Friday, September 14, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – Head of the Bosnian Islamic Community Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric sent a Ramadan message. He emphasized the religious obligation of fasting and explained its inner and outer dimension.

Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric expressed hope in his message that the man’s covenant to the God will be fulfilled in the best of ways.

Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric added that the act of fasting reflects the belief that the God’s mercy is near us and that the Lord is with the people and that He will forgive.

”Once we start fasting, we should pray the Lord to give us all the best of health, will and strength during this Ramadan”, Reis-Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric stated in his message. He congratulated the beginning of Ramadan to Bosnian Muslims and to all the Muslims around the world.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - Amid warnings of "dire consequences" if no compromise is reached, the leaders of Bosnia's main political parties are attempting to hash out a deal on police reform.

New talks on police reform kicked off in Sarajevo on Wednesday (September 12th). They come amid warnings that Bosnia will see its progress towards EU accession derailed unless an agreement is reached by the end of the month.

The country wrapped up its talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU in December. However, Brussels has said the accord will only be signed once the current stalemate over police reform has been overcome.

If Bosnia's politicians fail to reach a compromise within the next three weeks, "the international community will have to react",the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak told the British daily The Guardian.

"There will be no business as usual. We won't beat around the bush. We'll name names," Lajcak said.

Lajcak recently floated a compromise proposal, but it was immediately rejected by leaders of key Bosniak and Serb parties. The new talks, involving representatives of the eight main political parties, focus on the technical aspects of Lajcak's plan.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic, who also heads the SBIH party, argues that it does not go far enough and would reward the Serbians living in Bosnia. Silajdzic is a proponent of abolishing "th RS" (the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia) and unifying Bosnia under a strong central administration.

Others claim Lajcak's proposal, which has not been publicised yet, is not in line with principles set out by the European Commission (EC) for police restructuring in Bosnia.

Technical details related to the police reform proposal made by the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak were the central topic of the meeting held at the Office of the International Community's High Representative (OHR) building on Wednesday. OHR representatives and eight Bosnia's main political parties’ experts attended.

The only officials who addressed the press after the meeting were the representatives of the political parties of the Serbians living in Bosnia.

SNSD Party representative Stanislav Cadjo stated that the atmosphere at the meeting was fair and that the different opinions were presented. He added that the talks are to continue and that some concrete observations from the meeting will be submitted to all the participants.

”The following meeting has been planned for Tuesday. By that time, the parties involved are to state their opinions about the three concrete items that were discussed”, PDP Party representative Slobodan Nafradic said. Those items are the Bosnian State Border Police structure and the future database.

He added that the parties’ representatives had an opportunity to see other parties’ attitudes related to Lajcak’s proposal.

The EU wants all legislative and budgetary competencies for all police matters to be vested at the Bosnian state level. It says there should be no political interference in the operational work of police and that police zones must be established on the basis of professional criteria, rather than on ethnicity.

"Diametrically opposed and incompatible views of the main leaders are crowding out moderate positions, which makes it difficult to reach agreement on the key issues," Lajcak said.

Top EU officials have rallied behind Lajcak, dismissing comments that his plan violates the three EC principles.(?)

Failure to reach an agreement will not only mean a delay in signing the SAA, but will push Bosnia's European perspective "further down the road", EU security chief Javier Solana said recently after talks with Lajcak.

Lajcak, who also serves as the EU special representative in Bosnia, has broad authority under the so-called Bonn Powers, including the right to sack elected officials. He has warned that Bosnia's politicians will face dire consequences if the country's EU bid is derailed.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – The Canadian Ambassador to Bosnia David Hutchings and the Bosnian Minister of Civil Affairs Sredoje Novic signed two memorandums on understanding for the projects that are to be implemented by the Canadian government. The Bosnian healthcare sector reform is the aim of the projects.

Conditions and deadlines for Canadian and Bosnian participation in implementation of the projects are defined in the memorandums. Both the projects, namely, “Primary Healthcare Protection Policy in the West Balkans” and “Youth and Healthcare in the Blakans”, are to be realized by September 2009. Canadian Institute for International Healthcare and the Queens University will implement the projects.

It has been emphasized after the signing that the projects are aimed to contribute the Bosnian citizens’ health perseverance.

Both the projects will be implemented in Serbia as well, which means that the funds will be equally distributed for the project activities in both the countries.

