News 2017

16 February 2017

Peer Review Seminar on OSCE Code of Conduct Starts at RACVIAC

)On Thursday, 16 February 2017, a „Peer Review Seminar on OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security“ started at RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. This two-day event is organized in cooperation with the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry of National Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria.

The main purpose of the event is to facilitate consultations with experts on the implementation of the values and standards outlined in the OSCE Code of Conduct in SEE countries during the reviewed period. The primary aim is to bring together governmental experts who will analyze past experiences and discuss the implementation of the OSCE CoC in SEE among themselves ("peer" format type of event).

)Opening the Seminar H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, said: "No matter how deeply the countries of South East Europe are engaged in Security Sector Reform, the OSCE Code of Conduct will continue to be a valuable tool in keeping track of the democratic changes they have made. He also stressed that, „at its core, the Code of Conduct also imposes upon the participating States the commitment to co-operate, including through the development of sound economic and environmental conditions, as well as to counter tensions that may lead to conflicts.“ “By organizing this event our intention was to continue to facilitate your consultations with the OSCE experts on the implementation of the values and standards outlined in the Code for 2016 as the most recent reviewing period”, added Ambassador Berk.

)OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation Coordinator for the Code of Conduct LtCdr Vučić Bošković said that “RACVIAC is widely recognized as an organization that contributes to the security and stability of SEE and this peer review Conference has been seen as an additional confidence security building measure which compensates for the lack of analysis of the (Code of Conduct) questionnaires, due to financial and human resources limitations in most participating States, to asses voluminous replies independently, and due to limitations of the CPC that in accordance with its mandate it can only provide statistical data excluding any assessments.”

Mr Christian Wägli, on behalf of the OSCE Secretariat, Conflict Prevention Centre, underlined that “Code of Conduct remains an unparalleled norm-setting instrument for democratic control of the Armed forces in the OSCE area and beyond” and that this is an excellent opportunity to discuss an information exchange and to hear how it is being compiled in the SEE region.

)H.E. Andreas Wiedenhoff, Austrian Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia said that “Today, we live in a completely different security environment compared back to 2000. This is true globally, but also in the RACVIAC region itself. Our world has grown more complex, difficult and insecure. Challenges are largely transnational. Thus, the responses can generally not only be national. Strong regional co-operation is the way forward. This makes the work of RACVIAC all the more important. RACVIAC has, in its work, succeeded to continuously adapt to new challenges and to represent this regional spirit on a daily basis” pointed out Ambassador Wiedenhoff.

The Seminar has gathered more than 30 participants from the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Kosovo**, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, and Republic of Serbia, as well as several experts from OSCE and DCAF.

)“The 2017 Peer Review Seminar on the OSCE Code of Conduct in South-Eastern Europe (SEE)” is a part of a series of similar events which became a RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation midterm project co-organized with and supported by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre. The event series was initiated in 2012 with a Seminar that had the main purpose to raise awareness about commitments and to discuss experiences and challenges regarding practical implementation and then continued with the Seminar for parliamentarians in 2013, a similar Workshop in 2014 and a Conference in 2016 that supported the implementation of the CoC values and standards in the SEE region and beyond, thereby expanding knowledge about its main objectives.

* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. (In accordance with Arrangements regarding regional representation and cooperation.)

14 February 2017

Financial Agreement for 2017 Signed with Federal Republic of Germany

)On 14 February 2017, H.E. Thomas E. Schultze, the German Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, and H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, signed the Financial Agreement between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and the Federal Republic of Germany for the year 2017.

With this Agreement, the Federal Republic of Germany allocated funds which will be used to support RACVIAC activities, covering the costs of seminars, courses and workshops, especially within the RACVIAC "Cooperative Security Environment (CSE), with focus on Arms Control" Pillar.

)RACVIAC’s CSE Pillar, aiming at contributing to enhancing confidence and cooperation among security forces in the region, focuses primarily on the training and education of arms control experts in order to lay the groundwork for implementing arms control agreements and treaties such as the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control (Dayton Article IV) and Convention on Cluster Munitions as well as Physical Security and Stockpile Management Seminar and Arms Control Symposium. Additionally, this year Gender Training of the Trainers Course will be supported by Germany in order to enhance implementation of gender perspective in the security sector in SEE.

Federal Republic of Germany, an Associate Member of RACVIAC, has been a constant, invaluable supporter of the organization since its inception not only financially but also in terms of expertise.

09 February 2017

Ambassador of Romania Visits RACVIAC

)On Thursday, 09 February 2017, H.E. Mr. Constantin-Mihail Grigorie, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by Mr. Florian Antohi, Minister Counsellor, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić and RACVIAC senior staff members.

)After a presentation on RACVIAC, Ambassador Berk provided an explanation related to the development of RACVIAC Programme of activities, activities planned for 2017 and plans for the future.

