Friday, September 21, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - Considering the fact the Bosnian Presidency at its 23rd session on Wednesday, did not reach a Decision on adopting the Platform for the Bosnian Delegation’s appearance at the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bosnia will appear in this gathering without a platform for the first time.

The reason for not adopting this Decision lays in the fact that a member of the Bosnian Presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic was against the Draft Platform that referred to the International Court of Justice Verdict, brought on a charge of genocide by Bosnia against Serbia, while the Bosnian Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic was withdrawn. Considering that due to this, the necessary majority of votes did not take place – the platform has not been adopted.

According to the rules and instructions of the United Nations, each country’s platform should contain facts related to the relations between the respective country and the United Nations in the previous year.

Considering that the International Court of Justice is an organ of the United Nations, operating under the UN Charter, it was impossible to exclude the most important and the most influential fact that marked the relations between Bosnia and UN in this period,a member of the Bosnian Presidency Dr Haris Silajdzic said.

Dr Silajdzic said that the Draft Platform contained facts only, i.e. the quotations from the very Verdict – such as:

“The International Court of Justice, with its main office in The Hague, gave a verdict on February 26, 2007 that genocide was committed against the Bosnian Muslims, and has proclaimed Serbia responsible on three items for violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Specifically, the Court has decided that “the acts committed in Srebrenica, falling under the Article II (a) and (b) of the Convention (on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) were committed with a specific intention to partly destroy a group of Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina being as such, and that they, in accordance with it, these acts of genocide were committed by ARS in and around Srebrenica…”

Considering that the indisputability of these quotations and the fact that they were quoted directly from the Verdict, the refusal of two members of the Bosnian Presidency to vote for this Platform is, above all, surprising and most disappointing,a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic stated.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - Progress towards the European Union remains one of the main goals for Bosnia and Croatia, Bosnian and Croatian presidents said yesterdey evening in Sarajevo.

The Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, who arrived in Bosnian capital city Sarajevo to receive the Humanist of 20th Century Award from the International League of Humanists (ILH), met with the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic and with other members of the Bosnian Presidency - Haris Silajdzic and Nebojsa Radmanovic, as well as with the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia, Slovak Diplomat Miroslav Lajcak.

During the meeting with members of the Bosnian Presidency, Mesic said Croatia is willing to share its experiences about progress towards the EU with Bosnia.

EU membership, Bosnian and Croatian officials agreed, was for the entire region the most important task, for which there is no alternative.

The Bosnian Presidency statement also said that the meeting saw the agreement by Bosnian and Croatian officials on a resumption in the near future of talks on a number of open issues between the two countries.


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.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) – The FBiH entity government considered the Draft Policy of Privatisation in Bosnia, which was prepared by the FBiH Entity Privatisation Agency.

This document describes the policy for privatising state capital in Bosnia and defines objectives that need to be reached in order to achieve maximal benefit for the state and its citizens.

Achieving significant revenues from the sale of a part of state capital and directing those funds towards strategic and development programs in accordance with a special program of the FBiH entity government are among the chief objectives identified by the policy.

“We can roughly expect the sale of state capital to ensure 4 billion Bosnian Marks for investment”, the FBiH Entity Prime Minister Nedzad Brankovic told a press conference.

The policy lists companies in which the state currently owns a portion of capital and provides an analysis of possible privatisation scenarios and investment potential.

Brankovic added that they have defined sectors which will be given priority in the development of programs. He confirmed that the policy also covers the privatisation of the telecom sector.

This process should also contribute to the liberalisation of the economic space in the FBiH entity. The document will be amended with suggestions from the debate, as well as programs of certain FBiH Entity Ministries. The the FBiH entity government will consider this document as a whole before it is forwarded to the FBiH parliament.

The FBiH entity government gave approval for the Decision of the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry on the allocation of funds intended for stimulating production and restructuring the sector of industry and mining. A total of 9.885.000 Bosnian Marks will be distributed to 77 users in the FBiH entity.

The the FBiH entity government also approved the allocation of budget funds for two projects in the tourism sector. 30.000 Bosnian Marks has been approved as support for the presentation of Bosnia at the World Tourist Fair in London, while 10.000 Bosnian Marks has been approved for the “Golden Tourist Rose” as the closing event of the World Tourism Day in Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) – A delegation of the Austrian Ministry of Defence headed by Defence Minister Norbert Darabos visited the Bosnian Ministry of Defence yesterday.Senior Austrian officials met with the Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic. They discussed ways to improve cooperation and partnership.

The two sides described existing cooperation as successful and reminded of the earlier signed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Defence between Bosnia and Austria.

Thye also agreed to continue working on the improvement of existing friendly relations and partnership and to sign an annual program of cooperation every year that would precisely define activities of mutual cooperation between the two Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces.

The Austrian side stressed that they would support the efforts of Bosnia on fulfilling conditions for joining the EU and that towards that end they would organise different forms of training, courses and seminars and support the work of the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSOTC) in Butmir.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - The European Union Police Mission to Bosnia welcomed the decision taken by the Bosnian Presidency to request an extension of its mandate in Bosnia from the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Secretary-General of both the Council of the European Javier Solana.

“I view this decision as a sign of recognition of the Mission’s achievements in Bosnia” said Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola,Head of the European Union Police Mission to Bosnia (EUPM).

