Saturday, October 20, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) – "The President Alija Izetbegovic Museum" has been opened at the Kovaci Memorial Centre in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic, SDA Party President Sulejman Tihic and Museum Council President Denis Zvizdic opened the museum in presence of the late president’s family members and representatives of the Bosnian political, cultural and social life, as well as before the members of Bosnia's diplomatic chorus.

SDA Party President Sulajman Tihic emphasized the importance of preserving the memory of the late president Izetbegovic, who was a politician and statesman closely tied to this country. He helped it become a democratic and sovereign,Tihic stated.

He emphasized Izetbegovic’s readiness for dialogue and determination in defending the principles Bosnia is based upon – this is the country of all its citizens; the country oriented towards the EU integrations.

The permanent museum exhibition is a testimony of the first Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic’s historical role in the country as well as on Bosnia's defense.

Bakir Izetbegovic (C), son of the first Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, looks at items inside a museum dedicated to his late father in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo October 19, 2007.

A guard at the grave of the late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on Friday, Oct 19, 2007. Alija Izetbegovic, the first president of independent Bosnia, died four-years ago after extensive illness.

Bakir Izetbegovic, the son of the late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, looks at his father's medals in "the President Alija Izetbegovic Museum' opened in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo on Friday, Oct 19,2007. The museum was opened during the ceremony to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of the first Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

The exhibition is located in the two towers connected with the city walls. The exhibits are fragments of the late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic’s private and political life and are a testimony of Bosnia’s defense.

Monography dedicated to the late Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was presented at the opening.

Numerous admirers of Izetbegovic’s persona visited his grave in the Kovaci Memorial Centre and paid tribute to the first Bosnian President.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) - The commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the death of the first Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic was held yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

The commemoration was attended by the Bosnian President Zeljko Komsic,a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic, SDA Party President Sulejman Tihic and other Bosnian politicians.The commemoration was also attended by the late president’s family members,foreign diplomats and representatives of Bosnian cultural and social life.

A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic delivered the following speech at the Bosnian National Theatre during the commemoration:

"Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, honored friends,
venerable members of the Izetbegovic family,

Towards the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties of the past century, Bosnia was entering one of the most difficult eras of its long history.

The former state neared its expiration date. A plan was hatched for the division of Bosnia by all means, including mass killings, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing and siege of the cities. In order to serve the goals of the Belgrade regime, the former Yugoslav Peoples Army was purged of all undesirable elements, and a media campaign that was to justify all that was forthcoming was orchestrated. A broad hatred was spread with the goal of severing all social mechanisms of multinational ties between the people, and a struggle for the biological survival of the Bosnian people and the unity of Bosnia was imminent.

This was the time of ethnic mythology, heated passions, and utter confusion. Unveiled threats forecasted bloody years of a collapse of the state and the making of a new order. On the basis of the grand ambitions, especially by the then regime in Belgrade, it was clear from the very start that this would be a war against the civilians and that the struggles would be difficult and unequal.

Against such a backdrop, Alija Izetbegovic appeared on the Yugoslav scene. From the very beginning, he distinguished himself by calls for coexistence, affirmation of the values of togetherness, human rights and individual freedoms, tolerance and compromise, both in the inter-ethnic and inter-human relations.

In the atmosphere that ruled that day, a man of such tolerance and such view of the world represented an enormous capital not only for Bosnia, but for all others that sought a humanistic exit from a situation that was forced upon by the ideology of murder and brute force. Exclusiveness and force were completely alien to his world view and his composition.

He was deeply aware of the difficult burden of the past, not only in Bosnia, but in the entire region, but he remained dedicated in his search for the possibilities of a peaceful solution and compromise.

He remained steadfast in his humanism, even during the hardest of moments, and he was particularly sensitive about human suffering, doing everything in his power to ensure that the victims that were inevitable would be minimal.He did not follow the policy of revenge, and he paid attention about the sensibilities of all in Bosnia, about tradition, religion, culture and all that is sacred to humanity.

Because of this, those who defended Bosnia can stand tall because they were not led by the policy of force that responded to brutality with more brutality, destruction, mass killing, concentration camps and all that which branded the aggressors on Bosnia and those in their service. All that can still be seen today, and it is something that is recognized by the entire world.

That policy was pursued with a hope that the seed of coexistence, nurtured by us for hundreds of years, will remain in Bosnia. As the war removes all masks, and the people show themselves for what they truly are, I can say with full certainty, as can all those who worked and shared difficult moments with him, that Alija was a brave man. He adopted difficult decisions when the choice was limited to bad and the worse.He entered the global stage with very little in favor of Bosnia, but he persevered.The satisfaction is that he witnessed the defeat and the condemnation of the ideology that brought so much evil and misery to the people of this region.He ascribed the credit for this to our defenders above all others.

He always emphasized that the politics can accomplish only as much as the defenders on the ground allow it.And he always had special words of respect and love for the defenders.

During the long and difficult negotiations, he always sought out the possibility of compromise and peaceful solution, mindful above all of the people in our country who faced numerous tragedies. Srebrenica, and other grounds, are examples on which we should waste no words.

He viewed the Dayton agreement as unjust, but he accepted it, as this was, after all, peace, which signified the end of killings, tragedies, and destruction in Bosnia.The Dayton agreement brought peace, but its very nature paved the road for disagreements and obstruction in the post-war period.

Alija Izetbegovic tried by all means to connect the broken mechanisms, he fostered the rebuilding of the inter-people and inter-ethnic relations in our country with his own example.

He was a man of a calm spirit, sedate, benevolent, and he knew how to respect an opinion that differed from his own. He was prone to philosophical reflection and a very amiable and valuable conversation partner.

On one occasion we flew over the Mediterranean coast.I remember that he then said “Look how pretty the earth is, but what good is that when us people are lousy.”

I remember our conversation in April 1992, on the occasion of the recognition of independence of Bosnia. He said “See what can happen in one day,” and then he added, paraphrasing a thought from the Qur’an – “But after the hard part comes the easy part.”

With Alija Izetbegovic I shared the view on the reality of the former Yugoslavia and a similar understanding of the position of Bosnia and the Bosniak people in those difficult circumstances.

We were connected by a shared vision of the future.It is with sadness that I have to say today that I myself, and I believe many others, missed the opportunity to more often examine our own beliefs with this wise man of great political prowess.

However, I had the honor to closely work with him up until his death, a very premature death from the viewpoint of the need for his contribution.When the peace was established and when the amalgam of choice increased, President Izetbegovic and I had differences in interpreting the hierarchy of priorities, but we nonetheless remained equally committed in our determination for building a modern and democratic state.

Privately, with his passing I lost a friend and a strong footing.

Izetbegovic always steadfastedly asserted that the highway of Euro-Atlantic integration was the optimum direction of Bosnia toward a stable and prosperous future. When pronouncing such a statesmanlike position, he always knew that he enjoyed the support of all those who love this country and who are ready to work on transforming that vision into reality.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the following:

President Izetbegovic left us all with a debt.The way we repay that debt we express our own commitment to a noble cause that he pursued: Bosnia as a state and society of free people, such people who are more enriched by their differences than they are divided.

Let him rest in peace and thanks!"


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) - The Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) announced measures regarding the strengthening of the functionality of the Bosnian state institutions in the framework of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Complete implementation of the Dayton agreement requires a fully-functioning Bosnian state government,the OHR stated.

The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia,Miroslav Lajcak held a press conference yesterday and delivered the following statement:

"Good afternoon and welcome,

I have invited you here today to announce and explain my new approach to strengthening the functionality of Bosnia and its institutions.

We are all aware that Bosnia does not function as it should, does not function as a healthy, normal state. The goal of the international community, whose highest representative I am here, is to change this – and change it to the better. That is why we are here, that is why we have invested into this country so much – both politically and financially.

We cannot consider our mission complete until changes are made in the direction of establishing a stable, European, democratic, multiethnic society in Bosnia.

There are several ways how this objective can be achieved. The most favorable of them is to achieve this goal through European integration. This is a road which has been tested in the recent past, a road that the countries in the close vicinity have successfully passed. A road that has no alternative for a European country such as Bosnia. A road whose positive results are so visible that they cannot be disputed. A road that I have passed personally, so I can credibly speak about it.

That is why I have put in so much effort to lift the blockage on the European integration process for this country, a process which resolves current problems and leads to the future at the same time. But, as you know, this is a process for which only domestic politicians take responsibility voluntarily, who are expected to be prepared for minimum agreement and compromise, in order to realize this strategic goal.

