DRACE, Croatia, June 22 (Reuters) – Despite two decades of
hardship, war and a loss of markets, Matko Jasprica has kept his
Croatian fish farm alive and now hopes to start exporting sea
bass and sea bream to the European Union.
It’s just as well, because officials and researchers say
fish farming, known as aquaculture, is set to become the world’s
main source of seafood over the next 20 years.
SARAJEVO, May 14 (Reuters) – Government efforts to raise at
least $21 million by selling a 19.26 percent stake in Bosnia’s
top drug firm Bosnalijek <BSNL.SJ> failed on Friday in an
offering on the Sarajevo Stock Exchange, officials said.
“The transaction failed, there have been no purchasing
orders,” said Almir Mirica, executive director of the Sarajevo
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – A Bosnian appeals court acquitted a Serb wartime commander of Srebrenica genocide charges on Wednesday, quashing an earlier 40-year prison term on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Bosnia’s war crimes court convicted Milos Stupar and six other Bosnian Serbs in 2008 in connection with the killing of several hundred Srebrenica Muslim detainees in 1995 and were sentenced to terms ranging between 38 and 42 years in prison.
SARAJEVO, April 22 (Reuters) – Violent protests by veterans of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war have put badly needed loans by the IMF and the World Bank at risk and raised the possibility of protests by other groups if the loans are lost, officials said.
Thousands of war veterans protested on Wednesday against regional government austerity measures agreed under the 1.2 billion euro ($1.61 billion) standby deal with the International Monetary Fund, which toughen criteria for veterans’ payments.
Ex-soldiers and other war-related groups, such as decorated and disabled veterans and their families, want reform laws passed by the Muslim-Croat federation parliament in February to be abolished. They also want the prime minister and his cabinet to resign.
"This is not about real requests by veterans," said Federation Prime Minister Mustafa Mujezinovic.
He said a request by decorated veterans to raise the income threshold for government benefits had been met by the government a day before the protests.
Talking by telephone to the federation television late on Thursday, Mujezinovic said that his government would hold a meeting with veterans’ associations on Monday but that he saw no possibility for further concessions.
"If we translate all of this to real-life consequences, it will mean that the IMF stand-by arrangement will be suspended, the (federation) budget will have 335 million Bosnian marka less, we shall not be able to pay 400,000 pensioners," he said.
Without loans from the IMF and the World Bank, already included in the federation budget, all budget beneficiaries, including veterans, will see payments cut and "then they will come to protest against the government", he said.
Bosnia’s Prime Minister Nikola Spiric said the IMF was not expected to change terms of the loan to meet veterans’ demands.
"I am sorry about what happened yesterday," Spiric told Reuters. "Everyone in Bosnia-Herzegovina must engage in dialogue with affected groups to avoid such protests."
The IMF representative in Bosnia declined to comment, saying that a visit by the lender’s mission in early May will be an opportunity to overview Bosnia’s performance in fulfilling the standby conditions.
Mujezinovic said he believed that protests, in which around 70 people were injured including 32 policemen, were politically staged before parliamentary and presidential elections this year. (Editing by Adam Tanner)
SARAJEVO, April 14 (Reuters) – The spiritual leader of Bosnia’s Muslim majority challenged the Serbian president on Wednesday to apologise unreservedly for wartime Bosnian Serb atrocities and launch a process of reconciliation.
In an interview with Reuters a day after Serbian President Boris Tadic visited Bosnia to boost business ties, Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric charged that Belgrade was still trying to deceive the world with false words and empty gestures.
At Tadic’s initiative, the Serbian parliament last month passed a resolution condemning the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims but stopped short of a direct apology and did not call the killings genocide.
"By denial of genocide and ridiculing the victims of genocide, they are preparing for a second genocide," Ceric told Reuters in an interview.
"My message to the European Union is: don’t allow again that tears of humanity from Belgrade deceive you," he said. Serbia had not changed at all, he contended, and "what Belgrade is doing with Tadic is just deception".
By contrast, the Muslim cleric praised Croatian President Ivo Josipovic for apologising to the Bosnian parliament on Wednesday for his country’s role in fuelling ethnic divisions among Bosnian Croats, Muslims and Serbs.
"He is sincere of course, and I am very happy," Ceric said.
He said Josipovic had telephoned to invite him to accompany the president on Thursday to the site of a 1993 Bosnian Croat atrocity against Bosnian Serbs, and he would attend along with Bosnia’s top Roman Catholic prelate, Cardinal Vinko Puljic.
Asked whether he would welcome a similar phone call from Tadic, Ceric said: "I am waiting for this call and I will be the happiest person in the world to receive such a call from the president of Serbia and to open this process of Bosnian-Serbian dialogue that would lead to reconciliation."
However, he said Belgrade must meet two conditions: a clear and unequivocal condemnation of genocide, apologising to the victims "with no buts"; and a public promise to the world "that they will not repeat genocide against anyone in the Balkans".
Serbia argues that it was not directly responsible for atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs in the 1992-95 Bosnia war, and that other nations must recognise war crimes committed against Serbs.
The mufti, widely respected for promoting a moderate brand of Islam in Europe and for his commitment to interfaith dialogue with Christians and Jews, said he had visited Tadic in Belgrade to discuss launching a civil society dialogue on reconciliation.
But he said Belgrade had only begun to move because it was politically isolated after Croatia agreed to make July 11, the date of the Srebrenica massacre, a day of remembrance, and fellow former Yugoslav republics Montenegro and Macedonia had followed suit.
