Wednesday, April 23, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The Bosnian representative in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, Elvir Lakovic Laka, with the song Pokušaj, has unveiled the promotion video for the Bosnian entry.

The video sticks to the European theme, as it contains flags of participating countries.The promotion video has been released, yesterday, just weeks before the contest, and will be sent to broadcasting nations in way of promoting the song.

Laka was internally selected to represent the Bosnian nation in the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest. An English version has already been made available of the song, although the song will be performed completelly in Bosnian.

Laka will perform in the first Semi Final on the 20th May and will also perform at the Eurovision Preview Party on Friday night in London's Scala.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The European Union is aiming to sign an agreement with Bosnia on closer ties in May instead of this month as originally hoped, EU diplomats said yesterday.

They said the delay was linked to technical procedures needed to finalise the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the European Union, made possible after Bosnia agreed a long-awaited police reform earlier in April.

"These procedures take time," said one EU diplomat, noting the 27-member bloc had to formally confirm Bosnia had fulfilled all technical conditions for the SAA and translate the text into the various EU languages.

The upper house of the Bosnian State Parliament finally adopted a reform of its police,the outstanding precondition for an SAA pact,on April 16 after successive failed attempts.

The SAA is the gateway to the ultimate entry of all southeastern European states in the EU.


BERLIN, Germany (April 23,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj is in a three-day visit to Germany and will meet with German Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as with advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Advisor for Foreign and Security Policy Christoph Heusgen.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj will also visit the German State Parliament and have a meeting with the President of Bosnian – German Parliamentary Group Rainer Stinner.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) – The Bosnian State Court has convicted yesterday four Serbian war criminals of murdering Bosnian civilians during the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia and issued varying sentences.

A court statement said two Serbian war criminals with the same name, Mirko Pekez, and Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, forced 27 Bosnian civilians to line up at the edge of a cliff in central Bosnia and shot them with automatic rifles. Four Bosnian civilians survived with bad injuries.

These Serbian war criminals were members of the genocidal Serbian aggressor's formations when they forced the Bosnian civilians, ranging in age from 9 to 74, out of their homes in villages near the Bosnian town of Jajce and took them to the cliff for execution.

The Bosnian State Court said none of the 13 men, 10 women, one child and three teenagers were in any way involved in the armed conflict.

Serbian war criminal Mirko Pekez, 42, was sentenced to 29 years in prison while Serbian war criminal Mirko Pekez, 41, and Serbian war criminal Milorad Savic, 37, were given 21-year sentences.

In another trial, Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar, 44, was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in the torture and execution of Bosnian civilians in a concentration camp,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

In 1992, Serbian war criminal Dusan Fustar served as the head of one of the three guard shifts in the Keraterm concentration camp, near the northern Bosnian town of Prijedor, the court statement said. During his shifts, he did not prevent regular torture of detained Bosnian civilians by his guards or other genocidal Serbian aggressor's soldiers, it said. A number of detained Bosnian civilians were beaten do death.

The Bosnian State Court has a special department for war crimes, which is partly staffed by international prosecutors and judges. The department is supposed to take over cases from the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, which is scheduled to close in 2010.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) – The International Promotion and Investment Conference “Sarajevo canton 2008” started yesterday. The conference will last for two days. Participants are representatives of domestic and foreign companies, political and economic life of Bosnia and other countries. The aim is that Sarajevo Canton is represented as a potential investment destination.

The International Community's High Representative and the EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak emphasized in his welcoming speech that the most important issue Bosnia is facing today, is creation of jobs and rising of the living standards.

Lajcak emphasized that those are the tasks economic reforms need to focus on. Some of the priorities for promotion of business climate are mentioned in the Action Platform, passed by heads of governments last year.

Those priorities foresee simplification of bureaucratic procedures, enabling normal transport of merchandise and capital, removal of obstacles for labour mobility, improvement of the banking system supervision, modernization of laws from commercial sector.

The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic emphasized in his address that the main obstacle to the attraction of investors to Bosnia is the fact that Bosnia does not have enough prepared projects.

The FBIH entity government has focused all its activities in all the sectors to achieving the goal of employment of 55.000 people. This was stated by the FBIH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic who added that that goal can only be achieved through investments, institutions’ reform and infrastructural development.

”I hope that the positive trends from last year will continue. That includes growth of industrial production, increase of export, salaries and all other vital parameters which reflect the quality of a society”, Brankovic said.

The Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Samir Silajdzic, who hosts the conference, stated that participants of this conference will reflect upon the past investments made in the Sarajevo Canton, as well as upon potentials for investments through the public investments programs.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - The Canadian parliamentary Speaker Peter Milliken had a meeting yesterday in Sarajevo with the Bosnian parliamentary officials.The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives Speaker Milorad Zivkovic told the press after the meeting that this is an extremely significant visit and that he is of the opinion that it will result in a newer, better cooperation between the two countries’ parliaments.

”Keeping in mind that the two-houses parliamentary system exists in Canada as well, we have exchanged experience because the Canadian Parliament has developed far better than the Bosnian Parliament. We have a lot to learn about the parliamentary democracy from Canada”, Zivkovic said.

