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06:43, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 14:34, 30 June 2012 Saturday

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EU ends police mission in Bosnia after a decade
EU ends police mission in Bosnia after a decade

The pullout of some 130 European Union Police Mission (EUPM) officials came as the small Balkan country is hoping to apply for EU membership this year.

World Bulletin/News Desk

A European Union police mission in Bosnia ended on Saturday after a decade of training local police forces and overseeing law enforcement agencies that were rebuilt almost from scratch after the 1992-95 war.

The pullout of some 130 European Union Police Mission (EUPM) officials came as the small Balkan country is hoping to apply for EU membership this year.

The EUPM, the first police mission set up by the EU, was deployed in 2003 and it initially comprised some 500 police officials in charge of training local police and monitoring law enforcement agencies. Over the years, the mission has been reduced to about 130 officials.

The operation, replacing a United Nations police mission, was seen as a litmus test for the EU's common defence policy.

"We leave behind a system of police organisations and institutions in the criminal justice that have achieved a level of professionalism in providing security and the rule of law that makes them prepared for what is coming now," said EUPM head Stefan Feller.

Bosnia is still struggling to build a viable state from the wreckage of the war. An international envoy and a peacekeeping force remain in place in the country, which since the war ended has been split into two autonomous regions.

Feller said some of the EUPM functions would be handed over to a new unit of the EU delegation in Bosnia, with Special Representative Peter Sorensen serving as mediator between local law enforcement agencies and EU counterparts.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.