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On Bosnia, Zvornik Post Office Attack Downplayed, Or Seen as Symbol

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 12 -- During the Bosnia and Herzogovina debate in the UN Security Council on May 12 the attack on the police station in Zvornik on April 27 was described with varying levels of detail.

High Representative Valentin Inzko said "A week after submitting my report, Bosnia and Herzegovina was rocked by a shocking incident when a lone attacker killed one police officer and injured two others at a police station. I take this opportunity to again offer my condolences to the family of the police officer who lost his life in the line of duty. I also wish a speedy recovery to the two injured police officers. The response of the authorities was swift and it will be important that we see ever closer cooperation between authorities at all levels to tackle a wide range of law enforcement challenges facing the country, including the ongoing fight against terrorism, which as we know is a global change."

 Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin in his speech said, "We would like to draw your attention to trends which should lead to concern, not only within the context of Bosnia Herzegovina, but the region as a whole. We are referring here to a growth of extremism among the Bosnian population in Bosnia Herzegovina and in other Muslim communities in the region of the western Balkans. This threat is one which should be viewed in the right key. The terrorist action in the city of Zvornik on the 27th of April, where an armed Islamist attacked a police station, is confirmation of this.

"Especial attention should be devoted to the participation of Bosnians in the conflicts in the Middle East. As part of IS and Jabhat al Nusra, you have hundreds of citizens of BH and there is also a channel for the transit of terrorists through the country. We welcome the efforts in Sarajevo to increase the responsibility of foreign fighters for their actions abroad. Last year, amendments were made to the criminal code which are to limit the recruitment of Bosniaks into ISIL and other illegal formations abroad. Bosnian law enforcement agencies are carrying out special operations on such networks are arresting locals. At the same time, such actions and measures remain insufficient and ae not providing the necessary impact on reducing the influence of Islamists. Of course in the post conflict situation in the western Balkans this is especially dangerous, confirmed by the recent outbreak of inter ethnic and inter religious confrontation in multinational Macedonia and in neighboring regions."

  The violence in FYROM have drawn nary a peep from the UN Security Council.

  Back on November 11, 2014, the Bosnia and Herzegovina resolution put to the vote in the UN Security Council drew a rare abstention, from Russia. After that, the speeches went on in their predicable way.

  High Representative for BiH Valentin Inzko said that “we expect the needs of citizens to be tackled head on and for the country to be put back on track for Euro-Atlantic integration.”

  Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, himself Russia's envoy to Bosnia at one point, said that the 5 plus 2 process in the country should not be “infused with new concepts such as the integration of the country into European Union and NATO.”

 Guess what was the elephant in the room, or chamber? On November 12 at 2:30 pm, there is now scheduled a briefing about Ukraine, by Oscar Fernandez Taranco's replacement Jens Toyberg-Frandzen of Denmark, who was until recently UNDP Resident Representative ad interim in Ukraine (July-September 2014) and back in 2003-2006,  Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Small world.

  Earlier this year at the International Monetary Fund's May 22 embargoed briefing, spokesperson Gerry Rice answered Inner City Press' question about the Balkan floods.

  From the IMF transcript released today, video here from Minute 26:

GERRY RICE: Let me go online for a minute, because I've got a couple of questions here from Matthew Russell Lee. He asked Mali... and about the serious flooding in the Balkans which we're all, of course, very concerned about that. He's asking about the impact on the countries of the Balkans, and Serbia, and Bosnia.

Serbia's, again, been significantly affected. We have great concern, also, about the human casualties and the wide-spread damage, but we do not yet know the full extent of that. As an EU pre-accession country Serbia will be eligible for aid from the EU's disaster Fund.

In the meantime, the IMF engaged with Serbia through our policy advice, as well as in our discussion with other international, financial organizations through our resident representative. On Bosnia, actually, we have a staff team on the ground right now.

  Inner City Press, beyond Mali (reported here), had also asked about Yemen, adding the response to that as an update and now here:

ICP Question: Yemen's Finance Minister said the country will reduce fuel subsidies to get a $500M IMF program, hoped to be concluded by end of May. What is the status, and what about fuel shortages and impacted Yemenis?

IMF Answer: A mission is discussing with the authorities their economic reform program and how the IMF can support them.

  Well, a similar reduction in subsidies by the government in 2005 led protests that left dozens killed and wounded. And now? Watch this site.


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