Transcript of the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference

OHR, Kevin Sullivan

OSCE, Aida Besic

EUFOR, Nicholas Foster



Police Reform

We have been inundated with questions concerning a referendum on police
reform in Republika Srpska during the past two days.

The OHR’s position is clear in this matter.

In October 2005, the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, the Federation
Parliament and the Parliament of Bosnia and


endorsed a Police Reform Agreement in which they committed themselves to
restructuring the police in line with three principles laid down by the European

The text of the Police Reform Agreement was proposed by Dragan Cavic and was
supported by all SNSD delegates present in the RS National Assembly. The
National Assembly of Republika Srpska was first to adopt the Agreement, only
later was it also accepted by Federation-based parties.

Based on the commitments and endorsements of the October Agreement, the
European Union agreed to open talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement
with Bosnia and

In the Agreement, the authorities of

Bosnia and Herzegovina

and both entities also
committed themselves to establish and support the work of a Police Directorate,
which would prepare an implementation plan for police restructuring.

The Directorate was then established by a vote of the Council of Ministers in
December. In this way, it was also endorsed by those Ministers nominated by the
parties from Republika Srpska and represented in the Council of Ministers. 
There were no dissenting opinions or outvoting in the Council of Minister’s

After the Directorate finishes its proposed implementation plan, the plan
will go to entity and state governments and parliaments to be agreed. This is
the framework for police restructuring. The three EU principles allow for the
interests of Republika Srpska as well as the Federation to be accommodated.

It is not obvious how a referendum would help the interests of Republika
Srpska or its citizens, since finalising this important reform will not only
help this country conclude the SAA, but also to lead to more EU flexibility on
issuing visas, as well as other benefits that come to countries and their
citizens that are on the path to Europe.

Reneging on the October Agreement would have serious consequences for the
signing of the SAA. Any such setback would affect the particular interests of
the citizens of Republika Srpska as much as those of the Federation.

Banja Luka Reception

The High Representative and Special EU Representative, Christian
Schwarz-Schilling, will be hosting a reception for the new Deputy High
Representative, Clarisse Pasztory, tonight in Banja

Ms Pasztory assumed her duties as Deputy High Representative on Wednesday 8
November and the reception will be an opportunity to meet representatives of
Republika Srpska’s political and media.

The reception will take place at 20.00 at the Citadela Restaurant, Kralja
Alfonsa XIII, 2. Cameramen and photographers are invited to cover the event.

On the second day of his visit to Banja Luka, tomorrow, the High
Representative and EU Special Representative, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, will
meet with the President and Prime Minister of Republika Srpska, Milan Jelic and
Milorad Dodik.



Promoting the Right of National Minorities to Equality in Access to
the Public Media

The OSCE Mission toBosnia and
will host a roundtable on
Promoting the right of national minorities to equality in access to the
public media
” at Jahorina tomorrow. The roundtable aims to foster freedom of
expression and promote cultural pluralism which is one of the primary means of
conflict prevention. This will be done through encouraging the media to portray
positive aspects of national minorities, refrain from stereotyping members of
national minorities and avoid inciting tensions between various ethnic
groups.  Such actions are all in line with international and domestic human
rights standards.

The roundtable will gather the relevant duty bearers, members of the
Government and public media, as well as representatives of the Associations of
different national minorities from BiH, to discuss the problem of national
minorities’ equality in access to public media and ways to improve the current

The implementation of international and domestic human rights law on the
right of national minorities to equal access to the public media is particularly
poor in

Bosnia and Herzegovina

. In the course of the roundtable,
several guest speakers will present practical examples on how to improve
equality in access of national minorities to public media, as well as best
practices from the region.

The outcome of the conference will be a list of concrete recommendations for
all relevant actors, which will promote non-discriminatory access to the media
for members of national minorities in the future.

Ambassador Davidson to address OSCE Permanent Council in

Ambassador Douglas Davidson, Head of OSCE Mission to BiH, will address the
OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday 16 November, in


. Ambassador Davidson will
talk about the pace of transformation of BiH, the recent General Elections and
the OSCE’s priorities in the country: support to the rule of law and the respect
of human rights, prosecution of war crimes, the reform of local government and
the participation of citizens in public decision-making processes, education
reform and the implementation of the country’s politico-military

You will be able to download the entire report of Ambassador Davidson on
Thursday 16 November, at



No statement.