession from Bosnia if the majority of U.N. member states and the European Union recognize Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

"According to the Dayton agreement, no part of Bosnia has the right to secede," said Alkalaj.

The Dayton agreement ended the 1992-95 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

Alkalaj said Bosnia was not likely to recognize independent Kosovo at present.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Party of Democratic Action (SDA),which is the strongest Bosnian political party, stated that the “forces of Bosnia” are now much stronger than before the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia and would protect integrity of Bosnia's borders.

“Those who have problem with the Bosnian State or who don't see it as their country, can leave for wherever they want, but they cannot take any part of Bosnian territory,” the SDA statement read,demanding the Serbians living in Bosnia stop contemplating independence.

The SDA also criticised the International Community's High Representative Miroslav Lajcak who on Friday met the prime minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) , Milorad Dodik, in an attempt to calm tensions that have arisen since Kosovo's declaration of independence.

“The behaviour of the international community is worrying, especially the behaviour of High Representative Miroslav Lajcak,” the SDA said, criticising Lajcak for tolerating radical rhetoric from the political representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia “without undertaking of any measures.”

Lajcak rebuked the SDA's allegations, asserting “I don’t know whether they are aware how dangerous their message is. No party can decide who can live in this country and who cannot.”

He said that a key part of his mandate is to meet all of Bosnia's senior politicians, including Dodik as well as SDA leaders.

Lajcak emphasised that during the meeting with Dodik, he supported the existence of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia (RS) and that it has no legal right to secede.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Bosnian State Prosecutor has completed presenting its evidence against three Serbian war criminals charged with the mass murder of 23 Bosnian civilians in Jajce municipality,during the early stages of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Dr Hamza Zujo was cross-examined by the Bosnian State Prosecutor as the last witness.Zujo said he concluded, on the basis of assessment of the corpses, that 22 out of 23 Bosnian civilians, had injuries caused by firearms.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges Serbian war criminals Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic with having participated in gathering Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages on September 10, 1992. After that, they took them to Tisovac, where they murdered them. The indictment alleges that 23 Bosnian civilians were murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor and four were wounded on that occasion.

"Asmer Zobic's body was the only one without firearms injuries," Dr Zujo said, explaining that he considered that, in the case of this victim, a bullet passed through the body without damaging any bones.

Asked by Slavica Cvoro, Defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, which type of weapons had been used, Zujo said that he did not "want to get involved in the issues of ballistics."

At the end of the presentation of evidence, Prosecutor Mirko Lecic presented the remaining pieces of material evidence, including death certificates for 23 murdered Bosnians issued by the City Cemetery in Visoko.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez, Mirko (Mile) Pekez and Milorad Savic is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on February 29, when the first indictee's Defence will examine its first witnesses.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) – The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Peoples adopted the draft law on the Bosnian Sport in the same text in which was earlier adopted by the House of Representatives.

With this law, among other things, a Council for the Bosnian Sport is formed as a highest counseling body of the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs which deals with the development and quality of sport in Bosnia.

Also, an agency for doping control is formed which is necessary if our athletes wish to compete at international venues.

Delegates also adopted the draft law on changing and amending the law on the Bosnian travel documents. Considering that the House of Representatives earlier adopted this draft law in somewhat different text some adjustments shall be needed between the houses.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) - Exports of the companies registered in the central Sarajevo Canton amounted to 726 million Bosnian Marks last year, while their imports were worth as much as 3.3 billion Bosnian Marks. Exports grew at the rate of 15.5 per cent and imports at the rate of 17.4 per cent.

The trade exchange ratio has thus dropped from 22.8 per cent to 21.8 per cent. Canton’s trade deficit has reached 2.6 billion Bosnian Marks. The Bosnian capital Sarajevo accounts for a quarter of Bosnia’s total trade exchange, which was worth more than 17 billion Bosnian Marks last year.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 26,2008) - The Bosnian Foreign Investment and Promotion Agency (FIPA) will organize a ceremony in Sarajevo on March 6 at which awards will be presented to best foreign investors in the previous year.

The award categories will include greenfield investments, privatization investments, joint venture investments and investment that opened the most new jobs. FIPA had earlier announced that 2007 was a record-breaking year in terms of foreign investments in Bosnia.