Friday, January 25, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The International Community's High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajčák, attended the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the Conference of Education Ministers in Bosnia between entity prime ministers and Bosnia's Prime Minister, held yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Following the adoption of several long outstanding education laws in the second half of 2007 and the recent agreement on establishment of the Bosnian education agencies, the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding creates a good platform for better coordination and cooperation in this sphere in 2008.

"When the agencies are up and running, and when the Law on Vocational Education and Training is finally enacted, Bosnia will have a legislative and institutional framework in place for implementing education reforms in line with its EU Partnership requirements,“ said Lajčák following the signing of the Memorandum.


SREBRENICA, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Realization of the project for the reconstruction of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica from the Bosnian Council of Ministers assets in the amount of 10 million Bosnian Marks, has been delayed for over half a year, it was stated during the visit to Srebrenica of Cliffford Bond,the Office of the International community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) Special Envoy for Srebrenica and the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic.

Minister Halilovic stated that the implementation is delayed due to administrative procedure and commission forming, but that planned amount will be spent on set projects as soon as possible.

Bond pointed out that all planned projects should be realized very quickly and that they will contribute in improving living conditions for the citizens of Srebrenica. Primarily, new work places will be secured which is a basis for survival in this region of Bosnia.

On Wednesday, the Bosnian Council of Ministers Special Commission visited Srebrenica and they agreed to take concrete steps in realizing these projects.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Bosnian Zeljko Komsic met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with new Malaysian Ambassador to Bosnia Zulkilfli Adnan and received his credentials.

President Komsic emphasized that political relations between Bosnia and Malaysia are extraordinary and that the time has some to develop economic relations.

He added that Malaysia has significant investments in Bosnia and that some of them have not been completed still. However, both countries are interested in a better economic cooperation and in that sense, he said, Malaysia can count on support of the Bosnian state institutions in the sector.

”Although Bosnia may at times appear complicated, it is not. There are no dilemmas in Bosnia – this is an independent and a sovereign country and its place is in the EU”, President Komsic said.

Ambassador Adnan agreed with President Komsic’s attitude that economic relations between the two countries need to be improved. He promised full support in realization of improvement of economic relations.

He stated that 150 Bosnian students studied in Malaysia in the past few years and that 164 experts from Bosnia have undergone training there.

President Komsic expressed gratitude to Malaysia and its people for helping Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric met in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with Head of the World Bank Office in Bosnia Marco Mantovanelli and his associates. Spiric proposed that the World Bank should help the regional project aimed to fight fire and flood disasters. The project is directed from Bosnia.

World Bank representatives stated that the idea is very interesting and announced that they will consider it carefully.

Spiric stated that the World Bank could help support public purchase related to fight against crime and corruption and development of statistics in the sense of equipping and educating the statistic agencies’ personnel for the census which will take place once the political decision is passed.

The officials also talked about the problems related to implementation of education restructuring project.

Mantovanelli stated that the project will be suspended but also expressed willingness of the World Bank to change the arrangement of its implementation and added that it would be a shame to “lose 10 million USD”.

Spiric also informed Mantovaneli that he will sign a memorandum of understanding for formation of Conference of Ministers of Education in Bosnia.He emphasized that the Conference will look for answers related to implementation of education restructuring project.

They also talked about servicing of Bosnia’s debt to the World Bank and on formation of the Bosnian Fiscal Council and about possibilities of increasing efficiency in the process of monitoring the realization of loans.

Mantovanelli informed Spiric that World Bank representatives visited the Brcko District for the purpose of including the District into the Sava River-related projects, in accordance with the last year’s calls to make Brcko District a part of the partnership strategy, the Bosnian Council of Ministers announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Bosnian Association of Farmers and its branch in the Posavina Canton have announced to block the Orasje state border crossing January 28, at 5 minutes to noon. They will block the border crossing for unlimited period of time, that is, until solutions to the key problems in the agricultural sector are found.

The Association emphasized in an announcement that the burning problem of farmers in Bosnia is the fact that customs tariffs have not yet been introduced, related to obligatory purchase of livestock for 2008.

For that reason, Bosnian food producers are not obliged to purchase livestock and meat from Bosnian farmers, for they can purchase it from the neighbouring countries.

The Association representatives added that that they have sent a letter to the Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Policy Slobodan Puhalac, asking him to solve these problems. They also asked Minister Puhalac to meet with them by the end of the week, in order to discuss those issues.

”Unless we achieve concrete solutions, we will block the state border crossing”, the Bosnian Association of Farmers announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric, met in the Bosnian capial Sarajevo with the US Ambassador to Bosnia Charles English and the Head of NATO’s Sarajevo Headquarters, General Richard Wightman.

They agreed that further reform of the Bosnian military is needed, so that Bosnia could progress on her path to the NATO membership.