Unfortunately, your politicians have rejected to move on this road. Last Thursday, they showed definitely and clearly that they were not ready for that, and they would not or could not go towards the European Union. It is clear to everyone that not all sides had the good will to find a solution for police reform in the framework of the European principles. It is also obvious that, regardless of conscious and voluntary commitments they have made, it is not possible to make the necessary agreement for this today or tomorrow.

This is certainly a devastating fact for this country. As representatives of the citizens of this country and all its entities, cantons, municipalities and local communities, they have chosen isolation instead of integration. Consequences of this decision are not yet felt in Bosnia, but it is only a question of time. In my talks in Brussels, I felt deep concern among my collocutors, who were aware of the fact that the responsible leaders of this country rejected the European perspective for their citizens.

The European choice is a choice that must be made by every country, its political elite, independently, on the basis of a strategic evaluation of its merits. Nobody can be forced to go on the European road – it goes against the European integration philosophy. I am sorry, but this is so. Until the local politicians decide that they want to take you that way, it remains closed for you, although European Union is ready and waiting.

However, this does not change the responsibility of the international community to work on strengthening Bosnia and Herzegovina as a stable and functional state. This is our responsibility, this is our desire, this is my personal wish, too. But because your politicians rejected going on this modern, European road, inevitably we must now search for other ways to come to a stable, modern and democratic Bosnia.

Because agreements cannot be made and solutions found, work of the institutions of Bosnia is blocked. Decisions are not made, laws are not adopted.

In the past 12 months only 3 new reform laws have been adopted in the Parliamentary Assembly, of which only one had to do with EU integration; it is clear that the state system is ailing, and that we have to make it functional.

Functioning of the state and its institutions is not only a European question. It is an existential question for all citizens of this country. Every foreign investor has noticed that complicated and slow bureaucracy is one of the greatest obstacles.

This week, during the conference on economy, we all witnessed how the governments can come to an agreement on issues of common interest. However, with the experience of police reform, I know that implementation of something that was agreed is very difficult here.

This means that, regardless of the fact that your decision has put the European perspective on hold, we cannot stop and wait now. I am determined that we must have a functional and efficient state, which adopts legislation and works on development policy. Finding solutions for some of the functionality problems of this country is within the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Therefore, we must exercise a policy of scrupulously upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement – and, by the same token, exercising zero tolerance where it is being violated.

Today I am going to set out the first of the measures which will bring the State Institutions closer to the functionality designed originally at Dayton and which will enable the Country to move forward even in the current political climate.

First, today I have taken a Decision imposing changes to the Law on the Council of Ministers of BiH. The main changes are:

- The rule of the quorum: A session can be held whenever a majority of the members of the CoM are present; and

- The decision-making process: decisions on certain matters can be made by the majority of those present and voting while the simple majority needed for final decision of the Council shall only need to include one representative from each constituent people rather than the two currently required.

This will facilitate decision-making: the Government will be able to take decisions even if a minority of Ministers chooses to be absent, and will ensure the Government is able to function even in today’s ailing political environment.

Ministers will still be able to vote in favor or against decisions, but they will have to come to the session to do so.

This decision means that the Government will be able to take decisions even if a minister chooses to be absent; this will ensure the Government is able to function even in today’s ailing political environment. At the same time, this decision continues to respect the right of each constituent people to protect its vital national interest in justified cases.

Second, today I wrote to the joint Collegium of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly instructing them to amend their Rules of Procedure on the work of both Houses of the Parliamentary Assembly by 1 December.

The amendments I require focus on three areas;

First, on what is commonly known as the “entity vote”: the Constitution stipulates that a majority vote necessary for decision-making should include at least one third of the votes of representatives from the territory of each Entity. The existing Rules of Procedure interpret that to be one third of the representatives elected from each entity, instead of one third of the votes of the representatives present from each entity.

Second, the amendments should also address the issue of quorum to hold a session of the Bosnian House of Representatives: the Constitution states simply that a quorum is a majority of all members of the House of Representatives – 22 of the 42 delegates.

According to the current Rules of Procedure, there is an additional requirement for at least 10 delegates from the FBiH Entity and 5 from the RS Entity to be present. This interpretation allows a small minority of delegates to prevent the House from holding a session, simply by not showing up to work. That can simply not be tolerated.

And finally, on how the Collegium of the Houses of the Parliamentary Assembly take decisions, the Constitution stipulates that the role of the Chair and Deputy Chairs is to obtain approval, working as a commission, of the decision which could not gain the so-called entity majority.

