Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
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: 085 - (01/06/04)
Ashdown to the rescue
Bosnia is an international quandary. The International High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader in the UK, puts the main point bluntly to the Bosnians: "The question is simple," he says through his interpreter (although he is learning the language, to add to his Chinese). "Will you join Europe or will you be left behind as the stagnant pool of the Balkans?" It is not the only time in the day Ashdown uses the phrase "stagnant pool". It visibly shocks his audience. But he aims to shock. Complacency, he says, has failed.
Anyone who watched Ashdown lead the Liberal Democrats will recognise the sense of mission that he is bringing to his new job. He seems to have twice the energy and twice the passion of a man whose biggest task beforehand was leadership of a small British political party that for all its merits never had much chance of power. His previous post was perhaps a practice run for saving another nation altogether.
And Bosnia needs a saviour. Though the Balkan war came to a halt nine years ago, the Dayton agreement that ended it did not end the country's suffering. The world has poured in more than $5bn, including military costs.
A blasted heathen heath
But signs of war are everywhere, even in central Sarajevo, a city of blasted tower blocks and scarred houses. Despite 11,000 NATO troops, organised crime thrives.
Political life is in a dismal rut: still trapped in obstructionism and the nationalist language of the war. The tangled peace settlement left Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country with the population of Scotland, with 13 prime ministers - one for every 175,000 citizens - 57 political parties and perhaps 4,500 politicians (no one knows the full number). Public workers go unpaid. Corruption is a growth industry.
Ashdown is trying to sort out the mess. His predecessors had been bureaucrats; he promised action. But can one man rescue a nation?
"Bosnia has been ruled by the Ottomans, the Hapsburgs and the communists," he says. "So it's not surprising that the people regard me as just another Hapsburg governor, someone they should petition to get their problems solved." The petitioning, meaning 1,000 letters per day, goes on all the time from frustrated people with insoluble problems who have never before had a chance to speak to someone important.
Russia to invest in Bosnia
Russia, with a view to offset the old debt to Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently suggested that the debt be repaid through the construction of steam power plants on the Vrbas, the Drina or the Neretva, New Europe reported recently. The Russian debt is US$125m, but if the agreement is reached, the investment will reach US$2bn.
Russian interest lies in the use of Russian equipment and hiring of Russian companies for the construction and hiring of Russian companies for the construction of steam power plants in Konjic, Ulog or Buk Bijela. Bosnia and Herzegovina would get the steam power plant and half of the electricity. After period of 30 years, both the steam power plant and the electricity would become the property of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Iran, Bosnia Review Expansion of Economic Cooperation
A Bosnian economic delegation visited Iran recently for a meeting with a number of Iranian businessmen and industrialists. At the meeting, the two sides explored avenues for further expansion of economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries, tehrantimes.com reported.
Head of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, Mohammad-Reza Behzadian, who was present at the meeting, called the gathering as a suitable opportunity to further broaden bilateral relations.
He said Bosnia and Herzegovina has attained a very promising economic growth in recent years.
According to the public relations department of the chamber, Behzadian said since Bosnia and Herzegovina is located on the transit route between Iran and Europe, the country could be used as a suitable gate for export of Iranian made products to European markets.
Highlighting the two sides' potentialities in various economic sectors, he expressed the hope that the Iranian companies would enhance the level of economic cooperation through further export of technical and engineering services to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina Chamber of Commerce, for his part, described the two sides' relations as very friendly in recent years but said unfortunately the current level of economic cooperation is not satisfactory.
Bosnia is to broaden ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as other Islamic countries around the globe, he said.
The volume of trade exchange with Islamic countries constituted 15 percent of Bosnian foreign trade before the war in that country but the figure is now as low as two or three percent, he said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has finished reconstruction of its cities demolished in the devastating war and has entered into a new phase of reconstruction and development, he said.
Bosnian foreign trade now stands at over US$5billion a year, he said, adding that 90 percent of the trade exchange is done with 12 neighbouring countries, while the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked 50th in the list, he said.
Our analysts and
editorial staff have many years experience in analysing and reporting
events in these nations. This knowledge is available in the form of
geopolitical and/or economic country reports on any individual or grouping
of countries. Such reports may be bespoke to the specification of clients
or by access to one of our existing specialised reports.
For further information email: