Tuesday, June 17, 2008


LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg (June 17,2008) - Bosnia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union (EU) yesterday, taking its first step to join the 27-nation bloc.

Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Dimitrij Rupel, in presence of the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic, the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Alkalaj and the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, signed yesterday the SAA between Bosnia and the EU.

A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic stated that yesterday’s signing of the SAA represents a great achievement for Bosnia.

The Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Alkalaj said that the signing of the between Bosnia and the EU is certainly one of the most important dates in the history of Bosnia.

"The SAA will contribute to credibility and international image of Bosnia, rating of our country among foreign investors and total economic and political stability”, stated Minister Alkalaj.

”However, there are new challenges before us and we have to respond adequately and start with efficient implementation of taken responsibilities,” he said.

"This is an important day for Bosnia, a real milestone," the International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajčák , told reporters.

"It's certainly a day to remember the same country only 13 years back and also the day to celebrate," he said referring to the effects of the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

"The European Union has just offered Bosnia its EU perspective. We have entered the process but it's up to Bosnia how long the process will take and when Bosnia will be able to be rewarded with membership in the European Union."

Lajcak stressed that huge challenges remained to be overcome, principally the country's complex constitutional structure and a recent history of playing the nationalist card as a route to electoral victory.

Recent polls showed support for future EU membership among Bosnian citizens was extremely high, Lajčák said.

The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of a monthly gathering of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg yesterday.

The EU "looked forward to intensifying cooperation with Bosnia through the comprehensive framework offered by these agreements and the other mechanisms of the stabilization and association process," the EU foreign ministers said in a conclusion.

"Today,we signed the first important institutional agreement that opens the door for deeper relationship between the European Union and Bosnia," the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said at the signing ceremony.

“This relations are not for today they are forever,” Solana said.

The EU's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn called on Bosnian authorities to keep up the momentum and work towards consensus in the country. He also stressed that the agreement is a “milestone that marks a new stage in our relations and it is also the gateway to eventual candidacy of the EU.”

“Much work lies ahead to implement the agreement; laws must be passed and institutions strengthened,” Rehn said.

“There is no time to rest because it is important to keep up the momentum and build general consensus on EU related reforms,” he added.

Bosnia was the last of the six southeastern European countries to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, after similar steps by Croatia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro and the gebocidal Serbia.

The SAA is designed to boost trade and economic ties between the 27-nation bloc and the southeastern European countries and put them on path towards full EU membership.

The EU began negotiating the SAA with Bosnia in November 2005 and the two sides initialed the deal in December 2007.

But the EU governments had insisted that Bosnia must conclude a controversial police reform aimed at creating a single, multi-ethnic national force before the SAA could be signed.

EU foreign ministers decided in April that Bosnia had made the necessary progress in meeting the conditions set by the EU and agreed to sign the SAA with Bosnia as soon as possible.

Analysts said although signing SAA was a big step for Bosnia to attain EU membership, it could be a long journey for the country to be finally accepted, which may take a decade.

Spiric said Bosnia would work to meet all the conditions laid down by the SAA for final EU membership.

"We are going to work for the better life of all Bosnian citizens and raising their living standards," Spiric said.

"We are going to achieve a safer investment (environment) for all those who wish to invest in Bosnia. The visa regime is going to change," he added.

The EU is in the meantime conducting talks on visa liberalisation for Bosnian citizens, but progress will depend on Bosnia's ability to introduce biometric passports and meet other EU - criteria.

The EU has poured €2.5bn ($3.8bn, £2bn) into Bosnia over the past 15 years.

The SAA regulates relations between Bosnia and the EU in all three pillars of the Union (European community, economic policy and joint market, as well as joint foreign and security policy, judiciary and internal affairs).

The SAA is comprised of 10 chapters including general principles, political dialogue, regional cooperation, free movement of goods, movement of workers, business plans, services, capital, acquis communautaire, rules and regulations of market competitiveness, judiciary and internal affairs, financial cooperation and institutional and final provisions.

The task before Bosnia is to implement agreed provisions and to continue towards the fulfillment of criteria for a full EU membership.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 17,2008) - Bosna Bank International (BBI) was chosen for project implementation of the construction of 10 kilometers of regional roads which is to connect returnee villages with the main road Zvornik – Vlasenica – Sarajevo, stated the bank’s release.

Assets for the construction of these roads came from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud through his Kingdom Foundation, after he was informed about the situation with road communication in this returnee area.

Donated assets, as it was stated from BBI will become operative very soon when the formalities around the agreement are finalized.

Prince Alsaud is one of the richest people in the world and he is know to the Bosnian public as one of the potential buyers of the Jajce Barracks in Sarajevo which he planned to turn into a super luxury hotel,a part of the Four Seasons chain, which is in his ownership, stated the release of BBI.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 17,2008) - The European Union decided in Brussels yesterday to reduce EUFOR's size but to keep an appropriate robust military presence as part of its overall engagement in Bosnia, contributing to the maintenance of the safe and secure environment.

