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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

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)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina



Update No: 119 - (30/04/07)

Bosnia is a historic place. The best-known event is the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife on June 28th, 1914, which sparked off the First World War.

But it is now indelibly associated with the war of 1992-95, ended by the Dayton Agreement, whose main Western negotiator, Richard Holbrooke, it is rueful to think, would have become US Secretary of State but for a few missing chads in 2000.

Dodik insists on RS as part of BiH
The fragility of the state is still evident, with the Serbs envious of Montenegro's new-found independence. That was won from Serbia, whereas theirs from BiH would put them in a position to be gobbled up by Serbia.

There are doubtless Bosnian Serbs who would want that. But they do not really include the politicians that would be put out of a job by such a development. Prime Minister of Republika Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik, said that Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot exist without RS as its integral part. Dodik underlined that there would no talks on police reforms nor on the constitutional changes "if certain officials in Sarajevo think of BiH without RS," reiterating that no abolishment of entity-based voting will take place.

According to him, the current political situation in RS is better than ever. 

Galijasevic: BiH won't survive if Silajdzic remains in power 
Not everyone agree with him there. Bosnia and Herzegovina will not survive in the next 10 years if one particular Bosniac member of BiH's collective presidency, Haris Silajdzic, remains on the political stage. The statement was made by Dzevad Galijasevic, deputy head of New Democratic Party, in an interview with Nezavisne Novine daily.

He directly blamed Silajdzic of stealing $20 million from a Pakistan loan, adding that he sponsors a terrorist network in BiH.

"The state authorities do not fight against terrorists because Silajdzic won't allow the problem to be solved," Galijasevic said, alluding to Wahhabi movement.

Sanader And Spiric: Outstanding Issues Should Be Resolved As Soon As Possible
Croatia is hoping to become a regional leader in the Balkans. It is not as well-off as Slovenia. But it is bigger and closer to the heartlands of the region. With this in mind Sanader visited Bosnia recently.

"Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have a lot more in common and a lot more reasons for cooperation than they have outstanding issues in their relations," Sanader said in Sarajevo on March 29th at the start of a two-day official visit. 

Speaking to reporters after meeting members of the Bosnian Council of Ministers, led by Chairman Nikola Spiric, Sanader said that both sides agreed that it was necessary to strengthen their cooperation and settle the outstanding issues without delay. 
He said that a new proposal had been put forward to Bosnia-Herzegovina to permanently resolve the dispute over the use of the southern Croatian seaport of Ploce. Spiric said that the proposal offered his country the status of most privileged nation in Ploce, and that it would be considered. He noted that Croatia and Prime Minister Sanader were actively pursuing a solution to the problem.

Sanader added that a solution to the Ploce issue should be sought in the context of plans for the construction of transport corridor Vc and that therefore Croatia proposed a modern approach that included giving Bosnia-Herzegovina most privileged nation status.

Speaking of the border issue, the two prime ministers said that most of it had been resolved and that it should be left to experts to try once again to find a solution to the dispute over the border near the Bosnian coastal town of Neum and the border on the Una river near Kostajnica. If those efforts fail, a final solution should be sought through international arbitration, both prime ministers said.

Sanader said he was convinced that the construction of a bridge between the Peljesac peninsula and the mainland would begin soon since an agreement had been reached on all important technical details.

On the subject of ownership of oil pipeline operator Jadranski Naftovod (JANAF), Sanader said that Croatia considered the issue closed in the late 1980s and early 1990s and that it was Croatian property. He, however, added that Croatia was willing to consider any new arguments and evidence offered by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Sanader said that Croatia strongly supported Sarajevo's application for the seat of the Permanent Secretariat of the Southeast Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP).

Responding to reporters' questions, Sanader said his government believed that Bosnia-Herzegovina needed a more modern solution to its internal organisation than the one offered by the Dayton peace agreement, but that it should be reached with the consent of all three constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Sanader said he would be glad if Bosnian Croat parties HDZ BiH and HDZ 1990 drew closer to each other or even merged to form a single party. He, however, stressed that it was a matter for the Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to decide and that Zagreb would not want to interfere.

Asked if his visit was part of the election campaign in Croatia, Sanader said that was not the case, predicting an outright victory for his HDZ party in November.

Two members of Bosnia-Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Haris Silajdzic and Zeljko Komsic, received Prime Minister Sanader who led a Croatian delegation on a two-day official visit to Sarajevo.

The officials agreed that bilateral relations were good and that outstanding issues should be settled in line with the common goals of strengthening the already good neighbourly cooperation and drawing closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions.

According to a press release issued by the Bosnian presidency, Sanader said that prospective constitutional changes in Bosnia should guarantee equality for all the three constituent peoples, including the Croats who are the smallest constituent group.

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Has Bosnia with its tripartite structure anything to say about Iraq? Not really, as the Bush Administration is discovering, the Middle East is very different from Europe, even the Balkans.

Bosnia is still dysfunctional; no model for Iraq
Of all the ironies of the American misadventure in Iraq, perhaps none is larger than holding up the so-called success of Bosnia as a model to solve the sectarian violence now raging in Baghdad. The Dayton Agreement, which just marked its 11th anniversary, did indeed end Bosnia's bitter war (which remains, per capita, more lethal than that of Iraq.) Thanks to American-led diplomacy, under Richard Holbrooke, Dayton has provided an opportunity for the country's three peoples to bargain within institutions and not on the battlefield. As a model of success it is more appropriate to what is needed in the Israel - Palestine conflict, given the firmness with which the USA as moderator brought matters to a conclusion at Dayton, rather than a solution to the Iraqi shambles.