With that in mind, the agreement on the principles of regulating military property issues, signed on July 12, 2007, needs to be enforced, so that certain progress is made before the NATO Summit in Bucharest this year.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – The Social Democratic Party (SDP) delegate at the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives and a member of the Commission for Human Rights, Rights of Children, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics Denis Becirovic, sent an open letter yesterday to the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees Safet Halilovic, asking him to resign, for, as stated, non-efficiency in the protection of human rights of the Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurisic.

”As a delegate at the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives, I asked several questions to Bosnian state institutions, related to the arrest of Ilija Jurisic at the Belgrade airport, May 11 2007, for I am of the opinion that the arrest is illegal”, Becirovic stated and added that this event has no precedent in international relations and international legal assistance.

He emphasized that the event is also painting a picture of internal relations in Bosnia, as well as the relation between our country and its neighbours, or between Bosnia and any other country on the planet Earth. Other countries’ can, apparently, arrest Bosnian citizens “the way they want to”, for they have no protection whatsoever.

Becirovic stated that everyone should bear individual responsibility for the actions he or she could have taken but did not.

”As the Bosnian Minister of Human Rights and Refugees, you were obliged to insist on full respect of international standards from the sector of human rights and liberties. Instead of doing so, you seem to have “slept over” the past eight months of Ilija Jurisic’s struggle for human rights”, the letter states.

Becirovic reminded Halilovic that he, as delegate, asked him a question on all the past activities taken in the process of releasing Ilija Jurisic. He also asked Minister Halilovic to state whether or not he has visited Ilija Jurisic.

The letter also states: “Also, in your opinion, ‘the very fact that a person is held in detention is not the reason enough to trigger a reaction on the basis of the international standards you mentioned’”.

”I am writing you this, for I am disappointed with a fact I have heard in Belgrade recently – you have visited Ilija Jurisic not a single time for all the eight months of his imprisonment. You have not even formed a delegation on behalf of your ministry to visit our citizen”, the letter states.

"Minister, keeping in mind the fact that you have done nothing in eight months to efficiently and concretely protect and help Ilija Jurisic, I hereby call you to make the only moral act possible – irrevocably resign," the letter Becirevic sent to the Bosnian Human Rights and Refugees Minister Safet Halilovic states.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) – Training must become something regular for the Bosnian Armed Forces, and this will be set as priority in the future period, it was stated yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at the opening of the first annual Conference on the Bosnian Armed Forces Training.

Goal of this conference is to review new challenges which exist in the training process and assess possibilities of realizing set goals.

Head of the Bosnian Armed Forces HQ General Sifet Podzic confirmed that previous two years were poor regarding the training, which is why there was a priority to form new units and commands.

Until now, there was no training organization system, but only ad hoc trainings, from mission to mission, concluded Podzic saying that this was exactly the purpose of this conference.

At the conference we shall define the areas of the training process and eventual requests to the Bosnian Ministry of Defence and other institutions related with fulfilling the criteria and demands of the training.

”We want to change conditions of the training process and it will be given a priority”, stated General Podzic. He underlined that the training represents a continuance of defense sector reform and transition process of the Bosnian Armed Forces completed in the previous year.

Podzic also stated that units and nominated compounds designated for operations which contribute to peace keeping have to be trained and dedicated in completing the mission in the best possible manner.

”This however, does not mean that we should have lower demands from others. Training and responsibility must be imperative of all members of the Bosnian Armed Forces”,General Podzic said.

Education of the Bosnian Armed Forces members representing Bosnia in missions or daily activities of international military cooperation units must be more demanding and of better quality,he said.


STRASBOURG, France (January 25,2008) - The President of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Bakir Izetbegovic met in Strasbourg with newly elected Speaker of the Council of Europe Parliament Lluis Maria de Puig and the Council of Europe Secretary General Mateo Sorinas.

De Puig said that monitoring of future development of the events will be of special significance for Bosnia and that he is aware that Bosnia is a complex country institutionally-wise. He also added that the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly will offer every kind of assistance to the Bosnian Parliament.

Izetbegovic stated that political situation in Bosnia is improving and added that Bosnia is of a special interest for the rest of Europe, for it is a proof that different peoples and faiths can live together.

During the meeting, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s Secretary General Mateo Sorinas expressed pleasure over the election of head of the delegation, because that will remove all the difficulties that appeared last year.

Nomination of Caroline Ravaud to the position of CE’s Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Bosnia was emphasized as important, because she is an excellent expert on Bosnia.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (January 25,2008) - The Bosnian President, Zeljko Komsic, started his own blog entitled "President's Blog" ("Predsjednikov blog" in Bosnian) at the community.

That makes him the third public person in Bosnia to become a blogger, after the British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft and the Director of the Sarajevo Winter Festival Ibrahim Spahic.

In his first post on his blog President Komsic wrote about the lateste session of the Bosnian Presidency and his recent visit to the Krakow University in Poland and a local flying club in Sarajevo.

President Komsic also promised he would find time to regularly visit his blog and update it despite his numerous duties.