According to him, a new issue has been initiated – the issue if restrictive visa regime towards the Bosnian citizens.

”We have found out that Canada has a special visa regime, not only towards the Bosnian citizens, but also towards all other countries in the world. However, it is encouraging that we will soon sign SAA and that will probably mean visa regime facilitation with the EU and with Canada as well”, Zivkovic said.

Programs of assistance Bosnia has received from Canada were also considered. It has been concluded that Canada can be of significant help to Bosnia.

Zivkovic emphasized that Canada is a global leader in the sector and that it has and will continue helping BiH.

”We talked about where Bosnia is on the road to the EU. We also talked about the problems this country has faced with and about the problems that await. We agreed that the direction has been made precise and that the only issue is the issue of speed which is very important”, Zivkovic said.

The Canadian Parliamentary Speaker Peter Milliken expressed pleasure with yesterday’s meeting during which he was informed about Bosnia’s progress and functioning of the Bosnian legislative organs.

He reminded that Canada has been in many ways included into the process of cooperation with Bosnia, starting with the arrival of their troops to Bosnia in peace missions. He added that Canada will continue helping Bosnia’s development, whether it is the sector of small or medium enterprises, or on a global scale.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - According to some unofficial sources, the Bosnian Ministry of Security has initiated preparations to legislate a special national agency for fighting corruption.

The initiative has been around for some time, but only recently did a green light come from the Office of the International Community's High Representative. in Bosnia (OHR).

A bill has reportedly already been drawn up by the Bosnian Ministry of Security. The future agency would answer to the Bosnian State Parliament.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - Temporary agreement between Bosnia and the EU will come into force either in June or July depending on the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in April or May.

When temporary trade agreement between Bosnia and the European Union comes into force, the country will lose about 50% of customs duties charged on products imported from the EU countries, confirmed Dragiša Mekić, the chief of the working group for free movement of goods in Bosnia to the team negotiating on the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). Mekić pointed out that the temporary agreement will come into force right after signing the SAA between Bosnia and the EU.

"When negotiating on the Stabilization and Association Agreement, we wanted to protect the most sensitive products such as meat and milk until the very accession to the EU. This is what we got, but in return we had to abolish customs duties for about 50% of the products we import from the EU, decreasing revenues from the customs duties by 50%. The good thing is that the customs duties will be abolished for production material and raw material which our economy needs," Mekić explained.

The temporary agreement between Bosnia and the EU will come into force either in June or in July depending on the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in April or May. The temporary agreement is a part of the SAA, and refers to trade and transport. The agreement will be in force two to three years, the period needed to ratify the SAA between Bosnia and the EU in the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the 27 EU member countries.


PRAGUE, The Czech Republic (April 23,2008) - The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) continues with the successful Pilot Project on the “Selection of Qualified Foreign Workers” in Bosnia.

The aim of the project is to open opportunities for qualified candidates who meet the eligibility criteria, i.e. who found employment in the Czech Republic, to attain permanent residence in the Czech Republic after two and a half years, instead of the current five.

Since 1st July 2007 a new category of highly qualified participants of the project has been introduced. It shall be opened for foreigners who are working in the Czech on posts which require university degree and matches their profession (education or working experience). Republic

Participants in this category are entitled to apply for permanent residence permit already after 1,5 years of participation in the project. This advantage will also apply to immediate family members.

Another important change in the project is also extension of the “grace period” for a search of a new job. For all project participants it has been extended from 30 to 45 days.

Participants who in the first year of the project lose their job through no fault of their own are entitled to a 45 day grace period during which they do not lose their visa and their residence permit is not revoked. The above mentioned grace period should serve as time during which participants search for another job in the Czech Republic.

In the course of following years of the pilot project the participants are given the grace period also if they lose their job for other reasons (formulated by the Czech law).

A new country has been involved in the project – India. The citizens of India, together with citizens of other project countries Bosnia, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine, after fulfilling set criteria, can obtain permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic in a shortened period of 2,5 years or in case of the new category already after 1,5 years.

The same opportunity belongs to graduates of Czech universities and secondary schools regardless their country of origin.

This Pilot Project has started in July 2003 and it has been established by The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since its inception, 1.002 candidates have applied to participate in the project.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo is the implementing partner responsible for informing the Bosnian public about the project.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (April 23,2008) - Several Bosnian government officials, helmed by the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic met yesterday with a delegation of the Council of Europe Secretariat’s Monitoring Team led by Jean Louis Laurens.

President Silajdzic told them how Bosnia was encouraged to proceed with her efforts towards NATO membership in the recent summit of the Alliance. Also, he said that, despite all the obstacles and difficulties, Bosnia is making progress.

The recently adopted police reform laws are expected to open the door to the SAA signing, and after that to constitutional reform, Silajdzic said.

Situation in the region was also discussed, when Silajdzic asserted that Bosnia lacks the capacity to protect her interests in bilateral relations, and that the fact could reflect on security in the region. The Bosnian President accused neighbouring Serbia and Croatia for using Bosnia’s natural resources without paying for them. Croatia and Serbia owe Bosnia around EUR 4.5 billion so far, he said.