No new aid for Bosnia without progress

SARAJEVO, Apr 20, 2000 -- (Reuters) There will be no new donor conference for Bosnia until it has shown some progress in reforms, European Union External Relation Commissioner Chris Patten said on Wednesday.

After Bosnia's devastating 1992-95 civil war international donors committed $5.1 billion to aid the country's recovery and help spur free-market reforms. The EU made the largest contribution to the reconstruction funds.

The aid covered the 1996-1999 period and there has been local speculation that a new donor conference could be called for Bosnia.

But Patten said Bosnia still had a lot of work to do to fulfil the requirements set by the international community.

"It would not be very sensible to have a donors conference unless things appear to be going very well, because it would limit the enthusiasm of donors to contribute," Patten told a news conference.

"I think what we would like to see is absolutely clear politically and economically in terms of institution building, and in terms of the economic reforms, like a transparent privatization process," said Patten.

Last month, Bosnia was promised fresh funds when international donors pledged more than 2.4 billion euros ($2.27 billion) for the Balkans Stability Pact, a treaty offering the countries of the region financial aid in exchange for reforms and cooperation.

Western envoys, who say that reforms in Bosnia are behind schedule, accuse the ruling nationalists of obstruction.

Patten said that the political directors of the international body in charge of the peace process would meet in late May to discuss Bosnia's achievements.

The European Union has pledged some 100 million euro for Bosnia in 2000.

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