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EU Enlargement Chief Urges Progress On Bosnian Reforms

Olli Rehn (file photo) (epa) March 16, 2007 -- European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says he is disappointed with Bosnia's failure to implement key reforms.

In a speech to parliament in Sarajevo today, Rehn told lawmakers the EU will not conclude a premembership agreement with the country unless there is progress on police reforms and better cooperation with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Since the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, the country has been divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serbian entity. Each has its own government and police force. An EU proposal to merge the two police forces has been blocked by Bosnian Serbs.

Rehn said bickering over the issue could cost Bosnia its EU aspirations.

"I encouraged the members of the [Bosnian] Presidency to use their political influence so that agreements on the police reform as well as full cooperation with the [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] could be achieved without further delay," Rehn told journalists in Sarajevo.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime military chief, Ratko Mladic, also continue to evade justice. The two are the most senior officials to be indicted for war crimes at The Hague still at large.