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

Press conference have been canceled due to a power

This statement was subsequently sent to  Banja

media outlets via

BiH is A Sovereign State, the RS is not

The OHR is once again in the position where it has to remind the highest
levels of the RS authorities about the nature of the RS’s status as an Entity,
under the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Dayton Peace Agreement provides certain
guarantees to the RS, provided the RS recognises the sovereignty of the State of
Bosnia and Herzegovina – not the other way around.

Despite this, the RS Prime Minister’s Office has chosen to criticise the
Chairman of the Council of Ministers’ visit this week to Brussels. Mr Mikerevic
often refers to the Dayton Constitution. Article III.1., which defines matters
that are the responsibility of the state institutions, states that foreign
policy is the responsibility of the state. It is not the responsibility of the

The Deputy Chair of the RS Council of Peoples is reported in today’s press to
be alluding to the “sovereignty of the RS”. The term “sovereignty” is, by
definition, reserved for sovereign states, not entities. BiH is a sovereign
state. The Entities are not. The RS must recognize this and stop to behave as if
it were a state and not an entity.

There is an unhelpful tendency for some individuals and institutions to pick
and choose those points of the Dayton Peace Agreement that suit them. Dayton is
not an a la carte menu. It is an agreement that must be taken as a whole and
recognized as a whole.

Those who issue such statements are undermining the reputation of the country
abroad, at a time in which it is most important for BiH, as the country
approaches the question of membership of Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Key Legislation in the Council Of Ministers Today

Today the Council of Ministers will consider two key legal packages. Both
legislative packages are aimed at getting BiH moving.

The amendments to the Civil Service Law will help speed up the recruitment
process of civil servants by the Civil Service Agency, and they will address
problems that have arisen in the course of implementing the Law.

These amendments are part of the Government’s Joint Action Plan, which seeks
to make the State ministries and the CoM fully operational. Staffing levels at
Ministries are inadequate and this is having a negative impact on the capacity
of the BiH Government to work effectively and to implement the numerous reforms
it has taken on.

Resolving this issue means giving the authorities the capacity they need to
deliver better services to citizens.  OHR urges the adoption and subsequent
implementation of these amendments, which are an important step towards giving
BiH a more effective civil service.

The BiH Railways Law will establish a Railway Regulatory Board at the BiH
Ministry of Transport and Communications.  This Board will in due course
become the regulatory body and licensing authority for BiH, issuing and revoking
licences, safety certificates and permits. A single regulatory body that is
independent of train operators and infrastructure managers is an EU

This Law will provide BiH with basic legislation that is needed in order to
revitalise rail transport. This is a prerequisite for economic takeoff, because
companies such as BH Steel and other potentially major employers cannot expand
and create more jobs unless there is a rail network that can take their products
to market.

PDHR Visits Tuzla Tomorrow

The Principal Deputy High Representative, Donald Hays, will be in Tuzla
tomorrow, where he will meet representatives from local communities in the
region. Discussion will focus on the role of municipalities and the services
they deliver to citizens. Ambassador Hays will meet the representatives of the
Centre for Civil Initiatives, an NGO working on issues related to local
self-governance. Meetings will cover the unsustainable cost of governance in
BiH. Public spending currently eats up more than half of GDP.

In Brussels last week the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council
called on the State and Entity authorities to address this issue.

At 15:00 the Principal Deputy High Representative will participate in a live
radio programme on Kamaleon Radio, where he will outline his conclusions from
the visit.