Wednesday, February 13, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 13,2008) – Due to death of the U.S. congressman Tom Lantos, Bosnian Presidency Member Haris Silajdzic sent a letter of condolence to Lantos family and American people.Silajdzic stated that with death of Lantos Bosnia has lost a great and true friend.”During the aggression and genocide against Bosnia, he was the leading voice of conscience and reason for a more decisive reaction of the United States, for crimes to be stopped”, stated Silajdzic.

He also added that Lantos never tried to minimize the tragedy in Bosnia through diplomatic phrases and claimed several times that images from Bosnia remind him of “concentration camps Nazis built during the WWII and that civilized world stood aside in the early 40s because they did not know what was happening”.

"But now we know what is going on, and it is on our TV screens every night”, spoke Lantos who had bitter and personal experience with Nazi concentration camps and crimes.

"Bosnia always had and still has a number of friends all across the world, but Tom Lantos was without a doubt among the small circle of the righteous. I avail myself of this opportunity to extend my sincere condolences to the family of Congressman Lantos and to the American people",a member of the Bosnian Presidency Haris Silajdzic said.

U.S. Congressmen Tom Lantos was born in Hungary in 1928 and was the only Congressman in the U.S. history who survived Nazi concentration camp. He was saved thanked to help of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg and he dedicated all his life in fighting for human rights and democratic values.


PODGORICA, Montenegro (February 13,2008) - The International Community's HighRepresentative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak met with the Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Roćen and Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) President, Milo Đukanović in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica.

The talks with senior Montenegrin officials focused on relations with the EU. The visit to Podgorica completes Lajcak’s tour of neighbouring capitals. He visited to Zagreb and Belgrade in 2007, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 13,2008) – Among the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all Bosnian citizens in Article II of Annex Four of the Dayton Agreement are freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; freedom of expression; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association with others,the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said.

Recently, certain educational authorities in Canton Sarajevo have apparently proposed introducing religious instruction into the kindergarten curriculum. While in theory there is nothing wrong with this, beyond of course adding a subject to the pre-school curriculum that most experts would contend ought not to be taught until students grow much older, it does raise questions about exclusivity and discrimination, for reports also suggest that such instruction would be purely Islamic in orientation,the OSCE stated yesterday.

In a multi-national and multi-confessional country such as Bosnia, this threatens to work against the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the country’s own constitution, which also states that: “the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Article or in the international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution shall be secured to all persons in Bosnia without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status,” the OSCE said.

In addition, the newly adopted Framework Law on Pre-school Education states: “pre-school institutions shall develop, promote and respect national and religious freedom, customs, tolerance and the culture of dialogue,” the OSCE said.

In the interests of fairness and of compliance with the current legal and constitutional order, it would seem only logical for the cantonal authorities to introduce religious instruction into the canton’s pre-schools in all the faiths and confessions represented in Bosnia.In the interests of proper pedagogy, however, it would also seem more sensible to postpone such instruction until such time as students are of an age and intellectual maturity to be able properly to receive it,the OSCE said.

We are therefore moved to suggest that this country’s political and religious leaders focus their energies and efforts instead on something that is of fundamental important to their future – that is, on transforming the country’s pre-school, primary and secondary schools from institutions that emphasise the differences among peoples into institutions that foster a sense that the citizens of this country can have more than one identity – they can be, for instance, bridge-jumpers, Mostarians, Bosniacs or Croats or Serbs, and Bosnians at one and the same time – and still share a sense of common allegiance to the Bosnian state,the OSCE said.

Unless it cultivates and creates this sense of belonging among its citizens, regardless of their race or religion or culture, Bosnia has little prospect of taking its desired place in the larger European family of democratic states,the OSCE warned.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 13,2008) – Bosnia is not and cannot be a hostage to Kosovo and any kinds of attempts of bringing the future of Kosovo in relation with the future of Bosnia need to be rejected, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) Spokesperson Frane Maroevic stated at a press conference in the Bosnian capital yesterday.

Commenting the opinions that negative consequences may arise after the Kosovo independence proclamation, Maroevic stated that, psychologically, the Kosovo issue may influence the political atmosphere in the entire region. However, he added that there is not a single issue related to Bosnia that is Kosovo-related.

”Legally, there is not a single way to organize a referendum on separation of any part of Bosnia and such demands are without grounds. Kosovo and Bosnia are two completely different issues”, Maroevic said.

The European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR) Spokesperson David Fiedler stated that the EUFOR has been monitoring the political and security situation in the country. He added that there are plans of actions for any situation that may arise in Bosnia and that there is a possibility of increasing the number of troops at the Bosnian borders.


MINSK, Belarus (February 13,2008) - The Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has approved the draft agreement between Belarus and Bosnia on avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion, the Belarusan Presidential Press Service announced.

From the Belarusian side the agreement will be signed by Anna Deiko, the Minister for Taxes and Duties of Belarus.