Visit by Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey to Sarajevo for the Council of Europe

Bern, Press release, 23.04.2010

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, held talks with representatives of the authorities and of political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 22 April. The main purpose of the talks was to identify and to discuss ways of bringing the constitutional and legal framework of Bosnia-Herzegovina into line with its commitments and obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.

In Sarajevo the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs talked to Mr Haris Silajdzic, a member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s collective presidency, with members of the presidencies of the two houses of parliament, with leaders of the main political parties and with representatives of the international community, including Mr Valentin Inzko, the High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

During her talks, Micheline Calmy-Rey stressed that constitutional reform and the implementation of the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Sejdic and Finci versus Bosnia and Herzegovina were being closely monitored by the Committee of Ministers. She expressed her regret that efforts to bring about the main reforms before the announcement of general elections had not been successful. These elections are due to be held in October this year.  

Micheline Calmy-Rey relayed the wish of the Committee of Ministers that Bosnia and Herzegovina should speed up the process of constitutional reform and amend the electoral code accordingly in order to comply with the obligations and commitments that it made when it joined the Council of Europe in 2002.  

During the talks she said: "I reiterate the determination of the Council of Europe as a whole to support your country in its efforts to carry out the necessary constitutional and legal changes. We all want the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to progress to a full conformity with our common standards, which guarantee respect for human rights and basic freedoms, the rule of law and democracy."

Finally, the Chair of the Committee of Ministers invited all concerned actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to engage fully and resolutely in an effective and constructive dialogue on amendments to the Constitution, in line with the Council of Europe recommendations, without waiting for the results of the forthcoming elections. "We are counting on the determination of all the actors involved to bring about reforms as soon as possible. What is needed is political will !" she stressed.

Further information:

Swiss Chairmanship of the Council of Europe

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