But after 11 years of intensive international effort, it is time to face up to the sad reality. Bosnia's Serbs, Croats and Muslims simply do not share a common vision for the country. The Dayton legacy of balancing power at the central, cantonal and local levels is hopelessly dysfunctional. And the notion that European Union membership will serve as the panacea for Bosnia's ethnic struggles and institutional complexity is increasingly a pipe dream.

As with Iraq, the first step toward a solution in Bosnia is owning up to the magnitude of the problem. Bosnia, a country with a little over four million citizens, has no less than 13 different assemblies and governments. Elections were held in October, but not one government at any level has yet been formed. The unwieldy structures impose a severe cost on the country's struggling economy. Inside the semi-autonomous Serb "entity," there has been some progress, but rather than moderate Serb attitudes towards their neighbours, it has had the opposite effect. Serbs are as adamant as ever about their autonomy.

With neighbouring Serbia now poised to lose Kosovo in 2007, there are threats from the Bosnian Serbs to secede outright from Bosnia. While secession is most unlikely, the Kosovo decision is sure to exacerbate tensions.

Painstaking negotiations began early last year to reshape the Constitution - an absolute must to lift the country out of stagnation and put it on track to become even a potential EU member. For the first- time since the peace agreement was negotiated in November 1995, the parties were again discussing - among themselves and with limited international direction - how they wanted to improve and strengthen the central government.

The US embassy eventually took over the process and the parties reached a consensus. But in a narrow vote last spring, the package of constitutional reforms failed to pass Parliament. And now, following an acrimonious election campaign in which Haris Silajdzic, the chief opponent of the deal, triumphed, the prospects for constitutional reform have slipped markedly. Indeed, opposition to the reform package has emerged as a bellwether issue in the struggle to form a government in the country's Croat-Muslim Federation.

For foreign diplomats, now preoccupied with containing the potentially destabilizing situation on Kosovo, the temptation to paper over the problems in Bosnia is strong. It is also fraught with risk. With Serbia's democracy in question and the coming burden of having to nurture a fledgling, unstable new state in Kosovo, the last thing the region needs is to be blindsided by crisis in Bosnia.

But the United States, which has traditionally been the clear-eyed stalwart in the region, is inviting just that. Accepting the argument of European ideologues, Washington has agreed to dismantle the Office of the High Representative next summer in the hope that the EU accession process will solve remaining issues.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this strategy will work. Left to their own devices, Bosnians are far more likely to feud than they are to institute critical reforms. Washington and its allies need to wake up to the risks and make it clear that an engaged High Representative is going to stay on as Bosnia continues negotiations with the EU.

Even with a continued, activist international presence, the truth is that Bosnia cannot become self-sustaining until all its people accept a shared vision of their country. Holding on to the illusion that they have already done so is, in fact, the greatest obstacle to progress in still-polarized Bosnia.

It is imperative that the United States, which led the way to peace, confront the artificial "consensus" that dogs Bosnia today as well as its counterpart, the obsolete Dayton structures. Only reform of the Constitution can forge a workable national compact for coexistence. This must become, in tandem with EU accession, the chief priority for the international community and for Bosnia. Achieving it will not be easy, but there is no reason to believe the task is impossible.

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ENERGY

INA-MOL has plans to acquire 67% of Energopetrol

The INA-MOL Consortium has formally become the owner of a 67 per cent share in Energopetrol of Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Croatia Today reported on April 5th.
After the successful recapitalisation of company, INA and MOL were listed in the security registry of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina as Energopetrol stock-holders, the Croatian oil company said. INA and MOL now hold an equal share of 33.5 per cent in Energopetrol, or 1,840,129 regular stocks, each.
Energopetrol's base capital has increased to 68.66 million crowns with the injection of capital by the new shareholders.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Agrokor says it wants to expand in Sarajevo

The president of Croatia's Agrokor concern, Ivica Todoric, confirmed in the Bosnia and Herzegovina capital Sarajevo that the company plans to expand there, as he announced continuation of negotiations on joint investments with Serbia's Delta holding, Croatia Today reported on April 5th.
Todoric visited Sarajevo for signing of the collective agreement regulating the rights of employees of mineral water producer Sarajevski kiseljak, which is owned by Agrokor. He reminded that Kiseljak was only one of Agrokor's investments in B&H for the past ten years, as company's total investments in this country stand at 205 million Euro. Todoric confirmed that the recent acquisition of the retail chain VF komerc, Agrokor plans to construct six to seven more trade centres throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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FOREIGN LOANS

EIB grants 50m Euro loan for road works

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan worth 50 million Euro to support pavement rehabilitation, overlays and strengthening, and for ancillary works on the main and regional road network in the Bosnia-Herzegovina, New Europe reported.
Last year, the EIB granted a loan worth 40 million Euro for the rehabilitation of the road network in the Republika Srpska. As with the earlier operation in the Republika Srpska, the selection of the road sections (some 109 sections totalling to 1,184 kilometres) covered by the new project was made on the basis of the evaluation of the entire road network of Bosnia-Herzegovina, taking into account the traffic volumes and condition of the roads. The EIB loans will finance 50 per cent of the total costs of the two projects (in the Republika Srpska and in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina) that are expected to be co-financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank.

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