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1 January 2012 - 22:50

Iran has praised the Bosnian political leaders' agreement on the formation of a central government, ending a 14-month political crisis in the tiny landlocked Balkan country.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Sunday that Tehran considers the move as a step forward towards the establishment of sustainable peace and stability in Bosnia.

Mehmanparast expressed hope that the agreement between Bosnia's Muslim, Serb and Croat leaders to form a government would help strengthen peaceful coexistence in the country, and assist all sides to principally resolve their differences within the framework of constructive and effective talks.

"We have reached an agreement on the composition of the government," Sulejman Tihic, leader of the SDA Muslim party, told a press conference on December 28.

Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic, whose party will get the prime minister's post, said "a lot of courage and determination were needed to broker this deal."

Milorad Dodik, the hardline Bosnian Serb leader, also praised the agreement as a victory for "compromise and understanding."

The formation of the central government and the agreement on the general 2012-2014 fiscal framework are key conditions for Bosnia to win back funds from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by loan, which were suspended last year due to lack of progress.

The European Commission has also blocked the USD 129m-budget support loan to Bosnia until it formed a government.

Lack of progress has also put the country at the end of the queue of EU hopefuls in the Western Balkans, behind Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Bosnia has remained a deeply divided country since the 1992-95 inter-ethnic war that left almost 100,000 people dead.

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News Code 181329