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Baulking

Betsan Powys | 10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

I once found myself in a pretty sticky situation in Bosnia.

I was working for HTV Wales, based in Split but determined to be the first Welsh journalist to get to Bugojno in Bosnia to interview Royal Welch Fusiliers whose colleagues and in some cases, brothers were being held hostage in the Muslim town of Gorazde.

The Australian cameraman and I set off at dawn, having been advised that setting off early gave us the best chance of making it in one piece .The thinking went like this: the snipers would have been drinking a lot to fend off the cold of the night and wouldn't be in any condition to aim straight. I thought how pleased my mother would be to know that, as we headed off.

We'd nearly made it when we came to yet another checkpoint, the last we hoped before arriving in Bogojno. We'd been through countless checkpoints already, all manned by Croats who'd waved us through with our countless accreditation papers and press passes, including in my case a HTV Wales pass.

But this time, as I flashed my pass their faces fell, the guns came out and so did I from the car pretty sharpish. This was a Muslim checkpoint and too late, I realised the HTV - as they saw it - stood for Hvratska TV, Croatian television. Thankfully they let me explain before we were finally waved through to meet eighteen year old soldiers from Caernarfon and Bangor who wished they'd never seen the huge former shoe factory that had been their home for what felt like far too long.

It was the Serbs who'd taken their fellow soldiers hostage in Gorazde but though we tried more than once, I never made it to the Serb-held areas Bosnia to tell the story first hand.

And now comes the news that supporters of the work of the All Wales Convention owe the Serba - and the Russians - a vote of thanks.

How come?

The Chair of the Convention, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, will not be heading off to Bosnia after all. Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko is Bosnia's new EU and international high representative, "pending approval by other members of the country's peace council" say Reuters.

That's because the Russians, according to Bosnian media, were against appointing a British diplomat to do the job because Bosnia's Serb Republic wouldn't accept a British diplomat. Reuters report that the "Bosnian Serbs see Britons as biased against Serbs after British diplomat Paddy Ashdown, who had served as international high representative in Bosnia from 2002-2005, sacked a number of Serb officials and took measures to strengthen the state."

So, thanks to the Russians, Sir Emyr gets on with the job here.

On Thursday we'll add to the debate by revealing the results of a poll on further powers for the National Assembly conducted for BBC Wales. Some seem to think they have an idea what it says. That would show a certain genius, a Gail Trimble-like genius, given that not only have we not been told yet what the level of support is for full law-making powers for the Assembly.

The pollsters are only half way through the job of posing the question.

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