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: 083 - (19/03/04)
A troubled land
Bosnia is still a troubled land. There are one million refugees and displaced persons waiting to return. Mirsad Kebo, the Bosnian minister for Refugees, says there are 17,000 persons still missing since the war. The 1992-95 war is a living reality. The presence of 12,000 SFOR troops attests to that, as do the continuing trials and searches for war criminals
In the eight years since the end of the war and the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995, things have not worked out as well as they might. The international community has spent upwards of $10 billion in Bosnia, and many thousands of foreigners, military and civilian, have worked on implementing various parts of the Dayton agreement. Bosnia, however, is still far from being a self-sustaining state.
Bosnia is undergoing a double transition: from war to peace, and from communism to a democracy and market economy. This is causing enormous problems. Crime, both common and organized, are much worse than ever before. Errant nationalist forces are still rife.
In the view of David Harland, former head of UN civil affairs in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the signing of the Dayton Agreement," We were both too hasty and too slow. In our haste to construct a quick exit, we blessed flawed elections that legitimated the nationalist extremists who had led the country to war four years earlier. At the same time, we were slow to stabilize security on the ground. Even after the war ended, ethnic cleansing continued. A hundred thousand Serbs were removed from Sarajevo after the war ended - largely by their own nationalist leaders. Many of them ended up in the homes of Muslims earlier expelled from Serb-held territory further east. We did almost nothing to stop that, ensuring that the eventual return of refugees would be that much harder. We were slow to address the question of law and order, especially the criminal justice system. While we dithered, organized crime sank deep roots. We then watered those roots by channelling generous aid funds through local crime bosses. Worst of all, we allowed a culture of impunity to develop. To this day, the most wanted men in the country, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, remain at large."
Tense security scene
A recent attempt to seize Karadjic, former president during the war, failed, as he made off at the last minute. Mladic, his military chieftain remains at large. There is strong suspicion that they are being protected by Serbian security forces in neighbouring Serbia, whose politics have just taken a nasty nationalist turn.
Serbian developments always matter in Bosnia. Bosnia's foreign minister Mladen Ivanic has claimed in Austria's Die Presse that the separation of Kosovo from Serbia would raise the issue of 'secession of Serb and Croat territories' in Bosnia itself. It certainly would set a precedent. But the international presence in the federation guarantees its territorial integrity.
Bosnia's presidency has endorsed the compromise agreement on military reforms, intended to pave the way for eventual membership of NATO. After weeks of heavy pressure from OHR and European politicians, an all-party commission on defence reform accepted a draft proposal that will create a B-H defence ministry, but one with a tripartite (Bosniak/Croat/Serb) authority structure; and a formally unified army made up of ethnically pure units with no change to their existing chains of command.
The three constituent republics are merging other institutions as well. Educational reforms have been agreed by Bosnia's presidency: they will leave three different curricula, delivered in three different languages, but will unify previously divided schools administratively
FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Premiers of Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina discuss economic cooperation
Bulgarian Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, recently conferred with Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina Prime Minister, Ahmet Hadzipasic, BTA web site reported.
The sides discussed bilateral relations, expressing a shared desire for invigoration of trade and economic cooperation with an emphasis on agriculture, metallurgy and the energy sector. Hadzipasic declared his country's readiness to assist the formation of joint ventures.
The Bulgarian head of government attended the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Investment Conference in Mostar. In connection with the plane crash death of Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha told Bulgarian journalists covering the forum that Trajkovski was a person of special radiance and highly appreciated abroad. "The loss, therefore, is very grave, for the entire Balkan region," the premier said.
On behalf of all participants in the conference, as well as of all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hadzipasic expressed profound regret over the tragedy in a statement for BTA. At the end of the first plenary session of the conference, the participants observed a minute of silence in memory of the late Macedonian President, Trajkovski.
Project investment through activation of the resources existing in Bosnia will undoubtedly boost dramatically the local economy and will help energize the economic processes in the transition period, the participants in the Mostar forum agreed.
Moldovan president, Bosnian foreign minister discuss ties
Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, met Bosnia-Hercegovina Foreign Minister, Mladen Ivanic, recently , Moldova One TV reported.
The sides underlined their mutual interest in bilateral and multilateral cooperation in various areas. They also mentioned the fact that the Moldovan-Bosnian dialogue was given an impetus after Vladimir Voronin's recent visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The two dignitaries also mentioned the importance of signing the first five bilateral agreement between the countries during the visit. The president mentioned a constructive dialogue between the states both within the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe as well as within other international organizations.
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