Expressing the readiness to remain a reliable Member and supporter of the Centre, Ambassador Grigoriu said that Romania, as an initiator of the Energy Security Project, which was launched in 2015, will continue to contribute to the Centre in the field of energy security, in order to share experiences at the regional level and facilitate a common understanding of the concept of energy security in SEE.

Ambassador Grigoriu showed interest in RACVIAC activities particularly related to Cyber Security and Border Management and expressed his willingness to strengthen cooperation between RACVIAC and Romania.

03 February 2017

Albanian Ambassador and Defence Attaché Visit RACVIAC

)On Friday 03 February 2017, H.E. Ilir Melo, the Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the Republic of Croatia and Albanian Defence Attaché Colonel Leonard Coku visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

The guests met with RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk and Deputy Director, Brigadier General Gordana Garašić. Ambassador Berk informed the guests about RACVIAC ongoing work and future plans, touching upon the long-term partnership the RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation has had with the Republic of Albania.

Taking into account RACVIAC mission and its role in the region, H.E. Ilir Melo availed himself of this opportunity to reassure RACVIAC of Republic of Albania’s partnership and continued support. He showed interest in RACVIAC current activities and plans for the forthcoming period adding that the Republic of Albania, as a RACVIAC Member, will indeed continue to support RACVIAC in the times to come thus fulfilling the mutual goal of enhancing security and cooperation in the SEE region.

01 February 2017

Fourteenth Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop Begins in RACVIAC

)Workshops focusing on the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) started in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 01 February. This Workshop is a continuation of fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which kicked off in 2004, and promotes the implementation of the CWC in South-Eastern Europe.

Opening the event RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk noted that “the CWC Workshop represents one of the most important annual activities of our Organization, and this year we are delighted to host this Workshop for the fourteenth time in a row.” Ambassador Berk, furthermore, stressed that “the purpose of this Workshop is to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and to provide a broad overview of the CWC implementation procedures with specific focus on the ways in which different agencies may come together and work effectively in a chemical emergency setting. This year, therefore, the main focus will be on the inter-agency coordination in chemical response”.

On behalf of the OPCW Mr Guy Valente, Project Officer, Assistance and Protection Branch of the OPCW, expressed his highest appreciation to RACVIAC for hosting of this Workshop. “Events such as these are necessary in order to sensitize the Members as regards their rights and obligations under the CWC, and are also crucial for sharing of ideas and strengthening of bilateral relationships in the region”, pointed out Mr Valente.

The Workshop serves as a forum for enhancing regional capacity building in the fight against chemical weapons. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to discuss relevant issues related to the CWC and to provide a broad overview of the CWC implementation procedures with specific focus on different aspects, and measures, in implementing the Convention. OPCW seeks to gain a clear understanding of the measures that are currently in place in the different countries in the region and of the mechanisms deployed by them.

Based on the feedback received from last year’s CWC Seminar attendees certain presentations, namely those by OPCW experts Mr Gay Valente and Mr Carol Peterfi, will provide an overview of the equipment used by the Inspectorate, while particular attention will be given to the newest tools in use as well as a review of two hypothetical chemical emergencies in the context of the attendees’ home countries.

30 January 2017

Working Visit in Vienna

)From January 24 to 26 2017 RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation organized a working visit in Vienna, AT.

RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk was invited by the current Romanian Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), to be a keynote speaker at the 842nd Meeting of the FSC. Ambassador Haydar Berk presented RACVIAC and its activities in 2017 and spoke about the challenges and expectations concerning South East European Security.

)Other keynote speakers on the same topic were Ms. Zdravka Busic, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Republic of Croatia and Ambassador Simona Miculescu, Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations Office in Belgrade. Among the representatives who took the floor, Mrs. Pavlina Rehor, Counsellor at the EU Delegation to the OSCE, in her Statement on behalf of the EU highlighted RACVIAC’s important role in South East Europe by fostering security, dialogue and cooperation, and also appreciated the close cooperation between the OSCE and RACVIAC in promoting and implementing the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

The delegation, consisting of Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director BG Gordana Garasic, and PLO Col Ägidius Daniel Muhr, took the opportunity to meet with BG Reihard Trischak, MoD AT, Mrs Rasa Ostrauskaite, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats, and Mr Juan Carlos Lentijo, Deputy Director General at the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and exchanged views on the future cooperation in activities organized by RACVIAC.

Click here to download the Statement of H.E. Haydar Berk, RACVIAC Director, at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation N°842, Vienna, 25 January 2017.

Click here to download the EU Statement on South East European Security_ OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation N°842 Vienna, 25 January 2017.

