Bosnia appeals to Muslims for trade

KUALA LUMPUR (AP) – Bosnia-Herzegovina is seeking more trade and investment from Muslim countries to boost its economic muscle as it moves toward European Union membership, its prime minister said yesterday. Prime Minister Adnan Terzic said Bosnia’s top export markets were European nations such as Austria, Germany and Lithuania, but his country wants to attract more Islamic investors to participate in its emerging sectors such as tourism and manufacturing. «We’re striving to become a full member of EU and NATO,» Terzic, the leader of the ruling Muslim Party for Democratic Action, said in a speech to Malaysian business leaders during a visit to Kuala Lumpur. «In order to achieve this, we need to strengthen our economy. We have a goal that… by the end of 2007, we are going to become an economically self-sustainable country.» Bosnia is expected to begin talks next month on a «stabilization and association agreement» designed to prepare the Balkan nation for eventual EU membership. The country has strong economic and banking fundamentals, but is struggling to overcome negative perceptions about its stability 10 years after its civil war, Terzic said. «Our problem is that many people still have vivid images of the war that is associated with my country. But that has long passed,» Terzic said. «Today we are talking about a peaceful and stable country. Today Bosnia-Herzegovina has a clear and precise program.» Earlier in the day, Terzic received a red-carpet welcome in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital, where he inspected a military honor guard and was introduced to Cabinet ministers. Terzic, heading a delegation of senior officials on a three-day visit, held bilateral talks with his Malaysian counterpart, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Badawi said he would encourage Malaysian businesses to invest in Bosnia’s infrastructure, power and gas sectors, adding that Malaysia welcomes Bosnia’s efforts to become an EU member. Terzic was to meet later with Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, King Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, at the National Palace, and hold talks with Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad.

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