The European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR) will reconfigure progressively, but will also maintain the capacity to reverse the effects of the force reduction and to re-establish a more robust military presence if needed.

Under the transition plan, EUFOR will retain approximately 2,500 troops in Bosnia, able to respond should the security situation require it. A multinational manoeuvre battalion and Integrated Police Unit will be based in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and, in addition, EUFOR will retain its presence throughout the country through the liaison and observation teams (LOTs).

Robust reserve forces will also be available over the horizon nd EUFOR will continue to fulfill its peace-enforcement mandate.

The EU troops will continue to provide support to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), including the detention of persons indicted for war crimes, while noting that the responsibility for full cooperation with ICTY rests with the Bosnian authorities.


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (June 17,2008) - A genocide survivor from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica Hasan Nuhanovic who says Dutch U.N. troops guarding the Bosnian town helped the genocidal Serbian fasciat aggressor's forces to murder his family told a Dutch court yesterday he wanted justice for his loss.

Hasan Nuhanovic and the family of another genocide victim from Srebrenica are suing the Dutch state for hel[ing the genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor commit genocide in Bosnia. The court will hear a separate civil suit on Wednesday filed by about 6,000 relatives of genocide victims from Srebrenica against the Dutch state and the United Nations.

Up to 10,000 Bosnian civilans were murdered by the genocidal Serbian fasciat aggressor at Srebrenica, a U.N. safe haven guarded by a Dutch army unit serving as part of a United Nations force, on July 11, 1995,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Nuhanovic, a U.N. interpreter who launched his case in 2002, says his father, mother and younger brother were murdered after they were expelled from the town's Dutch military base. He says he was allowed to stay because he had a U.N. identity card.

"If I had not done this, I would not be able to go on with my life. I am seeking justice," Nuhanovic said ahead of the court hearing in The Hague.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, representing Nuhanovic and the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician in the U.N. force 's Dutch battalion who was also murdered by the genocidal Serbian fasciat aggressor, told judges the Dutch state had been grossly negligent and violated human rights through the actions of its soldiers in Srebrenica.

Zegveld said the Dutch troops could have saved Mustafic and Muhamed Nuhanovic, younger brother of interpreter Hasan. Mustafic was sent away from the base and the Dutch refused to put Muhamed on the list of protected people because he did not have a UN pass.

"They were sent to their deaths," Zegveld is reported as saying. "They were exposed to the enemy." That, she said, is in contravention of Bosnian law, European law, the Geneva Treaty and the treaty on genocide.

"One life could have been saved, my dad," Mustafic's daughter, Alma, told the court. "He was entitled to Dutch protection, this was confirmed to us, but he was not given it. He fell into Serbian hands, since then we have not heard anything about him."

At a vigil outside the court earlier yesterday, about 50 relatives and Srebrenica survivors held up a long banner inscribed with the names of the 8,106 genocide victims.

Government lawyers said Mustafic was not evacuated because he was a temporary worker and not a U.N. employee.They argue that Dutch soldiers acted in line with UN instructions, and say only the UN is liable for compensation.

"The acts of the Dutch battalion are attributable to the U.N. and not to the Dutch state.The Dutch state made available soldiers for the peacekeeping mission, to keep apart fighting parties. The fact they didn't succeed does not mean they are liable for the atrocities."

The Netherlands has said its troops were abandoned by the U.N., which gave them no air support. The families' lawyers have said public documents actually show a network of Dutch military officials within the U.N. blocked air support.

Judges said they would issue their ruling on September 10.

Munira Subasic, head of a Bosnian association of mothers of the genocide victims from Srebrenica, who will be a witness for the suit to be heard on Wednesday, said she hoped for justice for Nuhanovic "and all others who experienced genocide under the 'protection' of the U.N. and before the eyes of the whole world".

Former leaders of the genocidal paramilitary fascist formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both indicated for genocide, are still at large.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 17,2008) - A Bosnian-based lab set up to identify people missing from wars in the former Yugoslavia is helping Chile identify victims of disappearances during the South American country's "dirty war" on dissidents in the 1970s, officials said yesterday.

Chile and the International Commission on Missing Persons signed an agreement and the first 43 bone samples and 73 reference samples have arrived in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo for testing, the ICMP's Bosnia-based lab said in a statement.

"This is a very important agreement for us," said Dr. Gloria Ramirez-Donoso, of the Chilean Justice Ministry's Legal Medical Services. "ICMP has opened a real opportunity for us to achieve justice in our cases."

She added that the bone samples delivered for analysis to the lab came from a burial site at Calama, a desert region in northern Chile.

According to an official report written after civilian rule was restored in Chile in 1990, 3,197 people were killed for political reasons during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship, including 1,197 "disappeared," who were later declared dead.

ICMP, established in 1996, runs one of the most sophisticated DNA laboratories in the world.

It developed its system of mass-scale DNA testing to assist in the identification of bodies from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. It helped in the identification of victims of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the victims of hurricane in New Orleans, as well as the victims of Asian tsunami in 2004. The agency is also helping Iraqi authorities.