Canada has been providing help in the healthcare sector in the Southeastern Europe since 1990. The country has provided over 540 million Canadian Dollars for the implementation of over 800 projects. The country’s activities in Bosnia are focused on the healthcare sector and the rule of law.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – The Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecution raised indictment against Amir Zelic, the “Bjalave” orphanage Director and against Suada Cengic, a nurse at the orphanage. The two have been indicted on the basis of a reasonable doubt that they are responsible for the deaths of children killed in fire in April 2007, Branko Sljivar, the Cantonal Chief prosecutor told press.

The indictment has been raised after months of investigation conducted by the cantonal prosecutor Dubravko Campara.

It has been estimated that there are enough of evidence to raise an indictment against the persons concerned.

The suspects are indicted of committing the crime of causing danger to the lives and health of people and property.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – The Trebevic mountain, once the most popular outing spot for the citizens of Sarajevo, will be completely cleared of mines by the autumn 2008.

1 million and 139 thousand square meters of the mountain were covered with mines. The remaining 179.000 square meters will be cleared in 2008. Additional 400.000 Bosnian Marks are needed for that project.

Agreement on Co-Financing the Mine Disposal Action on the Trebevic Mountain was signed by Mayor of Sarajevo Semiha Borovac and Mayor of the Old Town Municipality Mustafa Resic.

The City of Sarajevo and the Old Town municipality have provided 100.000 Bosnian Marks each for realization of this project.

39 projects of mine disposal actions on the mountain have been agreed so far; 25 of them have been implemented by the end of 2006. Additional 8 localities on the mountain are being cleared off mines. Additional six projects are to be implemented during 2008.

In this way, the mountain will be mine-free. Citizens of Sarajevo will again be able to enjoy their outings, Borovac and Resic stated after the signing ceremony.

Apart form the Old Town municipality and the City of Sarajevo, Norwegian People’s Aid and the US government have invested the biggest amounts of money for the implementation of mine disposal projects on the mountain.

The City of Sarajevo also signed an agreement with the GRAS company which obliges the Sarajevo administrative organs to develop projects for the cableway reconstruction.

The City of Sarajevo will provide 500.000 Bosnian Marks for this project. Numerous donors are expected to participate as well.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - Caritas of Bosnia together with Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Caritas of France, and Caritas of Norway has been implementing for a long time projects which are aimed at stopping of human trafficking in Bosnia.

Since September 2006 until now series of activities have been implemented which are aimed at preventive acting. The biggest emphasis has been put on education of young people, development of smaller teams of volunteers in local communities, education of family counsels, lectures for Catholics, and cooperation with other institutions and organizations.

“ In the mid 1990s human trafficking turned out to be a very serious and complex problem in the Stability Pact countries, i.e. in Bosnia as well. According to the latest indications increase of human trafficking in Bosnia has been recorded.The problem is connected with numerous criminal acts like drugs, alcohol, black labour, and illegal migrations”, pointed out manager of Caritas Msgr, Bosiljko Rajić.

The Bosnian authorities,becoming aware of danger and complexity of the phenomenon,have become significantly engaged in prevention of human trafficking. Numerous legal, administrative, and operative measures have been taken, most of which are included in the first action plan from 2001. By the decision of the Bosnian government from 2003 function of the Bosnian State Coordinator has been established for coordination of activities for fighting human trafficking and illegal migrations.

“To promote dignify life of Bosnian citizens Bosnia's Caritas has joined for several years the initiatives of both non-governmental and governmental sector through active participation in fight against human trafficking”, Msgr Rajić pointed out.

The campaign has been realized through Caritas network, universities in Bosnia,Bosnian State Border Service, foreign diplomatic missions in Bosnia and abroad, while support from employment bureaus, elementary and secondary schools in Bosnia is expected as well.

Caritas plans to spread its activities in the period to come, to focus on economic support to the potential victims, work within parish communities, and education of young people.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - There is money, but it is not well distributed, said Claude Kieffer, Director, Education Department, OSCE Mission to Bosnia – Many Bosnian citizens are not familiar with their educational system,she said.

A state which relies on donations twelve years after the war cannot have a proper education system. One particular problem is the increase in the number of teachers and the decrease in the number of students, said OSCE representatives during the launch of a campaign aimed at informing Bosnian citizens, titled “Better Planning-Better Budget-Better Schools”, to be implemented in the coming three months,the OSCE stated.

Sladjana Curak, OSCE Finance and Management Adviser, emphasized that the main objective was to show that there were sufficient resources in public schools, but that their planning and expenditures were inefficient.

