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Bosnia: World Bank Has Disbursed Nearly $600 Million

Sarajevo, 19 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - The World Bank says it has disbursed nearly $600 million for reconstruction projects in war-shattered Bosnia, but very little has gone to the semi-autonomous Serb Republic.

The bank has disbursed $558 million toward 13 approved projects costing $1 billion, said Rory O'Sullivan, the bank's representative in Bosnia. The money comes from the bank and a broad array of donor nations and organizations which have pledged nearly $2 billion.

Bank officials in Washington note, however, that because of the slowness with which the pledges are being paid in, the bank's committment to these projects is currently limited to $880 million.

O'Sullivan said the Serb Republic has received only 1.5 percent of the funds spent so far. The Serb Republic wants to deal directly with international institutions and has refused to accept money channeled through the Bosnian government.

A joint statement released by the bank and the European Union (EU) said that international donors need to be more involved to help the Serbs catch up.