EP delegation talks on cooperation
Representatives of the European Parliament (EP) were in Bosnia-Hercegovina this week for a two-day visit that included talks with representatives of both houses of the Bosnian parliament. The main issues addressed at the meeting concerned the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, analysis of the results of the recent Brussels regional donor conference, improvements to education and media structures and future relationships between the two institutions.
During their stay in BiH, EP representatives met with Wolfgang Petrisch, chairman of the Office of the High Representative, Robert Barry, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chief for BiH, and with a delegation representing de-mining projects in BiH sponsored by the European Union.
The EP delegation was led by Doris Peck, chairman of the European Commission for culture, media, sport and education, while Bosnia was represented by the chairmen of both houses of parliament and by the leaders of all political parties represented in the federal government. (BiHPress)
Bosnia signs agreements with Turkey
A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ended an official visit to Turkey this week, having signed agreements regarding cooperation between the two nations' cabinets, collaboration in the fight against international terrorism, drug trafficking, weapons proliferation and the elimination of organized crime.
Ismail Dzema, head of the Turkish negotiating team, said afterward that, "I was happy to meet with my friends from Bosnia-Hercegovina. We have agreed that Turkey and BiH share important cultural, historic and economic ties and we will work toward strengthening those in the future."
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jadranko Prlić, who headed the Bosnian delegation, emphasized that it is absolutely necessary for the two countries to continue their cooperation on all levels, adding that "We are thankful for the support that the people of Turkey, together with their government, gave to Bosnia during its struggle for independence." (Oslobodjenje)
Security Council extends UNMIBH mandate
This week, the United Nations Security Council granted the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) a one-year extension of its mandate.
The council insisted that all parties in the region respect the authority of SFOR and of the other international institutions currently present in the country and urged BiH authorities to step up cooperation with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) to promote effective control and management of the country's airports.
It also emphasized the importance of providing training and equipment necessary for the improvement of local police and law enforcement institutions. (UN)
Green light for Tuševljak cabinet
Bosnia's parliament this week approved recently-appointed Prime Minister Spasoje Tuševljak's cabinet selections, which were specifically aimed to strengthen the country's new multiethnic government.
Tuševljak received parliamentary approval of his new Cabinet under a proposal that ensures equal representation of all three ethnic groups. According to a BiHPress report, Tuševljak will also serve as Treasurer in addition to his duties as Prime Minister.
Following the approval of his cabinet, Tuševljak said "the new government represents a compromise which respects the reality of the political moment in Bosnia-Hercegovina. This is a complex country and it is not easy to work in its joint institutions."
Since his inauguration as Prime Minister, Tuševljak has been subject to widespread criticism from domestic and foreign officials. Much of this criticism has centered on his low public profile and his alleged connections with the government in Belgrade. Others have questioned his ability to create successful political and economic reforms that will contribute toward the country's democratization process. (BiHPress)
21 incidents reported on media help-line
Since the inauguration of the OSCE's Free Media Help-Line campaign to protect the rights of Bosnia's independent media organizations and free press, 21 new incidents involving the abuse of journalists' rights have been reported. Most consisted of explicit threats made to journalists by unknown parties.
Of the 21 reported incidents, 12 took place in the Muslim-Croat federation and nine in Republika Srpska. From November 1999 through May 2000, OSCE recorded a total of 65 incidents in which journalists' rights were violated.
Recently, editors of the main independent news magazines based in Sarajevo signed a joint petition protesting at increased pressure exerted on their publications by the federal government.
The editors of Oslobodjenje, Dnevni Avaz, Dani and Slobodna Bosna have requested that the federal government honour laws upholding the rights of the free press. The petition was organized in response to a police raid on the offices of the magazine Dnevni Avaz and a recent violent incident that targeted Senad Avdić, Editor-in-Chief of Slobodna Bosna. (Danas)
Ibrahim Sejfović, 24 June 2000
BiHPress - the news agency of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Oslobodjenje - Sarajevo-based independent magazine