Saturday, March 29, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) - The agreement on transferring military weapons, ammunition, explosives and certain other movable defence property from the entities to the Bosnaan defence institutions is finally resolved. State and entity government representatives signed in Doboj the agreement on final disposal of all rights and liabilities over movable defence property that will continue to serve defence purposes.

The agreement also includes procedures for the disposal of surplus weapons, ammunition and explosives and distribution of the proceeds from any sales to the entities and the state, the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) said.

Welcoming agreement OHR’s Principal Deputy High Representative Raffi Gregorian said: “Today's agreement, though overdue, is another milestone in defence reform implementation. It is especially important because it will allow Bosnia to finally start getting rid of tons of unstable and dangerous material the maintenance of which has needlessly strained the resources of the Bosnian Armed Forces.Moreover, as we saw recently in the tragic pictures from Albania, failure to deal with such material in a timely fashion can cost lives”.

NATO leaders meet in Bucharest next week. “This agreement says that Bosnia is serious about defence reform and its NATO aspirations,” Gregorian said.

"I hope the NATO's leaders will take this into consideration, as well as Bosnia's demonstrated willingness to contribute to international peace and security missions,” Gregorian added.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) - The Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Major General Ignacio Villalaín, has witnessed the signing of an agreement passing ownership of defence equipment to the Bosnian Ministry of Defence (MoD).The agreement covers movable defence equipment such as weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as other movable defence property such as radar stations and vehicles, EUFOR said.

Speaking at the ceremony for the ‘Agreement for final rights and obligations concerning movable property”, Major General Villalaín said:

“Today sees a significant step forward for this country. I warmly welcome this agreement and congratulate all parties on their vision and commitment. They are demonstrating a clear determination to securing a stable and productive future for the country and its armed forces.

A key part of our operational role in the Balkans regarding defence issues is to ensure that progressively more and more responsibility is handed over to the state level and the Bosnian Armed Forces. This signing today supports this and is another step forward in the excellent progress that the country is making towards defence reform.

EUFOR’s mission is to contribute to the safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and this agreement will have a powerful impact underpinning this. My task as Commander is to maintain close and fruitful contact with the Bosnian ministry of Defence and the Bosnian Armed Forces , advising and supporting them as we engage in ongoing military operations and training together. I am delighted to be here for this significant signing today,” General Villalaín said.

NATO HQ Sarajevo congratulated all who have contributed to the signing of the Transfer Agreement on Moveable Defence Property. This agreement is a milestone towards the full implementation of the Law on Defence and is an important and positive step along the path of Bosnia within NATO'S Partnership for Peace Program.

"The reform of the defence structures of Bosnia that began in May 2003 is widely recognised as the most successful reform effort undertaken since 1995. The achievements of the past five years have underpinned Bosnia’s successful bid to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and are a key element of its wider efforts to achieve full Euro Atlantic integration.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked long and hard to make this agreement happen, to the many members of the international community who have supported this work and especially to the political leaders of Bosnia who have made the hard choices based on their clear understanding of the importance of this agreement to the present and the future of this country. NATO extends its thanks and congratulations.

As we celebrate this event let us remember that our work is not done. NATO and its colleagues from the international community stand ready to fully assist Bosnia to implement this agreement and we hope that work based on preparation already done can start without delay," NATO HQ Sarajevo said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – On the occasion of marking 95 years of the establishment of the Muslim Charity “Merhamet” in bosnia, an official academy took place at the Bosnian National Theatre. The “Merhamet” certificates have been awarded to the Bosnian Army General Mehmed Alagic,the former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the first US Ambassador to Bosnia Viktor Jakovich and to the people and governments of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.

Mufid Memija’s movie “On the Path of Goodness and Mercy” opened the academy. The movie is about the Merhamet Charity activities.

Christian Schwarz –Schiling stated upon receiving the certificate that he considers himself a friend and an associate of the Merhamet charity. He congratulated the present members of the Merhamet and paid tribute to the ones who established the organization in 1913.

”Life is a struggle for peace. Peace will not come on its own, peace is something to fight for. Merhamet is a symbol of freedom and peace”, Schwartz-Schilling said.

Jakovic stated that he is honoured with the certificate.

”I believe that you have no reasons to thank the people in other countries. We need to be grateful to you, for you have fought for a multicultural society, mutual respect, equality… And you died for that. It is an honour to receive this award”, Jakovich said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – The former International Community's High Representative in Bosnia and Miroslav Lajcak’s predecessor Christian Schwarz-Schilling gave an interview, in which he responded to accusations that he "slept through" his term as the High Representative.

Schwarz-Schilling now says this was his tactic for the purpose of demonstrating to the international community that its presence in Bosnia is still required, because the local authorities are not ready yet to take full responsibility for governing the country.

He also said how the matters that Lajcak is dealing with are mostly trifles, and that the international community has given up on some key reforms in Bosnia. The former High Representative visited the Bosnian capital Sarajevo to receive an award.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) – A delegation of the Bosnian Association of Refugees, Displaced Persons and Returnees met with the FBiH Entity Vice-President Mirsad Kebo and concluded that solving the problem of refugees in Bosnia, that is full implementation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Agreement must continue to be the state priority.

"For definite solution of refugees’ problems at this moment there exist adequate legal and constitutional solutions but they have to be fully implemented”, stated Kebo at the meeting.

"There is nothing that stops us, according to the decision of continuativeness of peoples, to have a more just politics of employment of refugee population in entire Bosnia. But, certain politicians still use refugees for their political goals. That is why the work done by this association is extremely important since only through institutional channels and in coordination with state bodies problems of refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia could be solved”, stated the FBiH Entity Vice-President Mirsad Kebo.

He added that a final activation of public projects and employment of larger number of people, especially returnees will create a new economic and political ambience in which return will be a normal process of human rights realization, as well as regular constitutional and legal obligation of authorities obliged to implement such activities.

President of the Association, Mirhunisa Zukic informed Vice-President Kebo that they started with the realization of the project “Monitoring of Sustainable Return” which is instead of state institutions, financed by the Swiss government.

"Duty of the association is to strengthen local communities which will be true partners to state bodies in the return process since the association and its braches are best informed about the situation on the ground”, stated Zukic.


BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (March 29,2008) – The Bosnian Foreign Affairs Minister Sven Alkalaj is attending on Friday and Saturday in Brdo pri Kranju (Slovenia) an informal meeting of the EU foreign affairs ministers.

It is expected that the meeting will contribute further affirmation of the southeastern European countries’ EU perspective and that it will initiate their accelerated integration to the EU. The informal meeting will contribute the countries’ accelerated integration to the EU.

The meeting will end with a lunch which will focus on the intercultural dialogue; the topic which is one of the priority tasks of Slovenian presidency period and the EU topic of 2008.


SINGAPORE CITY, Singapore (March 29,2008) – The Bosnian Deputy Finance and Vault Minister Fuad Kasumovic and the Deputy Commissioner of the Keat Sing NG Business Group of the State Taxation Direction initialled in Singapore yesterday the double Taxation Evasion Agreement between Bosnia and Singapore.

This agreement creates better conditions in the business surrounding for investors from both the countries. That also means promotion of cooperation.

Initialling of this agreement is also the first step in activities that the two friendly countries have planned. Solving the double taxation issue will result in a lot of direct effects, especially in the sector of economy – starting from investments, technology exchange, all the way to trade, traffic and science.

Kasumovic emphasized that Bosnia is about to open the market towards one of the most developed countries in the world. He called the Singapore investors to actively participate in economic development of Bosnia.