However, under the current Rules of Procedure, after harmonization the Collegium returns the law to the Parliament for yet another vote!

This is just a bureaucratic delaying mechanism, which has already delayed the Law Prohibiting the Denial of Genocide, Laws on Agriculture and Wine and Amendments to the Law on Temporary Disposal of State Property.

This practice of delay and obfuscation through absenteeism has to be brought to an end.

So if by December 1 these amendments are not in place, or not in place in a way that addresses the problem, I will have no choice but to use my powers and impose those amendments. Allow me at the same time to stress once again that this decision does not take away the right of the constituent peoples to protect their national interests. However, I can hardly agree with someone protecting those interests by not coming to their well-paid jobs. The citizens did not elect their representatives in the Parliament so that they can obstruct its functioning. Bosnia cannot afford that luxury.

The third issue for today is related to coordination within the ruling coalition.

Let me once again turn to the example of the economic conference held on Tuesday; a positive outcome is possible when the leaders of Bosnia's institutions and parliamentary party leaders sit down in the right forum to talk about concrete reforms

But what we all saw following the economic conference, and last weekend when Mr. Silajdžić and Mr Dodik met in Banja Luka, is that the public reaction was a cool, if not sceptical – and understandably so.

One document and one meeting cannot generate public confidence after months of negative rhetoric and deliberate destabilisation, particularly when all the coalition parties are not part of the decision-making process.

However, similar actions could change the atmosphere. If such meetings were truly serious, if they are structured to give results, and if they include all the representatives that makeup the governing coalition, which have assumed the responsibility to lead this country during its mandate, then they would show seriousness and responsibility and would not be seen as a last minute attempt to stave off execution.

My third step today therefore is to call on the party leaders is to set up a structured mechanism which will include all the coalition partners and the representatives of the institutions to better co-ordinate their reform efforts, and find a compromise to secure a common view and a shared interest. The details of this mechanism will be explained in my letter to the leaders of the parties that form the ruling coalition at the Bosnian state level.

This coordination council could provide a vehicle for Bosnia’s political leaders to return the public confidence. I think the current situation illustrates the fact that I am no longer asked when will we enter the EU, but when will you remove the people we have elected.

Today's measures do not abolish anybody's rights or responsibilities. The only people who can feel endangered by this are those who believe that they have the right to undermine the functioning of this country.

The two specific measures: the decision, the request as well as the invitation to establish a system of better coordination between the executive and legislative powers are not directed against any of the peoples or the entities. I am not abolishing anyone’s competencies!

Everything is fully in accordance with the Bosnian Constitution.

This is the beginning of a process in which I will continue working on a more efficient implementation of the Dayton Agreement and on strengthening the functionality of this country.

This June the international community reiterated its absolute commitment to the Dayton Peace Agreement. It clearly said that it would not tolerate any attempts to undermine Dayton and that it would not remain passive. It is my responsibility to implement these positions of the international community in practice.

And that made it clear that those who reject or undermine these efforts work against the Dayton Agreement and against the common will of the international community.

And nobody succeeded in this yet.

To conclude - this is only the beginning of a process, a positive process, which leads towards a more functional state, a process which is of vital interest to the citizens of Bosnia.

Thank you for your attention."


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) – The FBIH Entity Parliament’s House of People supported a set of reform fiscal laws proposed by the FBIH Entity Government.

The delegates emphasized expectations that the future implementation of the laws will ensure a stabile system in the sectors they are related to.

The laws passed are Bill on Income Tax and Bill Changing and Amending the Law on Incomes in the FBIH Entity.

The FBIH Entity Government representatives emphasized that they want to eliminate the variety of laws in the sector as well as the fact that there are 50 different tax rates.

Law on Income Tax foresees introduction of two tax rates – 10 per cent rate for the salaries not exceeding 600 Bosnian Marks and 15 per cent rate for the salaries exceeding the sum.

Incomes that will not be submitted to taxation are the ones for which taxes have already been paid for: dividends, pensions, social aid and the like. The 5 per cent rate will be introduced for the dividends that are transferred abroad.

Bill on Income Tax foresees the decrease of the current 30 per cent tax rate to 10 per cent, as well as elimination of the exemptions. However, some new benefits will be introduced as well, and they concern the export companies and legal subjects who invest over 20 million Bosnian Marks in five years.

