Thursday, December 4, 2008


BRUSSELS, EU (December 4,2008) - Bosnia has made progress in the process of association with the NATO, but the Alliance is deeply concerned about the "irresponsible political rhetoric and actions" that are a threat to the country and its Euro-Atlantic ambitions, the foreign ministers of NATO member countries have agreed in Brussels after a two-day meeting.

NATO urges political leaders in Bosnia to assume a “more responsible approach” and speed up the implementation of recent agreements, such as the one about the distribution of military property.


MINSK, Belarus (December 4,2008) - An official parliamentary delegation of Bosnia led by Chairman of the Bosnian State Parliament's House of Representatives Niko Lozancic is to visit Belarus on December 7-10,the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus said.

The delegation is to meet with the Chairmen of the House of Representatives and the Council of Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, top officials of the Minsk City Council, the Foreign Ministry.

The members of the delegation are to visit several Belarusian enterprises, including Kristall distillery and Minsk Tractor Works.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden (December 4,2008) - Sweden’s Justice Ministry has denied a second pardon request from the convicted Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic, the former fascist leader of the Serbians living in Bosnia, to have her 11-year-jail sentence ended.

"The government has today rejected Biljana Plavsic's pardon request," it said in a brief statement.

A justice ministry spokeswoman said the government would not disclose the reasons for its decision.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague sentenced Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic, now 78, in February 2003 for crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Sweden agreed to house Plavsic in one of its prisons in response to a request from the tribunal. She was transferred in June 2003 and is an inmate at the Hinseberg women's prison.

Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic had requested an early release based on her advancing age, failing health and "poor prison conditions".

Swedish news agency TT said a recent psychiatric evaluation had shown that she was in poor health and that she has had a hard time adapting to life behind bars.

She is also significantly older than the other inmates "and has reportedly received threats," the agency said.

Given the gravity of her crimes, "any act of mercy would be big mistake and an insult to the victims and families of the victims," a member of the Bosnian Syaye Presidency Zeljko Komsic, said in a letter to the Swedish government.

"One should especially bear in mind that some 60,000 people of Bosnian origin now live in Sweden, most of whom were forced to leave their homeland because of (Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic's) engagement in the war," Komsic said.

Sweden's government denied Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic's first pardon request in April 2007.

Serbian fascist Biljana Plavsic was indicted and tried by The Hague Tribunal. In 2002, she plea bargained and was convicted to a shamefully low sentence of 11 years in jail for crimes against humanity.

As part of Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic’s plea deal, she laid the blame for the genocide committed against the Bosnian people during the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia on the late former Yugoslav president,Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, and on former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 4,2008) - Italy's Major General Stefano Castagnotto took today command of the European Union's peacekeeping force in Bosnia (EUFOR) .

"I am reaffirming today the dedication of EUFOR to do our best in assisting the citizens of Bosnia in their journey toward a brighter future," Castagnotto said during a handover ceremony in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

He replaced Ignacio Martin Villalain of Spain.

EUFOR took over from NATO-led peacekeepers in 2004 and carries out military tasks under the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

The EU launched its Althea peacekeeping mission in Bosnia with a military force of 7,000 in 2004 to oversee the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords.

It currently has 2,125 troops from 26 countries, of which 21 are members of the European bloc. Spain provides the largest contingent with 376 soldiers, followed by Italy which has 248. Turkey has 242 soldiers while Poland has contributed 204.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (December 4,2008) - The Bosnian State Parliament adopted a law today that will almost triple the state's current guarantee for bank deposits to 10,256 Euros.

The measure was designed to recover public trust in domestic banks, Bosnian officials said.

The Bosnian Central Bank proposed in October an increase in state guarantees for deposits of up to 7,700 Euros, but the government has since decided to raise the figure.

The bank has undertaken a series of measures to avert panic among citizens, many of whom lost their bank savings during the 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia. At least 200 million Euros in deposits has never been returned to the public.

Amid the global financial crisis, some of Bosnia's biggest commercial banks were hit in October by an unusual increase of euro cash withdrawals.

But the situation appears to have calmed since.According to the International Monetary Fund, Bosnia is likely to be spared the worst of the global crisis because of the country's stable financial system.

The Bosnian economy is still recovering from the devastating war, with almost a third of the workforce unemployed and the average monthly wage at about 400 Euros.