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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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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Borislav Paravac

Update No: 096 - (26/04/05)

10 years after Dayton, peace takes root in Bosnia
Later this year, Bosnia and Herzegovina will mark the 10th anniversary of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that brought an end to the largest ethnic conflict in post-World War II Europe. The conflict caused some 200,000 deaths and produced more than 2 million refugees. It also witnessed a holocaust with Moslem Bosniacs being systematically murdered en masse, as a deliberate policy of the well armed Bosnian Serbs in the name of ethnic cleansing. The worst example was at Sebrenica, the 10th anniversary of which comes in July of this year, where at least 7000 men and boys were killed in cold blood. 
This ranked for many as the nadir of the United Nations whose troops had promised protection to the Moslem refugees, but themselves surrendered without fighting, prior to the massacre. 
Astonishingly, the principal culprits both indicted as war criminals, are still at large. The army commander Mladic, and the then Bosnian Serb president, Radovan Karadzic, have successfully evaded arrest for all of these years, an impossible feat it is believed without the protection of the authorities that succeeded them in Bosnia's Serb enclave, Republika Srbska, and in Serbia proper.
One can give a passing grade on the post-civil war process during the past decade in a comprehensive evaluation. The political situation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively stable. The reconstruction process is moving forward. Many nationals who were displaced as domestic refugees have returned home. 
Of course, things have not completely recovered to the status quo that existed before the civil war. The return rate of refugees is estimated at around 35 percent. But serious ethnic conflicts have not occurred for more than three years. 
The biggest challenge today is not political, but economic. There is still a very high unemployment rate, which is currently about 20 percent. Many young people cannot find jobs. The main reason for not being able to facilitate the early return of refugees is that the country's difficult job market is not attractive to them. Compared to economic difficulties, the political issues are minor. 
Mutual understanding among ethnic groups has increased, but real reconciliation and a friendly relationship among them has not been achieved. It is just that the situation has been improved compared to the severe ethnic difficulties experienced during the civil war. 

Ecumenicism to the fore
The dialogue among the three major religions, namely Islam, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, has been in progress. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a multi-ethnic state composed of three major religions.
The country cannot be sustained without inter-religious understanding and reconciliation. Political decisions can be made only on the basis of ethnic reconciliation. 

Ashdown sacks Bosnia's top Croat over corruption charges 
Bosnia's international administrator, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, is a tough cookie. He has used his sweeping powers to fire the Croat member of the country's three-person presidency as a corruption case causes increasing difficulties.
He has done this sort of thing several times before. It should have been evident to the Croat that he was dealing with a firebrand - for justice.

Ashdown Says Police Reform Necessary for BiH's EU Integration
Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a crossroads, Ashdown told Bosnian Serb lawmakers on April 21st. Whether it moves forward towards EU integration or becomes the only Balkan country left out of the process depends on achieving police reform in line with EU principles.
Three days before the start of negotiations on police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Paddy Ashdown urged politicians in Republika Srpska (RS) on 21 April to seek a compromise solution that will lead to an agreement. 
"Police reform is the last great reform necessary for Europe. This is the final hurdle for the RS and BiH to enter into the European path," Ashdown said, addressing the RS National Assembly. He also warned lawmakers that they had less than four weeks to decide which way they want to go. 
"There are two options: a bright future and a dark one," he said. "Membership in the EU is the only future that offers BiH prosperity, security, and stability. You can choose this option if you want to. But there is a black option, too. And you can choose that as well." 
The EU is expected to decide next month whether to allow BiH to start talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first step towards eventual full-fledged membership in the Union. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has indicated that if BiH politicians reach a successful deal on police restructuring, in line with EU principles, Brussels will give the green light for the talks. 
The three principles laid down by the European Commission (EC) for police reform in BiH are: exclusive police competency at the state level, but operational control at the local level; police areas drawn up on the grounds of operational efficiency, not political control; and no political interference in policing. The main goal is to make it easier for police to fight crime, Ashdown said. 
While those principles are fixed, the ways to achieve them are not, so there is much room for compromise, the top international envoy to BiH noted. "There is a lot RS can win from this if it wants to," he said. 
Referring to concerns in RS that police reform would be a step towards abolishing the entity, Ashdown insisted there is no such agenda. "There is no plot to open up, by clandestine means, the question of constitutional reform," he said. "This is not an attack on RS. There is no attempt to abolish the entities." Nor, he added, did it imply that the RS interior ministry had to be abolished. 
Rather, Ashdown said, it would bring benefits such as better equipment to fight crime and equal payment in the two entities for the same job. 
Citing the results of a new poll conducted only in RS, Ashdown said 79 per cent of respondents said they want BiH to join the EU and 51 per cent had voiced support for the establishment of a state level police service, if it would place the country on the path to Europe. "A clear 59 per cent of RS citizens think that criminals have more influence over politicians, than ordinary citizens," the envoy noted, adding that according to 77 per cent of the respondents, "Police need to do more to fight crime." This is what the three EU principles are designed to do, he added. 
Speaking to reporters later, RS Prime Minister Pero Bukejlovic said it is possible to find a compromise solution on police reform without changing the RS and BiH constitutions.

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BiH motorway project begins

Construction of the new Podlugovi-Visoko motorway in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) started in March, Balkan Times reported.
The 8.5km long road section will form part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor Vc. The project is likely to be at a fast pace and the construction company believes it will complete it in 10 months. For Bosnia and Herzegovina it will be the most important route in the country and the shortest road communication between Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea. The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Bosnia and Herzegovina had invited eligible consultants and experts to express their interest in providing the preliminary feasibility design and environmental study, engineering study, preliminary design and environmental study. The motorway is expected to be of the highest standards and to meet the expectations of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sources said recently.

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