“One third of Bosnian citizens surveyed in a recent public opinion poll are satisfied with the education system. One third of citizens are satisfied with school equipment, teachers’ skills and organization of the education process. Half of them are not satisfied with the funds allocated for education. Bosnian education authorities claim that they need more money for education reform to be successful, while the World Bank and International Monetary Fund say that there is enough money,” said Curak.

According to the OSCE-sponsored poll,Bosnian citizens are not familiar with their educational system.

“Many think that it is under the State’s authority, but in fact it is under entities’ and cantons’ authority. On the other hand, only some 5 % of investments in education are related to capital investments. Unfortunately, there is money, but it is poorly distributed,” said Claude Kieffer, Director, Education Department, OSCE Mission to Bosnia. He added that ‘two schools under one roof’ are an example of double expenditures, which will have long-term consequences for Bosnia.

The launch of the campaign “Better Planning-Better Budget-Better Schools” will continue in Banja Luka.


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – The outgoing US Ambassador to Bosnia Douglas McElhaney paid a visit to the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.He met with Srebrenica Mayor Abdurahman Malkic and Chairman of the Coordination Group for Srebrenica Igor Davidovic.

McElhaney said that thi area is of special interest for the US and that this is why a lot of funds were invested through a number of projects, especially in Srebrenica.

Speaking about his mission in Bosnia, the US Ambassador said that it was very difficult, but successful. He described as the biggest disappointment the fact that Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have still not been arrested.

The US Ambassador used the visit to officially mark the end of the reconstruction of the school in Potocari. He also visited the Memorial Centre in Potocari where he laid flowers and met with the mothers of the genocide victims.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) – On the occasion of marking the 10th anniversary of formation of the Bosnian Central Bank (CBBH), a conference was organized yesterday in Sarajevo at which many foreign and domestic economic, political and public personalities participated.

The Bosnian Prime Minister Nikola Spiric opened the conference and stated that the CBBH has become an institution of an outstanding reputation in both the domestic and international circles an that the results of its management and business conduct have been achieved because of the Valut Board model and the Bank’s independence.

”CBBH can be characterized as an institution of independence. That has enabled the bank to fulfil some very important tasks for the Bosnian citizens – the Bosnian currency has stabilized and inflation rate is at the EU level. Cooperation of this bank with the European Central Bank is a proof that both the institutions want to become the essential part of the European monetary trends”, Spiric said.

Former Bosnian Central Bank Governor Peter Nicholl talked about the history of the bank to the Heads of Central Banks of Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey and to the representatives of all the important international financial institutions which are active in Bosnia.

He said that the Bosnian Central Bank is an institution that significantly developed and managed to preserve an important role in the Bosnian history.

”The bank has managed to develop from the time when the Bank had had 46 employees and the deposits worth about several hundred millions of Bosnian Marks to an institution of 314 employees and the deposit of over 3 billion Bosnian Marks. This institutions’ foreign currency reserves exceed the amount of 6,3 billion Bosnian Marks”, Nicholl said.

The Bosnian Central Bank Governor Kemal Kozaric emphasized that the Eurostat Report confirmed that the Bank is one of the most stabile state institutions and that it has significantly developed in the “development of the functions it performs by duty”.

”The Bosnian Central Bank is known to provide all the services on time. It has managed to get a new loan rating which is the B2 today. The bank has also implemented the salary system reform, has kept the monetary stability of the Bosnian currency, which is its priority”, Kozaric said.

The Bosnian Central Bank, the Serbian Central Bank and the Montenegrin Central Bank Heads, namely, Kemal Kozaric, Radovan Jelasic and Ljubisa Krgovic signed yesterday the Agreement on Clearing.

Signing of the Agreement will enable an easier and cheaper international correspondence between the countries involved. The project will include the former Yugoslav member countries. The CEFTA agreement member countries are its aim.

Also,a monograph about the Bosnian Central Bank has been issued to mark the 10th anniversary.


BANJA LUKA, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - The International community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak,urges the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia "the RS" to inform and consult the Bosnian authorities during the process of negotiations and signing the Agreement on Special and Parallel Relations with Serbia, Ljiljana Radetic, OHR Spokesperson stated yesterday in Banja Luka.

She emphasized that the media have reported that the Prime Minister of the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia ("the RS") Milorad Dodik asked on Wednesday why the OHR has asked the documentation on the Agreement on special and Parallel Relations between the RS and Serbia, Radetic said that the Bosnian Constitutional Court had passed a verdict stating that the entities are entitled to make special and parallel relations with the neighbouring countries without the Bosnian Parliament’s approval.

