Friday, June 27, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic will make a five-day visit to Malaysia beginning Saturday in an effort to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said that during the visit President Silajdzic,who will be accompanied by senior Bosnian government officials,will meet with the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and several other Malaysian high officials.

"This will boost the existing close relations between the two countries in various fields especially trade,investments,defence,tourism,culture and education.The visit will also give an opportunity to the top leaders of both countries to discuss regional and international issues for mutual benefits," the Malaysian Foreign Minister said in a statement yesterday.

He said the Bosnian delegation will be given a briefing by the Economic Planning Unit on Malaysia's experiance in developing its economy.

He also said the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic will give a public lecture at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur,entitled "Multicultural Society and Globalisation".

The Bosnian delegation will also meet with Bosnian students at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - “Notable progress has been made in Bosnia over the last month, but important challenges lie ahead to enable a full transition from the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) to the Office of the EU Special Representative (EUSR),” the International Community's High Representative/EU Special Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajčák told EU Enlargement Commission Olli Rehn and the Political and Security Committee (PSC) ,a key EU foreign policy body,in Brussels yesterday.

The meeting with Olli Rehn focused on the results of this week’s meeting of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and Bosnia’s process of EU integration and the need for a swift and efficient implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which will come into force on 1st July.

In his briefing to the PSC, Lajčák stressed that the signing of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU was a major accomplishment and cause for celebration.

“This was the first time that Bosnia was united on any issue by the support of all its politicians and all of its constituent peoples. This day should continue to mark the dawn of a new era in the Bosnian history and politics”, he said.

In the last month alone, there has been concrete progress on reaching an acceptable and sustainable resolution of defence property, entrenching the rule of law and completing the Brčko Final Award.

“This is impressive by any standards, but it is not to say that we are on the home straight to finish the job – there are challenges ahead”, Lajčák warned.

Speaking of his recent EU campaign visits to 16 cities across Bosnia, Lajčák indicated that there is a great deal of unanimity, common concerns and interests amongst Bosnian citizens, which are different from what politicians impose as the topics of daily political life.

“The national question is never the number one issue: unemployment is, followed by crime and corruption, the future of youth, education, visa liberalisation,” he said

Lajčák stressed that that the vast majority of the 3,000 Bosnian citizens who took an active part in the campaign had told him that they want an EU future for Bosnia. This view has been confirmed by recent public opinion research, which has found that a record number of Bosnian citizens,over 80%, want Bosnia to become a member of the European Union.

PSC Ambassadors thanked the International Community's High Representative/EU Special Representative in Bosnia for his efforts in moving Bosnia closer to the EU, and expressed their full support for the bench-mark driven strategy for OHR-EUSR transition, as reflected in the last PIC communiqué.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - Macedonian peacekeepers participating in the EU-led ALTHEA mission in Bosnia were ordered to remove the state insignia "MKD" from their uniforms, Macedonian daily Dnevnik said.

This is yet another humiliation against Macedonian soldiers serving in missions abroad, after the recent scandal during the NATO-led exercise in France, where Macedonian troops had been ordered to take off their uniforms with their country's name.

Citing unnamed diplomats, Dnevnik daily says Macedonia issued a harsh statement after the scandal, threatening to pull out its soldiers. The order was allegedly issued by EU Secretariat.

Once the EU officials in Brussels saw that Skopje was about to withdraw Macedonian peacekeepers from Bosnia, those responsible tried to clarify the situation by saying it was a mistake.

Unlike the case with Macedonian uniforms in France which ended up with an apology from NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer and inner probe within the Alliance, the latest humiliation against Macedonian soldiers will probably be hushed up, Macedonian daily Dnevnik said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) – The FBIH Entity Parliament's House of Representatives elected yesterday Mirsad Ceman for the judge of the Bosnian Constitutional Court as a Bosniak representative instead of Hatidza Hadziosmanovic who retired from the duty.

Ceman received majority votes out of five proposed candidates in the first and second round of voting.

Mirsad Ceman was born in 1955 in Tesanj and he graduated from the Law Faculty in Banja Luka in 1979. He was member of regular or ad hoc commissions for constitutional matters on several occasions.

He will perform this duty until he turns 70 when he is obliged to retire.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - The Stabilization and Association Agreement(SAA) with the European Union (EU) should not increase Bosnian trade deficit, said Osman Topčagić, Director of the Bosnian Directorate for European Integrations.He said that Bosnia has had bilateral agreements with the countries in the region since 1996 and it has joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) recently.

Bosnia has imported mostly from the countries in the region so there is no danger that products from the EU might influence domestic production in a negative manner after customs duties are reduced or abolished.

On the other hand, he said Bosnia’s main problem is the lack of goods that might be exported into the EU market. In his opinion, direct effect of signing the Stabilization and Accession Agreement between Bosnia and the EU is the increase of investments either from European or from non-European countries.The products produced according to certain standards will be placed on the EU market as local products without the burden of customs duties.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - According to the Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Bosnia Costas Christou Bosnia has potential for becoming the leading exporter of electricity in the southeastern Europe.

However, he does not see a national strategy on energy, despite plans to attract foreign investors in this area.

Strategy comes first, Christosu pointed out in the interview. He spent the past two weeks analyzing the Bosnian economy, and his findings will be reported to the IMF.The IMF will then make adequate recommendations to the Bosnian government.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), dedicated a special debate on June 25 to the state of democracy in Europe. A report by the PACE Monitoring Committee, relating to the period between April 2007 and June 2008, was discussed in connection to the 11 European countries that are currently under the monitoring procedure of the PACE.

Bosnia is one of them, and the report states that the country is in urgent need of constitutional reform. Some of the problems generally troubling the 11 are the separation of authorities of parliaments, election system reforms, the funding of political parties, fight against corruption, media pluralism and local and regional democracies.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 27,2008) - With the first days of implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the european Union, import volumes are expected to increase significantly, since domestic enterprises are obviously waiting for tariffs to go down, Assistant Director of the Bosnian Indirect Taxation Administration announced.

Bogdan Novakovic, who is in charge of customs, claims everything is ready for July 1, when import tariffs on a large number of items from the EU will go down. Bosnia expects customs revenue to be reduced by approximately 160 million Bosnian Marks.