Thursday, October 2, 2008


STRASBOURG, France (October 2,2008) - The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution about Bosnia, which is a part of its report about the results of reform processes in the country.

The Council of Europe appealed to all politicians in Bosnia to help finalize as soon as possible democratic reforms in the spirit of constructive dialogue and collaboration. It also condemned all statements and actions weakening state-level institutions and questioning the future of Bosnia.

The Council of Europe further expressed its concern abut the growing nationalist rhetoric, especially in the context of an election campaign for the local elections taking place in October this year.

The Council of Europe called on all Bosnian state institutions to immediately start with constitutional reform, eliminate entity voting and strengthen state-level institutions.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2008) — A regular conference of banking regulators and supervisors from central banks in the southeastern Europe will commence today in Sofia, the Bulgarian Central Bank has announced.

The Governor of the Bosnian Central Bank Kemal Kozaric will also participate in the conference, along with counterparts from Albania, Bulgaris,Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.

The conference will close on October 4.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2008) — A member of the Bosnian State Presidency Zeljko Komsic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with the U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Gordon England. They discussed Bosnia’s progress in efforts to join the NATO, collaboration opportunities and the Bosnian defence reform.

Komsic thanked the United States for everything it did for Bosnia, and pointed out that the country’s stronger political engagement in Bosnia is necessary in the future. He also expressed his doubt that the Bosnian constitutional reform would be carried out in the next two years.

England underlined that the United States will not allow secession of any part of Bosnia, or an establishment of a third entity in the country. He also said, the Dayton Agreement needs to be updated.


THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (October 2,2008) — A former commander of the Yugoslav army went on trial for war crimes today, charged with supporting the genocidal paramilitary fascist forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) who committed genocide against the Bosnian people during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic has pleaded innocent to 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities carried out by the genocidal paramilitary fascist forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia and Croatia, including murder, extermination, persecution and attacking civilians. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors at the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia say his trial will highlight the close links between the Belgrade-based Yugoslav army and Bosnian Serb forces commanded by fugitive],Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic throughout the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

It's the most significant case linking Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic's fascist regime to atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia to be heard at the tribunal since Milosevic's own trial collapsed when he died of a heart attack in 2006.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Mark Harmon cited secret military documents and repeatedly asked the court to go into closed session so he could quote from them.

Harmon told judges that Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic was a key player in Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic's plan to carve out "Greater Serbia" that included large parts of Bosnia and Croatia.

"To create "Greater Serbia," Milosevic and Perisic used Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb forces as their proxies — arming, paying and providing them with senior officers", Harmon said.

"Perisic helped funnel weapons, ammunition, communications and logistical equipment to Bosnian Serb forces who used them to commit atrocities unseen in Europe since World War II", he added.

The genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor mass murdered 10,000 Bosnian civilians in the U.N.-protected region of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995. They also laid a four-year siege to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that left about 12,000 Bosnian civilians dead.

Harmon said used bullet and shell casings found in Srebrenica and Sarajevo were produced in the genocidal Serbia.

Serbian war crminal Momcilo Perisic also is charged with failing to prevent or punish the deadly May 1995 shelling of the Croatian capital, Zagreb, that killed seven Croatian civilians and injured 194.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2008) - The current global financial crisis is being felt in Bosnia, as well, but the Bosnian government does not seem to be too concerned, or planning to introduce some kind of protective measures, experts in the country warn.

The impact has already been felt by citizens through higher interest rates, the Bosnian Deputy Finance Minister Fuad Kasumovic says.

"Our only hope for avoiding bigger problems is in the recently formed Fiscal Council, whose members should sit down and adopt measures against a financial crisis very soon",he said.

Kasumovic thinks that the Council should support Bosnian exporters in order to reduce a high deficit in foreign trade.

World Bank’s economist in Bosnia Orhan Niksic says the effects of the crisis are also being felt through smaller remittance amounts.

"Furthermore, the banks can no longer borrow abroad under the terms from half a year ago, which makes capital harder to get. In a situation of economic decline, the state should intervene through increased public spending, but the possibility of that happening is questionable considering the dropping budget revenues. That makes constant warnings from the World Bank all the more important," Niksic points out.

Economy professor Fikret Causevic says higher financing costs in Bosnia's main trading partners would weigh on exports and make imports more expensive.