Without a European Parliament resolution last year overwhelmingly condemning the massacre as an act of genocide and naming the Bosnian Serb leaders as responsible, the Belgrade parliament would not have put it on the agenda, he argued.
"Serbia was put in a corner to do it," Ceric said. (Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Charles Dick)
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Dubai has the money to pay its share of Dubai World’s rescue plan and can help other state-linked firms that may be facing “small issues,” the vice chairman of the emirate’s top fiscal body said in an interview.
Dubai unveiled a $9.5 billion rescue plan for Dubai World last month, as part of its offer to repay creditors of the state-owned conglomerate.
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – About 1,000 Turkish students have left home to attend university in Bosnia, attracted by the low cost of living, good food and — for women — the right to wear an Islamic headscarf.
On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan officially opened a new campus of the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) on the outskirts of the Bosnian capital.
SARAJEVO, March 5 (Reuters) – Several thousand Bosnians protested outside the British and Serbian embassies in Sarajevo on Friday against the arrest in London of a Bosnian Muslim wartime leader wanted by Serbia on suspicion of war crimes.
British police arrested this week Ejup Ganic, a member of Bosnia’s wartime presidency, on a provisional extradition warrant from Serbia for alleged war crimes committed in Sarajevo in 1992 against soldiers of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA).
The arrest sparked anger and shock among Bosnian Muslim politicians and citizens of Sarajevo who survived the 1992-95 siege run by Bosnian Serb forces, helped by Serbia and JNA troops and artillery.
"We were defenders and they want to turn us into aggressors," said Nijaz Zahiragic, a former soldier at the protest. "We were defending the freedom and dignity of all people, regardless of their ethnicity and religion."
"We Want Ganic", chanted protesters waving Bosnian flags and carrying placards reading "Britain-Shame on You".
Both Bosnia and Serbia have requested Ganic’s extradition from Britain. Officials and analysts say Ganic’s case is likely to worsen relations between the two countries.
"This is a provocation by Serbia to radicalise the situation in Bosnia," said a woman who did not want to give her name.
"This is all done so that they don’t arrest Mladic," said Edina Menzilovic, referring to Serbia’s failure to arrest Bosnian Serb wartime General Ratko Mladic, indicted for genocide in Bosnia by the United Nations war crime tribunal in The Hague.
Serbia last year opened a case into an attack on a JNA column retreating from Sarajevo, saying that 42 soldiers and officers were killed, 73 wounded and 215 taken prisoner.
The attack happened on May 3, 1992, a day after Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was kidnapped by Serb forces and Sarajevo came under the worst mortar attack since the Bosnian Serbs besieged the Bosnian capital in April 1992.
"We released Alija Izetbegovic, we’ll release you as well, Ejup," shouted Avdo Hebib, the wartime police minister and a protest organiser, with the crowd approving his words.
Some officials and diplomats expressed concern that the ‘Ganic affair’ may worsen wider regional relations.
"The arrest of Ejup Ganic at London airport will continue preventing free travel of all people in the region and may result in similar countermeasures by other Balkan countries," German diplomat Christian Schwarz-Schilling said in a statement.
"The Serbian government’s continued engagement in this case may continue destabilising the region and working against Serbia’s own interests," said Schwarz-Schilling, who was Bosnia’s international peace envoy from 2006-2007. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Adam Tanner)
SARAJEVO, March 2 (Reuters) – Bosnia and Serbia are both vying to secure the extradition of Bosnian Muslim wartime leader Ejup Ganic, who has been arrested in London at Serbia’s request on suspicion of war crimes, officials said on Tuesday.
Ganic, a former member of Bosnia’s wartime presidency, was detained on Monday on a provisional extradition warrant for alleged crimes committed in Sarajevo in 1992, when a retreating column of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) was attacked and scores of soldiers killed and wounded.
Bosnia, which launched a probe into the case several years ago, wants Ganic to be investigated and prosecuted at home in line with an agreement it signed with Serbia last week. That pact says suspects wanted by two states should be tried in the country of their residence.
"The prosecution considers that dealing with war crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Bosnian citizens is under its exclusive authority," said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, adding that the office would ask a British court to hand Ganic over to Bosnia.
Serbia, which last year opened its own case relating to the attack and issued arrest warrants for 19 Bosnian ex-officials, including Ganic, said it would send its own extradition request.
"The ministry is working hard to prepare necessary documents and I expect that we will send an extradition request by the end of this week," said Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic.
Serbia opened the case on the request of a Bosnian Serb association of wartime detainees, who were displeased with the slow pace of Bosnia’s investigation.
Many Bosnians do not trust Serbia’s judiciary, which arrested a Bosnian former wartime official several years ago and kept him in detention for 18 months before indicting him.
Some question Serbia’s motive for seeking Ganic’s extradition over charges relating to the Bosnian 1992-95 war, in which 100,000 people had been killed.
"This is aimed by Serbian authorities to rehabilitate perpetrators of the crimes…in Bosnia-Herzegovina and to demonise victims of the aggression of Serbia," said Muslim member of Bosnia’s inter-ethnic presidency Haris Silajdzic.
Silajdzic served as foreign minister in the wartime Bosnian government in which Ganic — who now manages a Sarajevo university — was a member of Bosnia’s rotating presidency. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Adam Tanner and Charles Dick)
SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Paying benefits to veterans of the wars that broke up former Yugoslavia hits budgets of all the breakaway states, but none harder than Bosnia, where the problem could cause financial collapse, experts and official say.
Croatia is relatively rich and pays substantial money to its half million veterans of the 1990s wars, Serbia does not pay out to the many who were paramilitaries and Kosovo’s war veterans wield considerable political clout.