Bill Changing the Law on Incomes, which is the third law in the set, foresees decrease of the collective rate for the incomes from the current 32 to 31 per cent.

The pension and invalid insurance incomes will reach 17 per cent. Health insurance incomes will reach 15,5 and unemployment sector 1,5 per cent.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) – A member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic congratulated Croatian President Stjepn Mesic on the appointment of Croatia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Silajdzic said that this decision represents an important step both for Croatia and its neighbours.

“I hope that the appointment of Croatia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will contribute to the stabilisation and prosperity of the entire region, as well as the improvement of relations between Bosnia and Croatia”, Silajdzic said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) – The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in cooperation with the Bosnian Ministry of Finances,the entity ministries for finances and refugees,and the Brcko District government, successfully completed the negotiations with the OPEC Fund for Development, related to the financial aid to the implementation of the project entitled “Sustainable Return of the Refugees and Displaced Persons – Apartment Facilities’ Reconstruction”.

The project will be implemented in the whole of Bosnia and the estimates state that about 700 apartment facilities will be reconstructed. The project is 8 million USD worth. It will be financed by the OPEC Development Fund.

The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees in cooperation with the entities and the Brcko District, has developed a project documentation, feasibility study and has also aligned the financial engagement with the OPEC Development Fund.

The OPEC Development Fond positively marked both the project and the study which meet the EU sharpest criteria. OPEC announced that the cooperation will continue after this project is implemented, The Bosnian Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) – There is no alternative to peace. Bosnia’s association to the Partnership for Peace Programme (PFP) and NATO is a guarantee of peace and safety. This was stated yesterday in Sarajevo at the expert conference entitled “Importance of Bosnia’s membership in PFP”.

The session, organized by the Helsinki Citizens’ Parliament and the Tuzla Youth Department Centre, aimed to analyze the importance of Bosnia’s membership to PFP.

Participants discuss the defense reform obligations Bosnia has implemented as well as about the demands that are to be implemented soon.

Vehid Sehic, President of the Tuzla Forum of Citizens, stated that the defense reform showed that there are people in Bosnia willing to cooperate and who are aware that achieving a compromise does not mean failing.

”Bosnian Armed Forces need to be treated as a peace-building structure. Regardless of the costs, peace is the most valuable possession of the country”, Sehic emphasized.

President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security in the period from 2003 to 2006 Bosko Sljegovic stated that Bosnia’s membership to NATO's PFP programme has been Bosnia’s biggest success since the signing of Dayton Agreement.

The importance increases once we take into consideration the fact that Bosnia is now facing halts in the reform processes, Siljegovic said and emphasized the importance of defense reform implementation for the purpose of bringing the country closer to the European integrations.

Marina Pendes, the Bosnian Deputy Defense Minister emphasized that the country’s membership to PFP and its future association to NATO are key for the country’s association to the EU.

”These memberships”, she said, “are helping the strengthening of collective safety and peace, relationship between the member countries, especially the countries form the region. They help solve the open issues peacefully”.

Participants of the meeting were the Bosnina Defense Ministry experts and the Bosnian Army representatives, as well as the Bosnian Ministry of Civic Affairs and Ministry of Security representatives and members of the Bosnian State Border Police,the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), NATO, EUFOR, etc.

The meeting should serve as basis for future organizing of the public tribunes in Bosnia, aimed to keep the Bosnian citizens informed about the importance of military reforms, Bosnia's membership to PFP and the country’s association to NATO.

As stated, a recent survey showed that the Bosnian citizens are not informed sufficiently on what all of these structures have to offer.

This session is also a part of the “PFP and Bosnian Society” project, supported by the US Government. Aim of the project is to create a stabile platform for building of peace in Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 20,2007) - Head of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM), Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, presented yesterday the ESDP Service Medal to mission members from 26 EU member states and 6 contributing non EU countries.

“With these medals, I wish to thank you for your service and commitment to EUPM’s goals towards professionalising and modernizing the police work” said General Coppola.

General Coppola confirmed that the EUPM would in the coming period focus on improving professional co-operation of police bodies in Bosnia with a strengthened Police Steering Board as the highest police co-ordination body of the country, EUPM said.

“I regret that the politicians of this country failed to agree on police reform. This is much and foremost a tragedy for the Bosnian citizens as it prevents them from getting a modern and efficient police.” said General Coppola.