"The higher cost of financing, combined with vulnerable exports and more expensive imports would make recession inevitable," Causevic said.


SALISBURY, England (October 2,2008) - Salisbury Cathedral's 750th musical celebrations continue next week in England when Sarum Orchestra performs the inspirational contemporary oratorio, Stari Most.

Stari Most (Old Bridge) takes its title from Bosnia's iconic Old Bridge in Mostar, built in 1566 and considered a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.

The bridge was partially destroyed by the Croatian fascist savages during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990's and subsequently reconstructed and reopened in 2004. Now it stands as a symbol of reconciliation and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Stari Most is a large-scale choral work composed by Richard Chew with libretto by Peter Cann.For the concert next week, the orchestra, under artistic director Howard Moody, will perform with soloists Marie Vassiliou (soprano) and Jozik Koc (baritone), Salisbury Cathedral Junior Choir as well as the Choir of Amery Hill School.

English Composer Richard Chew says of his work: "I have tried to capture in this music something of the experience of being in Mostar.

"It is perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever visited and the first sight of the bridge, a white crescent in the moonlight, is something I will never forget. The piece is also very much about young people so children sing the voice of the old bridge, an expression of its essence."

Chew describes his music as "lyrical and accessible, with a rhythmic drive and harmonic edge derived from Balkan folk music".

Howard Moody is delighted to be bringing this work into the cathedral as part of its 750th anniversary celebrations: "When the opportunity came for the orchestra to do a concert, the programme that came to mind was one that included another stone icon of Western civilization. That the cathedral is more than stone', to quote the libretto, will guarantee everyone present will have an unforgettable experience."

The evening will open with the Islamic call to prayer chanted by Izudin Mezit, the Muezzin from the Central Mosque of Mostar.

And to add further poignancy to the evening, former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Paddy Ashdown, will introduce Stari Most.


DEAUVILLE, France (October 2,2008) - Most EU states support a gradual withdrawal and role change for the EU military mission in Bosnia, the French Defense Minister said yesterday.

"One or two countries back the maintenance of the forces," French Defense Minister Hervé Morin said after discussions among the 27 EU defense ministers in Deauville, France, but "generally the idea taking shape is for the gradual end of the ALTHEA mission and the transformation of this mission."

EU officials say the countries that favor keeping the mission unchanged are Slovakia, Italy and Greece.The diplomats say the present EU force in Bosnia will likely be replaced by a civilian operation.

Morin said most military operations had been completed, but there was still a need for military advisers and trainers.

"The military objectives have been fulfilled, there is no reason whatsoever to maintain the mission", Morin told reporters after chairing a meeting of EU defense ministers in Deauville, France.

French officials said there was a consensus to seek proposals to replace the current mission with one more civilian in nature. They said one scenario could be the provision of a rapid reaction force able to intervene in the event of a deterioration of the situation.

The European Union has a force of about 2,200 troops in Bosnia known as Eufor Althea. The peacekeepers deployed in 2004, taking over from a NATO force. Last November, the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the force for another year.

A formal decision on the matter is not expected before November 10, when EU defense ministers hold a formal summit in Brussels.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 2,2008) - In the first eight months of 2008 the Bosnian Taxation Administration seized counterfeit goods worth 3.3 million Bosnian Marks, and the favourite items of smugglers include cigarettes, clothing and cosmetics.

According to the Bosnian Taxation Administration, China is their country of origin in most cases. Smuggled goods mainly find their way to the Bosnian market though illegal border crossings, and illicit trade is considered to cause looses worth millions of tax revenue.

The consumer protection associations point out, however, that the system of market control is almost non-existent. Representatives of the Bosnian textile industry claim they have been pushing for some kind of government protection against cheap Chinese clothes and footwear, but with no success so far.


BEIJING, China (October 2,2008) - The Bosnian Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Vilim Primorac was in China from September 23 to 28, for the second meeting of the joint commission for trade and economic cooperation between Bosnia and China.

In the Chinese capital Beijing, Primorac talked with China’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade about the interest of the Chinese investors in Bosnia, and about furthering cooperation between the two countries. The commission last met in 2001 in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The trade exchange between Bosnia and China in the first six months of 2008 amounted to USD 260 million. It was decided that the commission would meet annually from now on.

The Chinese are very interested in Bosnia’s energy, transport, wood processing, auto and IT industries.