Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Mario Brkic

OSCE, Aida Besic

EUPM, Monja Koluder

EUFOR, Jem Thomas



System Now in Place to Complete Work of
Identifying Missing Persons

More than 14,000 families inBosnia and
are still waiting to receive
information regarding the whereabouts of loved ones who disappeared during the
war. As the Senior Deputy High Representative, Martin Ney, will observe at an
event later today, “this figure testifies to the failure of the respective
authorities to fulfill their binding commitment under

Ambassador Ney will chair today’s session of the Working Group on Missing
Persons, established  by International Committee of Red Cross  to
obtain, collate and communicate information on missing persons from the Entity
and Brcko authorities.

of the Dayton Agreement obliges
the relevant authorities to provide this information.

Ambassador Ney will also emphasise that BiH now has the legislative framework
and the necessary domestic institutions to deal effectively with the issue of
missing persons. The Law on Missing Persons was adopted last year, and the
Missing Persons Institute has been established and is expected to be operational
by next year.


Flouting of Audit Reports Endangers BiH Transition

I would also draw your attention to remarks made at a conference in


yesterday by Patrice
Dreiski, head of the OHR’s Economics Department

Mr Dreiski pointed out that while the State and Entity Auditors have started
to make a positive impact on the way public money is handled in BiH and the way
public companies are run, this impact has not been nearly large enough.

“No matter how outrageous the findings – theft, incompetence, mismanagement –
the popular indignation that now customarily follows the publication of audit
reports appears to last only for a matter of days,” he said “But after the
indignation has died down, the politicians, directors of assorted boards and
other insiders go back to business as usual.”

Mr Dreiski said that the failure of the audits, till now, to sustain popular
indignation and improve the management of government departments and public
companies “represents a real danger for BiH’s economic transition as a

He pointed out that “until now the number of criminal prosecutions arising
from audit findings has been disproportionately small,” and highlighted the fact
that it is the role of the Public Prosecutor “to take up – when criminal
activity has been exposed – where the auditors leave off.”



to BiH supports study
visit to


parliamentary research

As part of the OSCE Mission to BiH assistance in the development of the
parliamentary research capacity of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, a study visit
of junior members of the BiH Parliamentary Research Centre of the Slovenian
National Assembly has been organized from 20 to 23 November 2005

The training programme, prepared in co-operation with the Slovenian National
Assembly Research and Documentation Sector, focuses on the specific requirements
of parliamentary research and modern research techniques. The programme is built
on existing co-operation and the exchange of knowledge and between the BiH PA
and Slovenian National Assembly.

The OSCE Mission to BiH will continue to encourage and support this
cooperation in the future as far as Slovenian experience and knowledge is highly
relevant to the BiH Parliamentary Assembly in consideration of the country’s
aspiration to join the European Union.



No statement.



Council conclusions on Western Balkans

At the 2690th General Affairs Council meeting, held in


yesterday, the Council of
the European Union reviewed the EU Military Operation in Bosnia-Hercegovina,
Operation ALTHEA, on completion of its successful first year.

‘The Council welcomed the positive contribution of the operation to ensuring
a safe and secure environment in

Bosnia and Herzegovina

, and confirmed that a continuing EU
military presence remained at this stage essential to that end. It noted that
the operation was a practical example of the strategic partnership with NATO in
crisis management. It approved the SG/HR’s recommendation that force levels
should remain broadly unchanged for the coming year and that decisions on the
future size and structure of EUFOR should be based on an assessment of
conditions on the ground. The Council furthermore confirmed that EUFOR should
retain its tasks

for the coming six months. Sustained progress within the Stabilisation and
Association process, and an assessment of the impact of elections in 2006 will
allow Ministers then to consider options for the future presence of EUFOR in
Bosnia and