Saturday, March 8, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 8,2008) – The Commander of the Bosnian Armed Forces General Sifet Podzic and the Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR),General Ignacio Villalaín attended a ceremony at Rajlovac Barracks of handing over the responsibility of Weapon Storage Sites from EUFOR to the Bosnian Army.The Bosnian Minister of Defence, Selmo Cikotic also attended the ceremony.A Letter of Understanding was signed by both the EUFOR Commander and the Commander of the Bosnian Army.

General Villalain stated that this event marks another step forward in successful implementation of the Bosnian defence reform.

He added that EUFOR Verification Unit and Internal Team for Bosnian Armed Forces’ Inspection Team conducted a program of joint inspections of weapons storages from September 2007.

General Villalain stated that the joint inspections conducted all the activities professionally and that all the results have been stored to a database which is available for public.

He emphasized that the Bosnian Army gained the International Community’s respect and added that the EUFOR is now able to transfer a significant part of jurisdiction onto them.

General Podzic said that he hopes that the Bosnian Army will soon take over jurisdiction over other sectors in order to create conditions to “say goodbye to our EUFOR friends and ask them to visit Bosnia as tourists”.

The Bosnian Deputy Defence Minister Igor Crnadak stated that the event is of an enormous significance for Bosnia, for it is a proof that the defence reform has been implemented successfully.

This week, EUFOR and the Bosnian Armed Forces were conducting joint military training at Comanche military base, near the eastern bosnian city of Tuzla.The Hungarian Company and a Platoon of the Bosnian Army soldiers have been learning to work together on operations that include Crowd Riot Control techniques and the rapid extraction of personnel from buildings under threat.

This training is seen to be very significant for both the EUFOR and the Bosnian Army. Earlier in January the Bosnian Armed Forces stated that 2008 would be a year of training and the results of this statement are now being seen.

This exercise tested the capability of both EUFOR and the Bosnian Army.The personnel involved were mainly infantry based and the training enhanced their operational capabilities,the EUFOR stated.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 8,2008) – A seminar was held on Thursday and Friday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, focusing on security policy and cooperation. The seminar was entitled “Security Policy from the Perspective of Regional Cooperation in the Southeastern Europe”, organized by the Bosnian Foreign Affairs Ministry and Centre for Safety Policy from Geneva.

The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj held the introductory speech and thanked the organizers of the project.

He emphasized that regional cooperation is an impetrative in the situation which is full of security challenges and threats.

”Regional cooperation has always been one of the top priorities of the Bosnian foreign policy and our goal is to strengthen it further on the basis of joint interests, equality and mutual respect”, Minister Alkalaj said.

He in that sense emphasized pleasure over the election of Sarajevo for the Regional cooperation Council (RCC) HQs.

OSCE Head of Mission to Bosnia Ambassador Douglas Davidson addressed the participants as well. He talked about the importance of cooperation in the sector of security for the purpose of a successful resentment to the global threats,

”Justice and mutual respect and cooperation are the basic values of the OSCE concept of the European safety. I hope that they will also become the basis of the region’s policy”, Ambassador Davidson stated.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 8,2008) - The Bosnian Ministry of Civil Affairs is taking all necessary activities in order to start issuing biometric passports by November 1 as it was planned by the process for new passports issuing, stated the Bosnian Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs Senad Sepic.

"We are slowed down in this process by unplanned commitment of adjusting different adopted laws on travel documents in both houses of Parliament but we shall do everything to start issuing passports on time”, stated Sepic.

He added that these changes mean gradual introduction of biometric passports for all Bosnian citizens.Ther Bosnian citizens would have to change current passports with new biometric ones after the old ones expire. This is relieving factor for citizens since they do not have to spend additional money in case they already have a passport.

Existing passports shall be valid until their expiry but for those who wish to travel to countries for which visa is needed, they will have to own biometric passport. This is obligation taken over by the liberalization of visa regime.

The Bosnian Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs mentioned that before issuing of passports a rulebook needs to be adjusted on the design of passport and the company which will print them and prepare CIPS Direction for its issuing.

Price of biometric passport is not confirmed yet since it depends on where it will be printed, stated Sepic.

"There are a lot of important aspects for complete visa regime liberalization and in Ministry of Civil Affairs we are doing everything in our power for our citizens to travel easier as possible," Minister Sepic stated.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 8,2008) – The Bosnian government has determined a plan of activities for 2008.Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric emphasized that the main goals of the program are association of Bosnia to the EU and further progress towards fulltime membership to NATO.

According to him, the plan of activities is oriented towards creation of a united economic space in Bosnia and implementation of economic reforms.

