OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Mostar

Bosnia and
Must Not Miss
Opportunity to Join



on Thursday and
Friday, a negotiating team from

Bosnia and Herzegovina

, comprising the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, will try to
complete negotiations that will allow BiH to accede to the Central European Free
Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

CEFTA was established by Poland, Hungary and the former
Czechoslovakia in 1992. In the last decade, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and
Macedonia have all become members. The founding CEFTA members have already
joined the EU.




join in January.

Acceding to CEFTA will take
Bosnia and Herzegovina

into what has been for other
countries a kind of anteroom to the European Union.

This week’s discussions will also reveal whether or not

Bosnia and Herzegovina

has the kind of realistic and
determined outlook that is needed to bring complex and demanding negotiations of
this sort to a positive conclusion – and that, clearly, will have a bearing on
the country’s prospects for negotiating accession to the EU.

The BIH side has sought to make a complete renegotiation of its Free Trade
Agreements with neighbouring countries part of its CEFTA accession requirement.
At this stage, it appears that real progress can be made on addressing some of
BiH’s concerns, but full renegotiation is not on the table. If a deal is struck,
the new BiH Council of Ministers when it is formed must endeavour to set in
place as quickly as possible the kind of inspection regimes that will allow BiH
exporters to compete effectively with exporters in neighbouring countries.

The OHR calls on the BiH Council of Ministers to do everything in its power
to reach a deal in


week. The lesson of the CEFTA member states is that expanding free trade means
expanding opportunities for job creation; CEFTA membership has also served as an
invaluable preparation for EU membership.


Peace Implementation Council Meeting –
Sarajevo 19 & 20

The Political Directors of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board
will meet in

on Thursday
and Friday this week.

The Peace Implementation Council will consider the outcome of the 1 October
elections in
Bosnia and Herzegovina

, progress that is currently
being made in coalition building, and
Bosnia and Herzegovina

‘s prospects for fulfilling
Stabilisation and Association Agreement requirements.

There will be a particular focus on two areas:

Firstly, on Police reform. This is the top political requirement that

Bosnia and Herzegovina

must meet to sign the Stabilisation
and Association Agreement, entering into contractual relations with the EU;

And secondly on Constitutional reform. This is essential if

Bosnia and Herzegovina

is to make its administration
functional and meet the future challenges of EU accession and
integration. Political Directors will be looking to BiH political leaders to
pass the April package of constitutional reforms as soon as possible.

The Political Directors will gather late tomorrow afternoon ahead of a full
formal session on Friday. Tomorrow evening there will be an informal opportunity
for BiH party leaders and Political Directors to exchange views at a reception
at the HR/EUSR’s home. And on Friday morning, representatives of the BiH
authorities led by Prime Minister Adnan Terzic will make a presentation to the
PIC session.

As usual, there will be a number of media opportunities and you will be
advised of these separately. The PIC will, as usual produce its communiqué on
Friday afternoon.