”At the same time, the Dayton Agreement clearly states that such agreements need to be in accordance with Bosnia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is also clear that the sides signing the agreement need to withhold form taking over any act that would threaten the Bosnian territorial integrity and the country’s sovereignty”, Radetic said.

She emphasozed that the High Representative is the highest authority for the civil aspects of the Dayton Agreement and is obliged to ensure that all the levels of Bosnia's authority respect the Dayton Peace Agreement.

”That is why, in the situations when the entities negotiate and conclude agreements on parallel relations, the High Representative is obliged to ensure that the agreements are in accordance with the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Radetic said.

OHR had previously considered the Agreement signed in 2006 and concluded that little changes were made compared to the 2001 agreement.

OHR still expects to be informed about the current status and content of the Agreement prior to the signing.


LONDON, Great Britain (September 14,2007) – A three-day Wilton Park conference on fight against money laundering ended in the West Sussex province of Great Britain.Head of the Office at the Bosnian Ministry of Finances Anton Rill participated.

The conference treated the issues of preventing and stopping the money laundering. The participants also discussed strategies of confiscating the property earned through the organized crime activities. Human trafficking and ways of implementing the international agreements and local laws concerning the problem were also on the agenda.

The Wilton Park is academically independent and non-profit executive agency of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is one of the leading conference centres in the world.

The conferences have been held at the Wiston House castle since 1951. The very agency was organized in 1946, as a part of the initiative of Winston Churchill.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - The survey that the OSCE Mission to Bosnia conducted among Bosnian citizens in 12 municipalities indicates that most citizens believe that cooperation between themselves and the local media is almost impossible.

That survey also represents the first stage of the OSCE project “Media in My Community”, which has been initiated as part of mission’s continuing support to develop an informed and engaged civil society in Bosnia.

Aida Lipa, the OSCE Media Advisor, says that the survey results will be presented at round tables to be organised throughout September in Siroki Brijeg, Jablanica, Livno and Trebinje.

“There will be discussions regarding the level of information (related to events and development in local communities) provided to citizens by local governments and media”, Lipa stated.

The topics of round tables that are part of the “Media in my Community” project will tackle the questions on: to what extent media does focus on local issues; do media believe that citizens have enough information about local issues; which part of written municipal communication strategies is applied in reality; what is co-operation among local authorities, media and citizens like at the local community level; did media and local authorities ask and accept citizens’ opinion and could that opinion be useful for the work of authorities and media. Representatives of local authorities, local media, reporters, NGOs, as well as representatives of local communities from municipalities Siroki Brijeg, Grude, Capljina, Posusje, Livno, Tomislavgrad, Trebinje, Bileca, Nevesinje, Jablanica, Konjic and Prozor-Rama will participate in the work of round tables,she said.

The idea emerged after the OSCE conducted a pool in several Bosnian municipalities in order to find out to what extent local journalists serve the interests of the local community; do citizens believe they can co-operate with media, demanding reporting on certain issues and will citizens present their opinions on certain issues in local communities using the media.

The majority of Bosnian citizens were not satisfied with the manner in which local media covered local issues, with the number of contact shows and they believed there was too much coverage of issues not directly related to their communities.

When it comes to co-operation of media and citizens, i.e. the role of media as a voice of citizens, the opinions were mostly negative. Citizens do not think that their contacting media can change anything. Some of them are even afraid to do that, but most of them believe media are owned by politicians and that they cannot make any significant change.

The “Media in my Community” project focuses on two issues: civic-oriented journalism with the focus on local media as the basic way to inform citizens about local issues and citizens writing/reporting to local media, express their opinions, thus communicating with local authorities.

One of the topics at the round tables will also discuss setting up mechanisms that will enable better information flow between the local authorities and citizens, and the contribution media can give. Most of municipalities do have a communication strategy document and we will try to ask local authorities to include some of round tables’ conclusions in those strategies and to implement them through their plans and activities.

On the other hand, media will have the opportunity to receive opinions directly from citizens about media work in their local communities. During the previous round tables, citizens expressed their wish that media focus more on daily problems and conduct more research in the field. Also, the Bosnian citizens believe media should have a more active role in informing citizens, that is, media should encourage citizens to show more interest towards new topics and to contribute to them.

Finally, citizens should consider increased participation in their communities and local media could be of a great help in doing that. The poll showed there is a room for co-operation but people usually do not know how to make the first step. We hope that after those conclusions better co-operation will emerge between local media and citizens; that media will pay more attention to local issues; and that citizens will play a more active role in media coverage of issues related to their communities,the OSCE stated.