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Nov 20, 2007 18:58 EEST
November 20 (SeeNews) - The EU Council of foreign ministers has extended the mandate of the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia by two years to December 31, 2009, EUPM said on Tuesday.
“While welcoming the significant progress that the EUPM has made in developing a sustainable police service in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council also recognised that the Police Mission’s aim to establish a sustainable, professional, and multiethnic police force, which will act in line with European standards, has not yet been achieved,” EUPM said in a statement posted on its website.
Unifying Bosnia’s ethnically divided police force has been a key condition set by the EU for establishing closer ties with Bosnia, the only country in the Western Balkans that does not have any contractual relationship with the bloc yet.
Bosnia’s two autonomous parts, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic, currently have their own governments, parliaments and policing.
Bosnian politicians have failed to agree on a EU-brokered police plan for police reform for three years now, mainly due to the reluctance of Bosnian Serbs to give up the autonomy of their police force.
EUPM, the first EU international mission under the European Defence and Security Policy, was launched on January 1, 2003, for an initial period of three years. Following an invitation by the Bosnian authorities, the EU decided to establish a follow-on police mission, whose mandate was to expire on December 31 this year.
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