Wednesday, October 29, 2008


KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (October 29,2008) - The Bosnian President Dr Haris Silajdžić is visiting Kuwait.The aim of the visit id continuing cooperation between the two countries, notably in the area of economy.President Silajdžić met yesterday with the Emir of Kuwait Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.They talked about the ways of improvement of political and economic cooperation between Kuwait and Bosnia.

The delegation which accompanied Chairman Silajdžić to Kuwait comprised CEOs from following Bosnian companies : Faruk Širbegović, (the Širbegović company), Elvedin Borovina, (Hidrogradnja), Amer Bukvić, (BBI bank), Hamed Ramić, (Euroasphalt), and Medaga Hodžić (BH 4 d.o.o. Jajce).

President Silajdžić also attended the opening of „the International conference on cultural dialogue“, was held under the patronage of Kuwait Emir Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and organized by the Babtain Foundation.

This foundation is a unique international organization, which implements a dozen programs of global character related to culture and dialogue between peoples and religions. Apart from yhe Bosnian President Haris Silajdžić, Libyan Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, officials from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, France, Algeria, the USA, the Sudan, the UK, Saudi Arabia and other countries also attended the ceremony.

The occasion for holding the conference, as was mentioned at the opening, is publishing the only encyclopedia of the poetry in the world, „ the Babtain encyclopedia of Arabic poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries“. The encyclopedia, published after eleven years of work, including 560 world renowned experts, contains biographies of poets and 8000 selected poems depicting a dialogue of different cultures and civilisations.

In his address, Abdulaziz Saud Al Babtain, Chairman of the Babtain foundation, said that Kuwait was a geographically small country, but thanks to abundant, selfless cultural funds Kuwait has long since transcended its geographical boundaries.

According to Al Babtain, the culture gains prominency in the age of globalization because it builds bridges between the worlds, and the strength lies, as he put it, in the variety of cultures, in the function of bringing the worlds together because understanding between peoples through culture contributes to the peace.

The Babtain foundation finances students who study Arabic language from every continent, presenting annual rewards for contribution in the area of culture and strengthening multicultural and multireligious cooperation and tolerance and has departments on dozen universities in Europe and the USA. Also, the foundation boasts a unique library containing half a million books from various genres of the literature written throughout centuries.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia's Deputy Finance Minister Fuad Kasumovic and Kuwait’s Deputy Finance Minister Khalifa M. Hamada signed the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in Kuwait yesterday, referring to income and property.

This is the first such agreement signed by Kuwait, and it is expected to further economic relations between the two countries, from investments to exchange of technologies, trade, transport and science.

Kasumovic invited local entrepreneurs to take a more active role in the economic development of Bosnia. A Bosnian business delegation is currently in Kuwait.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Representatives of Bosnia, UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF signed yesterday a joint program document on understanding related to the strengthening of inter-cultural understanding in Bosnia.

The project has a budget of 8 million US Dollars, secured by Spain and it will secure improvement of legislative in the culture segment.

The support to Bosnia will be in segments of culture,industry, tourism, education, and tolerance, protection of cultural heritage and usage of cultural development potentials.

The document was signed by the Bosnian Minister of Civil Affairs Sredoje Novic, UNDP resident representative Christine McNab, UNESCO director, Engelbert Rouss, UNICEF resident representative June Kunigi and deputy representative of UNDP in Bosnia, Armin Sirco.

UNDP resident representative Christine McNab stated that culture in Bosnia was often used as a means of separation and division between Bosnian citizens and expressed hope that this document will contribute in getting the communities in Bosnia closer to one another.

This document is realized with the help from three UN agencies in close cooperation with the Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs, entity ministries of culture and education and other institutions dealing with this segment.

The program shall last three years and it is funded by Spain within realization of the Millennium Goals in culture and development.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - The German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo yesterday that the EU's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia (EUFOR) should remain in place.

"There is a link between the OHR (the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia) and EUFOR," Jung told reporters.

"One cannot say that the task of EUFOR is achieved until the one of OHR is completed," he said after meeting with members of the Bosnian State Presidency.

Earlier this month EU defence ministers backed a plan to phase out the bloc's peacekeeping operation in Bosnia but set no date for doing so. EUFOR currently has 2,100 troops deployed in the country.

The High Representative is supervising civil aspects of the 1995 peace agreement that ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The post was due to be phased out in 2007 and replaced with an EU representative.

However, the mandate was extended for an unspecified period because of political instability and the failure of politicians in Bosnia to pass reforms required by Brussels.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia’s business environment “seriously legs behind” both other southeastern European countries and the European Union, finds the latest World Economic Forum report and this is likely to get worse.

The report analyses the business environment and financial environment in 16 European and central Asian countries, and compares their performance with European Union countries and EU-accession requirements.

According to analysts and economists, these results spell trouble for Bosnia, which has already been suffering from the first symptoms of the spreading global recession.

Two weeks ago, a sudden increase in deposit withdrawals – caused by panic among the population – caught several Bosnian commercial banks as well as country’s Central Bank by surprise.

The Bosnian Central Bank reacted swiftly, reducing obligatory cash reserves for banks from 18 to 14 percent, which improved the banks’ liquidity. In addition, Bosnia’s state government has proposed to parliament an urgent law which would increase state guarantees on deposits from 5,000 Bosnian Marks (2,500 Euros) to 20,000 Bosnian Marks (10,000 Euros).

Yet all economists agree that these moves ,however positive ,are not enough and that Bosnia's leaders,who have been caught in political deadlock for the past two years ,are still not aware of the seriousness of the crisis.

In addition to the disturbances in the banking sector and plummeting bourses, Bosnia’s industry is also facing trouble. Falling prices of iron and aluminum ,which make up a major part of Bosnia’s exports , threaten these industries and could also jeopardise the country’s mounting foreign trade deficit.

Economic experts agree that one of the key elements for combating the worsening global economic crisis would be for the Bosnian governments to swiftly improve business environment and attract foreign investments, which are already falling all over the region.

Yet according to the latest World Economic Forum indicators, Bosnia’s competitive index,at 3.12 points,is seriously legging behind the rest of the region, which is led by Croatia and Montenegro with 4.1 and 3.96 points respectably.

Such results give ground to assessments of some Bosnian economists and analysts who believe that the coming year will be extremely difficult for both Bosnian citizens and companies.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 29,2008) - Bosnia expects to post a consolidated budget surplus in 2008 but will have to apply budgetary restrictions in 2009, Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric said yesterday.

"We don't have any indication of a budget deficit this year," said Spiric. "I expect that we shall have some unspent funds in the state budget this year as well."

The international financial agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have long called for the formation of the Bosnian national fiscal council to coordinate the regional fiscal policies.The fiscal council became operational in September, when it conducted its first session.

"We will have to conduct a restrictive budgetary policy at all levels in 2009 and the budget planning will have to be done within realistic resources and take into account all fiscal plans related to 2009," Spiric said.

The Bosnian state budget has seen some unspent funds in the past years due to restrictive law on public procurement.Spiric said he expected a similar situation this year as well, but failed to give any figures.