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Borislav Paravac

Update No: 097 - (26/05/05)

The International High Representative in Bosnia for the last four years has been Paddy Ashdown, or more strictly Lord Ashdown, being a citizen, as he is, of the last country on Earth to confer entitlements to nobility on its most distinguished subjects, which is actually a more correct term, rather than 'citizens,' given its monarchical head of state.
He is a highly thoughtful man, who has indeed distinguished himself by sacking local dignitaries whenever there is a whiff of corruption.

Here is an extract translated from a longer interview with him published in Nacional (Zagreb), 18 January.

The viability of Dayton Bosnia?
Nacional: Your mandate as High Representative will end this year. What kind of Bosnia will you be leaving behind?
Ashdown: During the past nine years Bosnia-Herzegovina has achieved what many people believed was impossible. It has satisfied practically all conditions for signing the Agreement on Stabilisation and Association with the EU. There is also a serious application for Bosnia to join NATO's Partnership for Peace. Bosnia-Herzegovina's future lies in its integration into the Euro-Atlantic structure. Membership of NATO will provide this country, which nine years ago was devastated by war, with security, while membership of the EU will bring new investment and other benefits.
Nacional: Will the two entities, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, soon be abolished?
Ashdown: I doubt that in fifteen or twenty years' time these entities will still exist in Bosnia. Changes, however, can be made only by agreement of all the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Nacional: Will it be necessary to change the Dayton Agreement, or has it already been changed in a way?
Ashdown: The Dayton Agreement was not designed for state building but to end a war. It ought to be changed, perhaps, but that is not the business of the international community. This issue will be decided by the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina because it is their country. The Dayton constitution is their constitution.* Bosnia-Herzegovina, however, is not functional as a state, since 65% [of its budget] is spent on administration and only 35% on the citizens. The people of Bosnia-Herzegovina should reform Dayton to make their political system more efficient. They have already begun this work, since the decision last year to bring the country's military forces under state control does indeed alter Dayton. This change is the result of internal Bosnian agreement and not an imposition by me. The decision to create a single system of taxation is another alteration of Dayton which has increased the state's effectiveness. One should mention in this context also the proposal for reform of the police. Changes to this part of the agreement have already begun and are due to speed up.

* It should not be forgotten that the Dayton Agreement (and constitution) was negotiated with Miloševic and Tudman, responsible in the view of the Hague tribunal for aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina.


One of the many difficulties still left to deal with concerns the reluctance of the Serbs to merge their Serbian identity with a Bosnian one. They feel that to do so is not to merge their identities, but to submerge their own in a larger entity.

Bosnian Serb military conscripts break state law
The NATO official in Bosnia recently condemned Bosnian Serb army conscripts who took a military oath to the Bosnian Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, instead of to the state - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.
Taking the military oath at ceremonies near Banja Luka and in southern Srpska Republic, conscripts of the Bosnian Serb army declined to take the oath to the Bosnian state as demanded by national law.
"The act of breaking a law of the state, particularly by a military organisation is one of the worst things that can happen within an institution within government," the head of the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, US Brigadier General, Steven Schook, said.
Schook said that following the incident, NATO and the international community's administrator in Bosnia demanded Bosnian Serb Defence Minister, Milovan Stankovic prepare a detailed report about the event.
"Minsiter Stankovic has to give to us a complete report to explain the event - how it occurred, why it occurred, who was responsible and who is accountable for this event's occurrence," Schook said.
The timing of the incident, he added, "could not be worse, with the April 20 to 21 NATO meeting in Vilnius" and where possible Bosnia's accession into the partnership for Peace Programme might be discussed, the report said.
Schook said he was also deeply disappointed with the lack of concrete statements accepting responsibility for the event by the Bosnian Serb authorities.
"I am extremely disappointed that obstructionist elements within the Srpska Republic are still able to influence the military of the entity," said Schook. The incident, as he said, showed again that Bosnia-Herzegovina's state-level Defence Ministry does not have effective control of the armed forces in the country, which was seen as the major precondition for Bosnia's accession into the Alliance's Partnership for Peace Programme.
Bosnia-Herzegovina's Defence Ministry was formed in early 2004 as the result of a wide defence reform aimed at getting the country closer to Euro-Atlantic integration.
The ministry was created to take control over the armed forces in the country and to be responsible for national security. After the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country was administratively divided into two ethnic entities, the Serb-run Srpska Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation with each entity controlling its military forces formed on ethnic principles.