“As part of the overall EU engagement in Bosnia, the Mission stands ready to continue working alongside its colleagues in Bosnia in further professionalising Bosnia's police service and improving overall security of all Bosnian citizens, Coppola said.

The final decision on the extension of the EU Police Mission’s mandate is expected to be taken later this year by the EU Member States.


NEVESINJE, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - Trefor Williams, Director, Democratisation Department of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia, granted the Certificate of Graduation to the Municipality of Nevesinje for successful implementation of the UGOVOR Project that promotes local democracy in regard to closer cooperation between citizens and local governance.

The OSCE Senior representative granted the Certificate to Branislav Mikovic, Mayor of Nevesinje and emphasized that Nevesinje was the second municipality in Bosnia which implemented this program.

“Local authorities have shown that they are accountable to citizens and that they are committed to work in the interest of the community”— Williams pointed out.

Branislav Mikovic, the municipal mayor highlighted that the Municipality of Nevesinje had implemented all obligations emanating from the UGOVOR Project which are concerned with democratisation and modernising the work of local governance.

He said that the Law on Free Access to Information Act had been implemented in the past two and half years as well as the Code of Ethics for elected representatives. In addition, a Municipal Developmental Planning Committee was established, a Municipal Developmental Strategy adopted and a partnership established with citizens.

The ceremony which took place at the premises of the Municipality of Nevesinje was also attended by Denis Bart, Senior Manager for Local Self-Governance, Michaela Seitz, Senior Democratisation Officer, representatives of the OSCE Field Office in Trebinje, representatives of Nevesinje Municipal Council and other representatives from social, cultural and economic life in Nevesinje.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (September 21,2007) - The Second International Symposium entitled “Finances and Accounting in the Function of Economic Growth in Bosnia” started yesterday in Mostar.

Augustin Mišić, manager of “Fircon” d.o.o. company which organizes the symposium, declared for journalists that the event has great importance for all persons from the accounting field.

“Within the main topic the reforms and achievements in the accounting and auditing field, financial institutions and market, and public finances will be specially elaborated”, Mišić said.

Minister of finances and treasury of Bosnia, Dragan Vrankić, who will make presentation at the symposium, pointed out that in the spirit of the reforms which are implemented in Bosnia the ambient like the one in the surrounding countries can be created, as well as conditions for free market of capital and investments which will provide a normal development of Bosnia.

“We have made great reforms in the financing sector. Apart from implementation of VAT which is realized in a very successful manner, I hope that until 2008 we shall have a modern fiscal sector in Bosnia”, Vrankić said, adding that very good reforms have been implemented in the banking sector.

Speaking on the economic stability of Bosnia and its indebtedness, Vrankić said that Bosnia will very soon fulfill conditions demanded from it to start joining EU.

Vrankić pointed out that Bosnia is indebted but not overindebted, noting that its foreign debt amounts to 4 billion Bosnian Marks.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 21,2007) – The International community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak is convinced Bosnia is facing the dilemma – integration or isolation. However, integration means fulfillment of certain obligations, Boris Ruge, Head of the OHR’s Department for Politics stated while passing a speech at a roundtable session entitled “Bosnia – Integration to the EU or Isolation: We Chose the Integration”.

Ruge said that the EU and Peace Implementation Council have defined the police reform as the top priority, which will open the door to signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and the EU.

”The High Representative believes that all the Bosnian political forces need to focus on the police reform issues and is convinced that the latest protocol is just and in accordance with the three European Principles”, Ruge emphasized.

He warned that the European institutions are concerned over the situation in Bosnia and that the High Representative stated consequences will follow if an agreement is not achieved.

Although the very topic of the roundtable session was not police reform-related, that very issue dominated the discussion.Mirko Pejanovic stated that the police reform has become an issue of fate.

Mirsad Ceman is of the opinion that the key problem lies in the fact that Bosnia is seen differently by different people.

He criticized the International Community for having announced last year that the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) would close. That was the point when all the anti-Bosnian forces started the initiative to halt the reform processes.

”That was a strategic mistake made by the International Community”, Ceman said.

Situation in the country has become so serious that it is only a matter of time it will initiate an uncontrollable process, Beriz Belkic said.

According to him, there is no free admittance to the European integrations. The only issue in that sense is the size of demands.

”All the solutions and concepts we have had resulted from a compromise and the IC’s needs. There are some proposals which could lead to this country’s integration, as well as the ones that are oriented towards the country’s disintegration”, Belkic said.

”Miroslav Lajcak’s proposal on the police reform has improved the police reform. However, it remains loyal to the current situation in the country”, Belkic said.

Radovan Vignjevic warned against the consequences which could follow unless the SAA is signed. He called the political parties to publicly state if they do or do not favor Lajcak’s proposal.

Luka Markesic talked about the Croat parties’ signing of the Kresevo Declaration, related to Bosnia's structural reorganization.

In that document, he emphasized the unacceptability of existence of two entities in Bosnia. In that sense, Markesic emphasized, it is clear that the parties ask for formation of a third entity.

The Croatian National Council is interested in Bosnia divided in regions. He added that the existence of the third entity would cause damage to the Croats living in Bosnia, as well as for the other Bosnian citizens.

On the other hand, he stated that Lajcak’s proposal can be taken as a good basis for an agreement.