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Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a referendum for independence from the former Yugoslavia in February 1992. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government is charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments are charged with overseeing internal functions. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place at a level of approximately 21,000 troops.

Update No: 064 - (27/08/02)

The Bosnians are now under a new dispensation. Their former international administrators were Carl Bildt, the Swedish diplomat and Wolfgang Petrisch, the former Austrian one. Now they have Paddy Ashdown, earlier the Liberal Democrat leader in the UK and once a Marine commando, as the International High Representative, (effectively Viceroy for the great powers), installed since May.
He is using his weight already, ousting local figures in office he deems inimical to the successful functioning of the republic, and focusing his considerable energies towards the resolution of long outstanding problems here.
The very republic, Bosnian-Herzegovina, is a tortuous affair, a sort of Yugoslavia in miniature. It yokes together first the Croats and the Muslims in the Muslin-Croat Republic and then puts them with the Serbs in the Serb Republic into, in effect, a double confederation. But this thought is taboo; indeed, there is no mention of confederation of any kind in its constitution. As Voltaire might have said of it, as he said of the Catholic church, "if it did not exist, no-one would thought of inventing it."

Friendly with Greece
The Bosnians are keen to make the most of their Balkan ties, one of these is with Greece. The common Orthodox faith of the Serbs and the Greeks is crucial here.
The Greeks are now taking an interest in Bosnia. Funds have been found for the construction of a hospital in Sarajevo, indeed the central hospital in the capital, for an elementary school and for an Orthodox church. Bosnia is back in the sights of the Greeks, who have every intention of remaining the most significant of the Balkan nations.

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Bosnian foreign minister, IMF, World Bank officials discuss economic reforms

Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, held separate meetings with IMF Executive Director, Johannes de Beaufort Wijnholds, and World Bank Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Christian Poortman, on 26th July, the Federation News Agency reported quoting the Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Ministry. 
They discussed the economic situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and possibilities for improving the standard of living, economic growth, employment and speeding up the development of the private sector. Lagumdzija outlined the elements of a new plan entitled "Our agenda of economic reforms" which should be the basis of a strategic partnership between domestic and international institutions.
The officials emphasized the importance of the prepared package of economic reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina which will be implemented in the next 18 months and which is expected to be endorsed by the executive board of the Council of Peace Implementation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The programme offers support to the reform forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the aim of achieving positive results in the future. 
Lagumdzija said that in order to be able to implement stabilization policies, macroeconomic reforms and strengthen the institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the IMF should shortly officially approve a new stand-by arrangement for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lagumdzija briefed the officials about the activities initiated by the entities' authorities and other institutions which should finally help remove the obstacles which have caused a delay in concluding a stand-by arrangement with the IMF. Lagumdzija added that this financial arrangement was particularly important as a basis for maintaining the planned amount of budgetary revenue, for financing the needs of the poorest category of the population, development needs for this year and settling foreign debt.

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Iran provides aid to encourage return to Srebrenica

The Iranian government has approved half a million convertible marks to aid the sustainable return to Srebrenica, Mayor Sefket Hafizovic told ONASA News Agency web site on 30th July. 
He said the funds are available only for the families that have returned to live in Srebrenica in order to help them stay in their property. 
"We do not know yet of what the assistance consists, but the returnees' ideas and requests for the development of agriculture, handicraft shops or small farms will be taken into consideration," Hafizovic said. 
He added Iran was ready to continue to provide material aid to those who return to Srebrenica.

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Bosnia joins Balkan reconstruction plan

Bosnian deputy Foreign Minister, Ivica Isim, and his Greek counterpart, Andreas Loverdos, recently signed a five year agreement for the period 2002 to 2006.
During a recent visit to Athens, Bosnian Foreign Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, raised the issue that Bosnia was absent from the Greek plan for Balkan reconstruction. This fact is a possible explanation for the reason why funds offered by Greece fall far short of its Balkan neighbour's needs. However, Minister Loverdos committed that Greece could offer additional funds in the event the government in Bosnia is able to exhibit absorption, MPA reported. "We do not have to wait another five years," he was quoted as saying.
The bilateral agreement reinforces Greek presence in Bosnia - Greek funds have been responsible for the building of the central Sarajevo hospital, an elementary school and an orthodox church.

Slovenia's Kucan in Bosnia and Herzegovina for talks

Slovenian President, Milan Kucan realised an official one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) recently where, upon his arrival in Sarajevo, he was welcomed by the presiding member of the three-member BiH Presidency, Beriz Belkic and the other two members, Serb Zivko Radisic and Croat Jozo Krizanovic.
The Slovenian leader also met with BiH Foreign Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, and visited the village of Grdonjic to inspect progress on the demining currently being handled by the Slovenian-managed International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF), Slovenia Business Week reported.
Following separate talks with the BiH presidency and government officials, Kucan told reporters at a press conference that his visit was an affirmation of good relations between the two countries. Although some difficult issues still exist, Kucan firmly believes that economic relations between the two countries are overall very positive and should include Slovenian investments, claims of both sides, former joint investments, trade and trade deficit, as well as demands of Bosnian citizens who formerly held accounts in Slovenian Ljubljanska banka. 

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