Police reform to go ahead
Ashdown has rebuffed Bosnian Serb objections to police reforms by presenting his detailed plans for an ethnically united police force for post-war Bosnia. Bosnia is divided into two entities, the Bosnian Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-and Bosniak-dominated Federation. Bosnia is the only country in Europe that does not have a state-level police apparatus. 
The new police force will be divided into nine regions, plus one central force and one strictly for the capital, Sarajevo. According to the plan, these forces will ignore entity boundaries and sometimes cross entity lines. 'The proposed plan is a huge improvement over the current fractured and fragmented situation. It will also mean huge cost savings from today's overstaffed and inefficient set-up,' Ashdown said in a statement. For now, the plan does not discuss the possibility of abolishing the entities' separate interior ministries, a decision that Ashdown has left up to the B-H state parliament, which has been considering the issue for two months. 
The idea is that if the separate entity ministries can work together in the redefined police force, across entity lines, there may be no need to disband the ministries in favour of one state ministry. The RS government had resigned in December 2004, in protest over Ashdown's proposed police reforms - reforms they view as being tantamount to the end of the Bosnian Serb entity. The complete proposal will be sent to the central government and parliament for discussion. It is likely that Bosnian Serb representatives in those institutions will reject the proposal. 
The EU has set police reform as a key requirement for Bosnia's further progress towards the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), the first step towards EU membership. EU leaders believe that the disunity of the police force in Bosnia has both failed to prevent and potentially fostered organized crime, graft, and human and drug trafficking in the country. The Chief of the EU Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia, Kevin Carty, said the existing police forces in Bosnia did not have the capacity to fight crime, while Ashdown's proposal of nine new cross-entity regions would create a police force with better coordination and resources. 'Bosnia is a transit route for drugs smuggling and human trafficking. Criminals are not limited by entity borders, therefore, the police should not be limited by entities,' he said in a statement.

Bosnian police watch for Karadzic
One significant police operation was under way in early May.
Police and spies practically took over the house of Bosnia's most-wanted war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic, anxious to see if he would return home for the funeral of his mother, Jovanka Karadzic, 83, who died on May 5th after a short illness in a hospital in the north-western town of Niksic in neighbouring Serbia-Montenegro. Her funeral would have been an opportunity to arrest the Bosnian Serb wartime leader.
But of course he was far too canny to attend, doubtless having been explicitly told by his mother not to.
The daily, Dnevni Avaz, reported that scores of local police and intelligence officers as well as dozens of international intelligence agency officials had moved in on Radovan Karadzic's house in his wartime headquarters in Pale, a village 10 miles east of Sarajevo, where his wife still lives. The house of his daughter Sonja was also under surveillance.
"It is very likely that Radovan Karadzic might give in to emotion and come to the funeral ... despite the risk of being arrested," one reporter said. Actually very unlikely indeed.
Radovan Karadzic led Serbs in the Bosnian war and was indicted in 1995 by the Netherlands-based UN tribunal for atrocities, including genocide, during the 1992-95 armed conflict with Bosnia's Muslims and Croats.
Karadzic is the tribunal's most-wanted fugitive and has been on the run since the war ended. He is thought to be hiding in eastern Bosnia. Karadzic has dodged several attempts by Nato and the European Union Peace Force, EUFOR, to capture him despite a US-sponsored £2.6 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
Radovan Karadzic and his older brother Luka were born in northern Montenegro, where their mother lived. Radovan Karadzic was reported by Montenegrin media to have visited his sick mother several times while in hiding. "I'd prefer that Radovan take his own life than be taken to The Hague," Jovanka was quoted as saying in the past, the key statement.

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Turkey seeks closer economic cooperation with Bosnia - minister

Turkish State Minister Besir Atalay indicated recently that the cooperation protocol signed between the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Chamber of Foreign Trade (BHDTO) is quite important and that Turkish government is trying to find ways to develop trade relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Atalay was in Sarajevo to attend the Second Turkish Export Products Fairs.
Atalay remarked that many economic agreements have been signed between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Soon we will sign an agreement about double-taxation. As the government, we are working on making procedures easier for private investors. The rest depend on you, business people," said Atalay.
Atalay commented that certain bureaucratic and legal processes must be revised to encourage more Turkish investment in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "Such concerns have been brought up in our meetings," stressed Atalay. 
Meanwhile, ITO Chairman Murat Yalcintas has remarked that they pay great attention to the development of the region. "Trade volume between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina must be increased. We can help Bosnian companies open up to international markets. We will help Bosnian students so that they can attend the Istanbul Trade University," commented Yalcintas.
BHDTO Chairman Mahir Haci Ahmetovic has said that they wish to see more Turkish investments in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "There are some excellent examples of Turkish investments in our republic," mentioned Ahmetovic. 

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