23 January 2017

Workshop on development of national C-WMD strategies begins in RACVIAC

)A sixth workshop of the national working groups on the development of counter weapons of mass destruction implementation plans and strategies, titled „ C-WMD National Strategies – Legal Framework, Implementation Plans, and Strategic Linkages“ began in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation today.

The activity is organized within the framework of the C-WMD Network as a result of continued cooperation between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Republic of Croatia.

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In his opening address RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Haydar Berk, said that “our first C-WMD Network workshop this year will aim to revise the main challenges in the development of national strategies and to point out the strategic linkages between the C-WMD Strategy and national strategic documents as well as international obligations”. He stressed that “a well–written national Strategy should have a corresponding legal framework behind it in order to have a smooth implementation process”. He added that RACVIAC “is happy to see so many people from different countries and national authorities standing ready to work together and bring to the table their specific knowledge that will assure a well–working national strategy and, in the end, a more secure region.”

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Welcoming the participants on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Amir Muharemi, Assistant Minister for Global Affairs, said that “a little bit more than three years ago, the countries of South-Eastern Europe unanimously concluded that the best way to strengthen our security is by enhancing national measures against proliferation as well as strengthening cooperation at the regional level.”

He pointed out that although none of the SEE countries possess weapons of mass destruction, it is important to underline the significance of good quality inter-agency cooperation. “Trafficking of WMD-related material flourishes in regions where legislation is insufficient, taking advantage of the gaps and lack of coordination between the legislative and the executive aspects of the states' authorities. The lack of effective counter-WMD national strategies and response plans, lack of coordination and preparedness, both at the national and the regional level, can have dramatic consequences for us all”, emphasized Mr Muharemi.

)This three-day event will focus on further support for the development and refinement of C-WMD National Strategies, especially the peer review progress made in the development of national strategies to counter the proliferation of WMDs, as well as revision of the main legal challenges and establishment of the strategic linkage between a C-WMD Strategy and other relevant national strategies. In addition, participants will also discuss implementation and action plans.

)The workshop has gathered more than 50 participants, namely, national drafting team/working group experts from the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Kosovo**.

19 January 2017

Meeting of MAG Points of Contact held in RACVIAC

)A Meeting of Point of Contacts of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation Multinational Advisory Group was held in RACVIAC on 19 January 2017, with the aim of discussing details of RACVIAC 2017 Programme.

At the opening of the Meeting RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk welcomed the representatives from member countries, associate members and partnering organizations saying that the Centre greatly appreciates their outstanding support and cooperation.

He pointed out that RACVIAC’s main goal in the forthcoming period is to increase the quality and visibility of activities in terms of upgrading the level of participants and ensuring a more active engagement of the Members and Associate Members.

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Following the introductory address by RACVIAC Director, RACVIAC Programme Managers Col Erhan Kiliҫaslan (Cooperative Security Environment), Mrs. Ana Ežova Kržaloska (International and Regional Cooperation) and Mr. Ivan Hostnik (Security Sector Reform) presented the Programme for 2017 within their respective Pillars and projection for 2018. Mrs. Ivana Barbara Blažević presented the developments in the C-WMD project as well as its roadmap for the future.

In a continuation meeting was focused on a discussion regarding specific aspects of member countries’ and contributing partners’ participation related to the academic and financial support to activities. This opportunity was used to share information on the current stage of ongoing preparation for jointly organized and hosted activities.

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Later on Major Jasminka Šoić, Chief of Administration and Finance Cell, provided information regarding the realization of the budget for 2016 and projections for the budget 2017.

Closing the event Ambassador Berk thanked the representatives for all the recommendations and suggestions received mentioning that RACVIAC counts on their active participation and cooperation in the future too.

17 January 2017

Representative of IAEA and RACVIAC discuss future cooperation

)On 17 January 2017 Mr Thierry Pelletier, Senior Nuclear Security Officer, Division of Nuclear Security, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), payed a visit to RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in order to discuss future cooperation between the two Organizations.

Mr Pelletier was welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić, and RACVIAC staff members.

After a short introduction Mr Pelletier was given a briefing on RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in which emphasis was put on the Programme of activities that are planned to be conducted by RACVIAC three Pillars in 2017.

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Mr Pelletier then presented RACVIAC staff with an outline of IAEA’s current projects and activities.

During the meeting discussion focused on exchange of information on possible future cooperation and areas of common interest especially in the field of C-WMD Network and activities related to the area of nuclear security in general.It was agreed that synergy and coordination between the two Organizations will enhance the further development of nuclear security architecture and strengthen the regulatory level and harmonization process in SEE region.

This presents an additional step forward in extending the scope of the C-WMD Network, which is a project launched in RACVIAC in 2015 with the aim of facilitating the development of national strategies to counter the weapons of mass destruction.

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

* Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. (In accordance with Arrangements regarding regional representation and cooperation.)