Spiric added that this is the first time that the Bosnian government’s plan of activities will be sent to the parliamentary procedure in due time.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers determined Bill on High School Education and Training in Bosnia, defining guidelines and the main issues related to the high school education training and curriculum. It also deals with the department institutions, main issues related to the curriculum, examinations, schools’ autonomy, financing and management.

Spiric emphasized that it is of a special significance that the Bill foresees the frame curriculum at the Bosnian state level, including the joint circle of general subjects in primary and secondary schools for the purpose of achieving equal standards.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers determined Bill on ID Agency, Booking and Data Exchange which will take over the CIPS project jurisdiction. The Agency, situated in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka, will be organized as a management organization as a part of the department ministry.

The Council also determined Bill Changing and Amending the Law on Police Officers, ehich would, if adopted, enable implementation of the UN Security Council’s President from April 30 2007, as well as the implementation of the Bosnian government’ conclusions adopted in relation to the decertified police officers’ issue.

Changes and Amendments to this Law will enable the decertified police officers to apply for work at certain police structures.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers also determined Bill Changing and Amending the Law on Bosnia's Customs Policy which will regulate the issue of freeing from taxes the purchase of equipment for the needs of civil protection institutions and fire departments. Purchase of those goods is ensured by the Bosnian Ministry of Finance and Vault, in cooperation with the Bosnian Ministry of Security. The Council also determined the Bill on Control of Movement of Weapons and Military Equipment which will enable Bosnia to take over the EUFOR jurisdiction in the sector.

The Bill also foresees the ways and conditions of movement of the military equipment and weapons within Bosnia and movement of weapons during the transfer into some other country.

The Council of Ministers determined Bill on State Border Control, regulating the issues of crossing the Bosnian state borders.

The Bill adopted in accordance to the realization of Strategy of Integral Management of State Borders and the European legislative related to the issue, meaning the rules applicable to Bosnia.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers determined Bill Changing and Amending the Law on Judiciary Exam in Bosnia, which foresees the graduated lawyers to take this exam, provided that they have had two years of work experience in the praxis; including the probationers and volunteers. The Bill is aimed to help the young lawyers progress professionally.

Furthermore, the Council of Ministers determined Bill on Basis for Conclusion of the Agreement on the CEFTA Headquarters in Brussels, which will be submitted to the Bih Presidency for further procedure.

The Council of Ministers palso assed Decision Changing and Amending the Decision on Nomination of Workgroup for Development of Report on Participation of the Bosnian Armed Forces, Police and State Officials in Peace Support Missions Abroad.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers passed Decision on Formation of a State Body for Cross-State Border Cooperation, proposed by Direction for European Integrations of Bosnia, aimed to improve the implementation of the second component of the IPA.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers passed Decision on Seizure of the Bosnian Citizenship to Abduladhim Mohammed Maktouf,who is of Iraqi origin. He has been found guilty of crimes against humanity by first-degree verdict.

Also, the Bosnian Council of Ministers passed Decision on Seizure of the Bosnian Citizenship to Kamel Ben Karray who is of Tunisian origin.

The Bosnian Council of Ministers passed conclusion on submitting a part of the Report on the Bosnian government representatives’ Visit to the Bosnian Citizens Imprisoned at the Guantanama Bay Prison to Lakhdar Boumediene’s lawyer.The Bosnian Justice Ministry has been given directions to implement the conclusion.


MOSTAR, Bosnia (March 8,2008) - The Herzegovina-Neretva Cantonal Board of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) stated that Draft Budget for 2008 is “unserious and bad”, which really reflects essence of the so- far work of Cantonal Government.

The government of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC) is ready to implement entity laws when it comes to taking of revenues of local communities, even in the course of fiscal year. However, the HNC government forgets to implement law of the FBIH entity authorities related to increase of coefficient of civil servants, says the statement issued by the Cantonal Board of the SDP.

Members of the party expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the HNC government, besides increase of juvenile delinquency, cuts transfers for culture, sport, and information.

SDP also stated that work of the HNC government, apart from this year, the one from August to December last year should be put on the agenda of the next session of the Cantonal Assembly.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 8,2008) - Sanja Meseldzija Gvozdar, a former counter clerk of Reifeissen bank’s office in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka, has been arrested in Belgrade,Serbia.

She is now suspected of a fraud worth EUR 1.1 million.

The arrest was based on an international arrest warrant, and the 33-year-old suspect is currently awaiting extradition to Bosnia. The fraud was allegedly committed in the period between December 2006 and September 2007.


LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (March 8,2008) - The management of "Telekom Slovenije" has announced its plans to expand to the markets of Bosnia and Croatia, including the possibility of acquisition of BH Telecom.

The Slovenian operator, which announced its financial results for 2007 this week, also has broadband plans for Bosnia and Macedonia.