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Archive for Bosnia

Newsline: French ambassador in Bosnia summoned over Macron’s ‘time bomb’ remark

Bosnia’s presidency summoned the French ambassador on Friday to protest over President Emmanuel Macron’s comment that the country is a “time bomb” due to returning Islamist fighters. Macron, commenting on France’s refusal to support the start of negotiations for European Union accession with North Macedonia and Albania, said a real concern for the EU was Bosnia. “If you’re concerned about this region, the first question is neither North Macedonia nor Albania, it’s Bosnia-Herzegovina, the time-bomb that’s ticking right next to Croatia, and which faces the problem of returning jihadists,” Macron said in an interview with British weekly The Economist published on Thursday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bosnia-macron-reaction/french-ambassador-in-bosnia-summoned-over-macrons-time-bomb-remark-idUSKBN1XI250) Zeljko Komsic, a Croat who currently chairs Bosnia’s inter-ethnic presidency, summoned Ambassador Guillaume Rousson and informed him about the numbers of foreign fighters and Bosnia’s efforts to counter terrorism, the presidency said in a statement. He also invited Macron to visit Bosnia. Macron’s comments prompted angry reactions among Bosnian Muslims who make up a half of the population.

Newsline: Bosnian court trims sentence for U.S. embassy gunman to 15 years

A Bosnian appeals court trimmed the prison sentence given to an Islamist gunman after he apologized for opening fire on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo in 2011, seriously wounding a police officer. The court cut Mevlid Jasarevic’s sentence from 18 years to 15, citing mitigating circumstances such as the fact that he was not part of a criminal group. Jasarevic, being re-tried for the attack, had last week apologized for firing on the embassy for more than 40 minutes, calling it a “stupid act”. He appeared in court clean-shaven and wearing a white shirt and jeans, instead of with the long Islamist beard and traditional robe and skullcap he had before. The attack by Jasarevic, a Muslim originally from neighboring Serbia who recently said he had distanced himself from the strict Wahhabi form of Islam, had revived debate over the threat of radical Islam in the Balkans. His previous conviction was overturned in July after judges ruled the original trial was flawed. Defense lawyers had argued they did not have access to witness testimony and evidence.


Newsline: US Embassy Pushes Reform Of Bosnia’s Federation

The US ambassador to Bosnia, Patrick Moon, has set up a group of experts and lawyers to work on making a more functional and less bureaucratic system in the Federation entity. Moon said that the idea was well supported – but responsibility for success would like on local authorities, legal experts, civil society leaders, and citizens. The expert group “will carefully consider all options to improve the functionality, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of the Federation,” Moon wrote. Moon emphasized that there will be no specific US proposal on the matter but the group of experts will do the job of consulting politicians, citizens and the civil sector.


Newsline: US embassy attacker in Bosnia jailed for 18 years

A Bosnian court has sentenced a gunman who opened fire on the US embassy in Bosnia in October last year to 18 years in prison. The trial against Mevlid Jasarevic and two accomplices – Emrah Fojnica and Munib Ahmetspahic – started in June. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty. Judge Branko Peric said that Jasarevic’s sentence was the harshest the court has ever given for terrorism and should serve as a warning. The court, though, acquitted Jasarevic’s accomplices due to lack of evidence proving their direct involvement in the attack.


Newsline: Portugal to Temporarily Close Embassy in Estonia

To ease the Eurozone debt crisis impact, Portugal has decided to temporarily close down several of its foreign embassies next year, including the one in Tallinn. The Portuguese Embassy in Helsinki will take over the functions of the office in Estonia. In addition, embassies in Kenya, Malta, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other two Baltic nations will also be temporarily closed and their jurisdiction passed on to nearest delegations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal said in a statement. With cutting back on staff numbers and merging embassies, Portugal hopes to save around 12 million euros next year.



Newsline: Arrests in Serbia after attack on U.S. Embassy in Bosnia

Police say 15 people suspected of belonging to an extremist Islamic sect have been detained in southern Serbia. The arrests in Sandzak early Saturday were made after a man from the Muslim-dominated region of Serbia fire with an automatic weapon outside the U.S. Embassy in neighbouring Bosnia Friday in what authorities called a terrorist attack. A policeman and the gunman were wounded. The embassy said none of its employees was hurt. The shooter was identified as Mevlid Jasarevic from Novi Pazar, the administrative capital of Sandzak. Serbian officials say he is the follower of the Wahhabis, a conservative Islamic sect that is rooted inSaudi Arabiaand linked to religious militants in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.



Consular affairs: Switzerland will terminate consulates in Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina

The Swiss government reached a decision to terminate consulates in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia from September 1. According to John T.C. McGough, member of the ASR for Switzerland and also as a member of the board of the Swiss Club of Hungary, the move is irrational and would place Swiss citizens living or working in the region in an unacceptable position. The cited motive behind the measure is the reduction of expenses. Swiss citizens are required to register with the nearest consulate when traveling abroad and these offices are also in charge of visas and the administration necessary for foreigners to travel to Switzerland. In the revised structure, taking care of whatever bureaucratic affair in the eastern part of Hungary would require traveling all the way to Vienna.



Newsline: Ex-UN Ambassador For Bosnia Can Stay In US

A U.S. citizen who served as Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations cannot be extradited even though he is accused of embezzling more than $610,000 from the government of the war-torn Balkan nation, a federal appeals court rule. The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a loss for U.S. prosecutors and overturns a decision ordering that Muhamed Sacirbey, 53, be returned to Bosnia to face questioning about the money.