Thursday, August 14, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 14,2008) - The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic stated that his visit to China was very successful and useful for Bosnia.He delivered the following speech,after returning from China:

"The visit to China was a success, particularly for the topics we have opened in the economic field and we can expect an increase in economic cooperation between Bosnia and China, as well as the larger Chinese companies’ investments in Bosnia.

First and foremost, I would like to mention the Bosnian Olympians in Beijing. We visited them in their building in the Olympic village, and I am pleased to say that there was a very positive, optimistic and utterly team atmosphere in our camp.

These fellows and a girl, as well as their trainers and the Olympic Committee leadership are best representing Bosnia in Beijing. Our athletes are motivated and I am hoping for some good results.

Even though the Olympic Games were the cause for the visit, the majority of our time was used for diplomatic and economic activities. On the first day, we visited HUAWEI, the biggest company for telecommunication equipment production in the world. We were particularly interested in its work on the so-called e-government projects in over 40 countries.

These projects mean networking all data in a country, at all levels of authority, and influence the significant reduction of administration, expenses, life improvement of citizens and an all-level productivity increase.

Simply put, for acquiring an identity card, a passport, a driving license or any other document, for getting married or registering a child’s birth, the Bosnian citizens have to go to 3 to 7 different locations, obtain the same or even more documents, and pay tax for each document in amount of 2 Bosnian Marks at least. By establishing the e-government system, all those documents will be stored in the central system and available, if needed, at all levels of authority, from municipal to state organs, including the diplomatic and consular missions of a country.

The HUAWEI representatives, already with their office in Sarajevo, are willing to visit Bosnia and make a public presentation representing all details of such a project in Bosnia, including the level of savings and ancillary propitiatory thus achieved. We also talked about the potential financial participation of the government of China in such a project, which had supported many developing countries in those projects.

During the meeting with the Chinese Economic Chamber management, we were focused on the fact that Bosnia has great electric energy potentials and 60% of those potential are currently unused. Bosnia is therefore among the greatest potential energy exports in this part of Europe, and Chinese companies could significantly participate in infrastructural building for those purposes, for which the Chinese Economic Chamber representatives expressed their interest.

In reference to the diplomatic activities, I had an opportunity to talk with Chinese President Hu Jintao and we both expressed our satisfaction with the overall relations. President HU expressed China’s interest in cooperation enhancement, especially in the economic field.

Considering that there were heads of states and governments of over 80 countries present in Beijing, we took an opportunity to talk with other countries’ leaders, including from the countries of the region, and I would like to stress out my meeting with Brunei Sultan Darussalama, Hassanal Bolkiah, who I have invited to visit Bosnia and we agreed that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs would undertake activities to carry out that visit.

I would like to avail myself of the opportunity to mention certain allegations that occurred in some Bosnian media, which were particularly upsetting because they were about the flag of Bosnia, as one of the symbols of its statehood.

On the first visit day, a public radio-television service issued a release stating that the raising of our flag was being “delayed due to Haris Silajdžić”. After that, we heard claims that “Bosnia is the only country whose flag will not flutter at the beginning of the Olympic Games that start on Friday.”

This completely incorrect and unproven information initiated a series of articles and announcements, so one daily newspaper issued “In Beijing, the last flag raised was of Bosnia” and “it is a true scandal, since all other countries raised their flag at the top of the mast three days before the beginning of the Olympic Games”. Another medium also claimed that “Bosnia is the only country in the world whose flag won’t be fluttering on the mast in the Olympic village in Beijing during the Summer Olympic Games opening”, “shame is the mildest word that can be used for what has happened”, we “made a “circus” thus showing all flippancy to the world in relation to the raising of the state flag.”

Those are very serious statements and what is disturbing is the fact that no one bothered to verify them, even though the PBS service that I have just mentioned had a reporter in Beijing.

Therefore, I will lay out the facts. the Bosnian Olympic Committee representatives decided to ask for the ceremony delay so the Bosnian Presidency Chairman could attend the act. Virtually all Heads of States visiting Beijing, witnessed those ceremonies and the Bosnian Olympic Committee representatives believed that Bosnia should also be represented. Considering that we were first scheduled for Wednesday, when our delegation in Beijing had not been completed yet, the Olympic Committee representatives asked for the delay. Anyway, you can check it out with our Olympians, which was their wish.

As for the claim that Bosnia was the only country, whose flag was not raised after the Summer Olympic Games opening, the fact of the matter was that the flag-raising ceremonies of even fifty countries took place on the same day. That was the biggest number of ceremonies in a day at these Olympic Games, representing a quarter of the countries participating in Beijing. (If anyone is interested, the list of countries is here, in Chinese and English).

It is simply absurd that no one, including the media whose representatives were in Beijing, bothered to verify the statements of this kind and gravity. It is particularly upsetting because a member of my delegation, immediately upon his request, received a confirmation from the organizer that Bosnia was not the only country whose flag was raised that day, but was one among fifty of them and there was a special media attraction that day because of the such a large number of countries. We have issued press releases on two occasions, however that was ignored both times by the media that had issued the false information.

This is such a serious topic because it is about the flag of Bosnia and our Olympians. Public broadcasting services have a special obligation in relation to those topics, to check their resources and information thoroughly, and to issue only the facts, not the allegations harmful to Bosnia."

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