Friday, September 21, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - Bosnia has covered a lot of ground towards its final objective – a completely free visa regime for its citizens,the Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic said after returning from Brussels where he signed with officials of the European Commission agreements on the relaxation of the visa regime and readmission.

Speaking at a press conference at the Sarajevo Airport Sadovic underlined the great importance of these agreements, especially in terms of the complete relaxation of the visa regime for the Bosnian citizens.

Visa relaxations will under the signed agreement be provided for 20 categories of Bosnian citizens. For many of them the visas will be entirely free and issued to longer periods of time.

Only businessmen will pay for the visas, Sadovic said and added that the signed agreements will take effect on January 1 next year. Before that happens they need to be ratified by the Bosnian Parliament and by the parliaments of the EU member states.

With these agreements the EU has sent a clear message that it understands the need of the Bosnian citizens and the region and that the EU is not only setting conditions, Sadovic said.

However, Bosnia will still have to do a lot of work before the visa regime is completely lifted. The most important steps towards that objective will be the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and the EU (SAA) and the introduction of biometric passports.

Even though EU officials have welcomed the signing of these agreements they have also informed Minister Sadovic about their concern with the situation in Bosnia and the failure to reach an agreement on police reform.

They expect Bosnia's authorities to reach a compromise on this issue as soon as possible and to allow Bosnia to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union,the Bosnian Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic said.

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