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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA


  
  

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
51,129

Population
4,007,608

Capital
Sarajevo

Currency
Convertible Mark 

President 
Borislav Paravac



Update No: 095 - (31/03/05)

Ashdown on the warpath again
Bosnia's international administrator, Lord (Paddy) Ashdown, has used his sweeping powers to fire many a miscreant in BiH beforehand. Since 1998, around 150 officials have lost their jobs and Lord Ashdown has shown himself willing to use his powers, sacking 59 people last June and a further nine in December.
He has targeted the Croat member of the country's three-person presidency, no less, this time as a corruption case causes increasing difficulties. After almost three weeks of pressure failed to persuade Dragan Covic to resign voluntarily, Lord Ashdown forced him out of the job, saying the allegations had made it impossible for him to continue in office.
The crisis came to a head after the European Union, the United States and other international partners called on Mr Covic to stand down while contesting the case in order that the credibility of Bosnia's political institutions be protected.
In a statement Lord Ashdown described Mr Covic as, by and large, a "good President", but said it was vital to maintain a principle that anyone indicted on criminal offences resigns "so as not to damage the public office they hold". He added: "To have a member of the presidency - the body which is in charge of foreign policy - with whom BiH's main international partners will not have contact, could do real and lasting damage to BiH's immediate and long-term future." [BiH is the local acronym for Bosnia & Herzegovina.] Officials feared that Mr Covic's refusal to quit would have dealt a lethal blow to Bosnia's chances of joining Nato's Partnership for Peace programme and would have threatened negotiations over an aid-and-trade deal with the EU.
Mr Covic, a member of the nationalist HDZ party, has enjoyed a high profile. He was due to take up the rotating chairmanship of the tripartite Bosnian presidency - which represents Bosnian Serbs and Croats and Muslim Bosniaks - in June.
The alleged offences were carried out between 2000 and 2003, while Mr Covic was deputy prime minister of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation. He denies a formal accusation which centres on allegations that he bribed the head of the Constitutional Court.
This decision underlines the scale of the task of rebuilding democratic institutions in Bosnia and of ridding the economically depressed country of corruption and organised crime. The EU took over peace-keeping in Bosnia last year and, with sectarian tensions under control, has switched some of its focus onto combating criminal gangs which have links to the top of the political establishment.
Lord Ashdown, seen as an energetic international representative of both the United Nations and the EU, is due to stand down at the end of the year.
Mr Covic said the decision to fire him was unconstitutional, but he had no alternative but to bow to the ruling. It is, however, unlikely to mark the end of his role in public life as he will not be barred from party office and may run for the presidency of the HDZ.

Ashdown's decision expected
"The High Representative's Decision is expected and I understand that this was the only possible solution in the given situation that suits the interests of BiH institutions and their reputation," BiH Presidency member Sulejman Tihic told Fena when asked to comment on the decision of Ashdown to remove the Croat member of BiH Presidency, Dragan Covic. 
Tihic deems that this case, as well as others, clearly indicate that the Election Law must be amended. One can anticipate an obligation in which the mandates of public officials will terminate once the indictment for certain criminal acts has been confirmed. "I deem that a confirmed indictment for certain gross criminal acts is adequate and on basis of this fact the mandate of all holders of public functions at the State, the Entity and other authority levels would be terminated", said Tihic. 
When asked how the BiH Presidency will function without one member, Tihic responded that this institutions functions in two forms - each member of the Presidency individually, and collectively at sessions. 
"Until the third member of BiH Presidency has been elected, decisions will not be issued at sessions. I hope that the election matter would be resolved swiftly and that the House of Representatives session will be scheduled in the next ten-fifteen days, which is the procedure for electing the Presidency member so that we could be able to carry out our functions in full capacity", said the Bosniak member of the BiH Presidency. 

Cooperation with The Hague
Bosnia has been cooperating better with The Hague of late. The Republika Srpska has transferred five major war crimes indictees to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia this year, compared to almost 10 previous years when they had not transferred a single one, Ashdown said in his periodic briefing to the Security Council in February. 
Recalling that he had warned about the failure of the Republika Srpska to honour its obligations to the Tribunal in his last briefing, he said the situation now seemed rather more hopeful, but it was early days yet and seasoned observers, including Council members, should remain sceptical until the transfer process had been properly opened up. The Republika Srpska authorities must change their attitude and accept that the way towards the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina lay through The Hague. 
He said that earlier that General Vinko Pandurevic, arguably the third most senior indictee after Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, had arrived in The Hague, noting that other generals had also turned themselves over to the Tribunal. However, General Mladic, their commander, who was still at large, should reflect upon the fact that his subordinates had taken it upon themselves to turn themselves in, while he scurried from one safe house to another. Ten years after Srbrenica, calls for justice had not faded away and the process would not end until Karadzic, Mladic and other remaining indictees were in the Tribunal's custody. 
Describing a failure to cooperate with the Tribunal as the biggest stumbling block to Bosnia and Herzegovina's future within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), he said that the country's application to join the NATO Partnership for Peace had recently been blocked for that reason, but was being kept under close review and NATO might consider it again in the third week of April. The Partnership for Peace and the beginning of the long road to European Union membership were a watershed for Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION

Japan to help Bosnia-Herzegovina reinvigorate economy - PM

Japan and Bosnia and Herzegovina reached a consensus on the need to reinforce economic ties, including direct investment in the Balkan country by Japanese companies, during a summit on March 4th, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. Visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina Prime Minister, Adnan Terzic, noted the importance of foreign direct investment in increasing jobs, telling his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, that joblessness is running at an estimated 20 per cent, Kyodo News Service reported.
Koizumi was quoted as saying Japan will do its utmost to help Bosnia and Herzegovina reinvigorate the economy. The Japanese official said Terzic, before his meeting with Koizumi, held talks with Osamu Watanabe, chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization, a semi-governmental group working for promoting trade.
Terzic and Watanabe agreed to a plan to have the Japanese trade organization sponsor a seminar in Tokyo aimed at encouraging Japanese corporations to boost investment in Bosnia and Hercegovina but details such as when it should be held were yet to be determined, the official said.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

Bosnian, Chinese foreign ministers discuss economic cooperation


Bosnia-Herzegovina Council of Ministers Chairman, Adnan Terzic, met recently in Sarajevo with Chinese Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, on reform processes in the two countries, Onasa News Agency web site reported.
Terzic congratulated Chinese officials on their "economic boom" and called on them to assist the existing economic reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the CoM's information service said in a statement.
Zhaoxing said he was pleased with the visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, assessing that talks with Bosnia-Herzegovina officials were extremely successful for speeding up cooperation between the two countries on the economic, trade and energy plan.
He stressed he will call on the business world in China to invest in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Terzic accepted an invitation to visit China, where he will discuss with the Chinese prime minister methods of advancing the economic cooperation. A delegation of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, led by Zhaoxing, was on a two-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

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