Tuesday, May 6, 2008


BRUSSELS, Belgium (May 6,2008) – Leader Of Bosnia's Islamic Community Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric, speaking at the Conference of Faith Leaders in Brussels organized by the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, said yesterday the EU should show that Islam is a part of Europe by admitting Turkey as a full member.Regarding the Christian attacks against Muslims in Europe, Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric said Europe should respect the concept that Muslims in Europe "are not ghosts but hosts."

The conference with religious leaders to find answers to contemporary problems using religious “capital” comes at an interesting time for Turkey, when the nation is yet again embedded in a fierce debate about the public role of religion.

Twenty high-level representatives – 19 men and one woman - from European Muslim,Christian and Jewish congregations met in Brussels yesterday to discuss the sensitive issues of climate change and reconciliation between peoples.

All three presidents of the EU, i.e., the presidents of the European Commission, Parliament and the European Council, participated in the conference with the religious leaders.

In a very high profile meeting, in which Barroso, European Parliament President Hans Gert Poettering, the term president and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Ján Figel as well as European Parliament Vice President Mario Mauro took part, religious leaders exchanged views on climate change and reconciliation. In the meeting, Muslims were represented by Dr. Mohamed Bechari, the president of the National Federation of French Muslims, Imam Abduljalil Sajid, the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony, Ceric and Ayatollah Abdolhossein Moezi, the director of the Islamic Center in England.

In reacting to Barroso’s comment that Islam is a part of Europe, Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric said the EU now had a good opportunity to showcase Turkey’s accession as a sound rebuttal to those who see Islam as non-European.

“I agree with the president. Islam is a part of Europe, but unfortunately Turkey is still not admitted as a EU member.The EU has to prove that Islam is a part of Europe by taking Turkey in. Why is the EU so hesitant and delaying Turkey’s accession?” said Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric.

Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric stressed that as a Bosnian he learned that tolerance was a sign of strength and intolerance a sign of weakness. He argued that the EU’s strength would be tested with Turkey’s possible membership.

“But Turkey is still not a EU member. The reason may well be that Bosnia is still not in the EU. So Bosnia first should be a member and then Turkey,” he quipped.

In another question on freedom of speech, Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa ef. Ceric strongly criticized the EU attitude and stressed that as a survivor of a genocide he was very surprised to see people who still did not understand that Europe needs mutual respect.

“Insults to the Prophet Mohammed will not decrease the love and affection of Muslims toward their prophet but will break many hearts all over the world. EU should learn and respect that we, Muslims in Europe, are not ghosts but hosts.”

Asked whether one of the best options for intercultural dialogue would be to hasten the accession process with Turkey, Barroso said accession talks were well underway with Turkey, stressing that Islam was “a part of Europe, not outside of Europe.”

Citing Muslims’ contribution to European civilization from Andalusia, Barroso said the EU did not only have relations with Turkey but Muslim countries like Bosnia and Albania as well.

This year, discussions centered on the theme “Climate change: an ethical challenge for all cultures.”

Barroso stated: “Climate change obliges all of us to take urgent action. Each part of civil society must contribute to ensuring a sustainable future of our planet. Thanks to their outreach and role in our societies, religions and communities of belief are well placed to make a valuable contribution in mobilizing them for a sustainable future. Let’s unite in our common endeavor and prove that the preachers of a clash of civilizations are wrong.”

Participants in the meeting shared their views on the two main themes and agreed on the essential role of religions and communities of belief in tackling our common challenges and mobilizing our societies for a sustainable future.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić has received yesterday the delegation of businessmen from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who are in a several-day visit to Bosnia.They talked about investment possibilities of Saudi investors in Bosnia, as well as about direct cooperation between the two countries’ businessmen.

Saudi businessmen were interested in visa facilitation and opening the direct airline with Sarajevo, expressing willingness to visit our country more frequently.

President Silajdžić said that Bosnia is rich in natural resources, which are attractive for foreign investors, especially in relation to energy, water, wood industry and tourism, adding that Bosnia is heading toward EU and NATO memberships, which gives an additional security to foreign investors.

This visit was arranged in February, this year, while the Bosnian state and economic delegation was visiting Saudi Arabia led by the Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber organized a business forum and bilateral meetings in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday, between Bosnian and Saudi entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs dealing with various sectors were in the delegation from Saudi Arabia. Head of the delegation Ghassan Al-Suleiman stated that the reason for their visit is to learn about Bosnia's potentials and investment possibilities. He emphasized that four sectors – tourism, infrastructural development, electric energy and real estates are of interest.

Some Saudi entrepreneurs, Al-Suleiman added, are interested in other investments. In the following three days, they will visit other Bosnian cities, including Mostar and Travnik.

Milan Lovric, the President of the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber, stated that the visit of the Saudi entrepreneurs is a chance to make a step forward in the economic relations between the two friendly countries.

Lovric added that the Bosnian companies are given an opportunity to link with the partners from Saudi Arabia who are able to support development of some resources, which will be valorised at the market.

The visit had been agreed several months ago, during a visit of the Bosnian state delegation at an economic forum in Saudi Arabia.

Representatives of the Bosnian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, FIPA Agency and the Bosnian Foreign Trade Chamber talked about the current situation in Bosnia and about the possibilities of investments. Bilateral meetings between Bosnian and Saudi entrepreneurs followed.

Foreign trade exchange between Bosnia and Saudi Arabia is very low. In the last seven years, surplus was recorded three times, primarily in the sector of weapons and ammunition export (2004 and 2006). Last year, the leading trade item was the internal combustion engine.

In the previous years, the leading export products were liquid pumps, electric equipment and medicaments, as well as parts of engines.

As is known, the Saudi Arabia market has undergone many changes in a short time period. The market evolved from a rather modest agriculture-based economy to regional, even world market, characterized by modern infrastructure. Oil has been the leading export item of the country.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic and advisors to the Bosnian Presidency members Nebojsa Radmanovic and Zeljko Komsic met yesterday with the French senators Didier Boulaudom and Christian Cambonom and members of the French commission for foreign affairs, defense and security.

President Silajdzic stated that Bosnia is making progress in spite of all difficulties it faces; it does not fall behind other countries, even some of the EU member states.

He added that there is a lot to e done in Bosnia but that with the help from the EU this job will be completed. He stated that Bosnia wants successful relations with France in the following period.

President Silajdzic stated that economic relations between Bosnia and France should be improved since Bosnia has a lot of natural resources, especially energy, tourism, wood industry and water.

French senators stated that their country is monitoring the situation in the southeastern Europe and the entry of countries of the region into the EU. France will support Bosnia it its accession processes,they said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – The trial of Krsto Savic and Milko Mucibabic, former members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, is due to start on Thursday, May 8,before the Bosnian State Court, when the Prosecution and Defence will present their introductory arguments and the Bosnian State Prosecutior will examine its first witness.

Serbian war criminals Krsto Savic and Milko Mucibabic are charged with having participated in the detention, torture and murder of the Bosnian civilians and the Croatian civilians living in Bosnia from Nevesinje, Kalinovik, Gacko and Bileca area in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor charges the two Serbian war criminals with crimes against humanity.

At the status conference, the Bosnian State Prosecutor said it would need 50 hearings to present its evidence, adding that "a large number of witnesses are to be examined and many pieces of material evidence are to be presented." However, it was not specified how many witnesses would be invited to testify.

The Defence of the two indictees said they would invite some Prosecution witnesses to testify in favour of Serbian war criminals Savic and Mucibabic, and that they would need "less than 20 days" for evidence presentation.

"We do not deny the fact that the crimes were committed, but we deny the indictees' participation in those crimes," said Slavisa Prodanovic, Defence attorney of Serbian war criminal Krsto Savic.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – A two-day educational event on transitional justice mechanisms has started yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. The concept and mechanisms of transitional justice are being presented to the participants of the consultation process.

The Bosnian government has recognized the need to take account of other mechanisms of transitional justice that would be complementary to the activities of the Bosnian State Prosecutor’s Office and the Bosnian State Court that work intensively investigating and determining the responsibility of the war crime perpetrators.

Finally, introducing new concepts of transitional justice, along the prosecution of war crimes, will enable the Bosnian citizens to experience means and mechanisms of justice more effectively.

The education event was opened today by the Bosnian Minister of Justice Barisa Colak and the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic, together with Ms. Christine McNab, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Bosnia, representatives of the Bosnian State Court and the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Civil Society in Bosnia.

"Bosnia is a society looking ahead of a long-term process of facing the past, aiming to ensure a more prosperous future“, stated McNab.

The Bosnian Minister of Justice Barisa Colak stated that the process of confronting the past is very difficult but that he is an optimist.

The consultation process is conceived in such a way to assist the Bosnian government to acquire and give consideration to the suggestions made by the civil society and government representatives from all parts of the country on issues of facing the past.

The first step of such consultation process is to introduce the concept of transitional justice and its social and political implications. During the next two days, a number of international experts from this area will participate in the Sarajevo event.

The Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic stated the first priority is democratic processes, mechanisms of reconciliation and coexistence.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) – Eight member delegation of the Foreign Relations Commission of the Swiss parliament led by the Chairman Gerry Muller is in official visit to Bosnia on Monday and Tuesday.

Swiss delegation shall meet with representatives of the Bosnian State Parliament and Ministry of Justice and Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.

The delegation shall visit the Swiss contingency in the EUFOR Mission at the military base in Butmir.

They will also meet with representatives of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) and visit the Victims Identification Project from the area of Podrinje and the Center for Re-association in Lukavac.

The delegation shall conclude its visit in Brcko where they will meet with the deputy mayor, stated the release of the Swiss Embassy in Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) - Croatian barbarians have damaged four vehicles with the Bosnian license plates in the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik on Friday. Insults and offensive symbols were written on the vehicles, stated the release of the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry after they received the information from the Bosnian embassy in Croatia. The Ministry condemned this act of vandalism.

The Bosnian Ambassador to Croatia, Aleksandar Dragicevic after he found out about this incident contacted the city authorities of Dubrovnik and asked for the protection of the Bosnian citizens and their property from the Croatian barbarians.

Ambassador Dragicevic shall demand a meeting at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss this incident.

The Bosnian Embassy in Croatia shall continue to monitor the developments regarding these attacks on the Bosnian citizens and their property in Croatia, stated the release of the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry.


SARAJEVO ,Bosnia (May 6,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives has adopted the Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Bill. The piece of legislation aims to improve the competitiveness and quality of Bosnia's agricultural production.

Although generally approving of the new provisions, the Bosnian Farmers’ Association points out that their adoption comes too late, after CEFTA had already come into force.

They therefore welcome an initiative by a member of the Bosnian Parliament Jerko Ivankovic Lijanovic, to amend the CEFTA implementation regulations. There are a number of negative effects of signing the CEFTA; the trade deficit continues to grow, and the agreement is harmful to domestic production, he argues.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (May 6,2008) - According to an official with the Anti-Corruption Team (ACT) of the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR), a detailed investigation is going on about the involvement of some of Bosnia’s leading politicians in corruption.

The team consisting of about a dozen experts, led by a British lawyer, has been going through extensive documentation for some time now. They are interested in details about deals worth billions of Bosnian Marks, and strategic areas like infrastructural developments, transport, communication, energy and forestry are in their focus.