News Archive 2009

17 DEC 2009

Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector - New Security Challenges in SEE

From 14th to 16th December RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation was the venue of the conference titled „Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector - New Security Challenges in SEE“. This conference gathered participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia, who were respected representatives of national parliaments, ministries of defence, armed forces, military intelligence agencies, universities, and international organisations such as DCAF (Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces) and SEESAC (South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons).

A broad spectrum of participants provided the opportunity to approach different aspects of a very demanding topic of parliamentary oversight of the security sector – the roles of parliament, media and the civil sector as well as their mutual cooperation. Various types of current security treats were also discussed, especially those relating to South East Europe.

All participants agreed on the main principles, among others on the fact that parliamentary oversight of the security sector is not just a political tool in fostering the process of democratisation, but also a responsible body in such a process. In addition to that, participants confirmed that regional cooperation and mutual trust is conditio sine qua non for the future of South East Europe region.

16 DEC 2009

Deputy Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina visited RACVIAC

On 15th December 2009 Mr Živko Marjanac, Deputy Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina visited RACVIAC. Mr Živko Marjanac was accompanied by Colonel Dragoš Milanković, B&H Defence Attaché to Croatia, and by Mr Duško Radić, Advisor to Deputy Minister of Defence. The occasion for the visit to RACVIAC was the desire expressed by Mr Živko Marjanac to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC and its staff and to express strong support to efforts by RACVIAC in the forthcoming period.

Alongside the presentation of the current situation, organisational structure, and past achievements of RACVIAC, the guests and their hosts engaged in a detailed discussion on RACVIAC’s Programme of Activities for 2010. In addition to that, guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to take part in the opening of one of RACVIAC’s flagship events this year, the Conference on Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector - “New Security Challenges in SEE”. Visit to RACVIAC was concluded by Mr Marjanac’s meeting with the B&H seconded officers, members of RACVIAC staff.

14 DEC 2009

Regional Security through Regional Ownership: A New Era of Cooperation?

The end of this year was marked by one of the most important RACVIAC's activities this year. Under the auspices of South Eastern Europe Cooperative Process, chaired by Turkey in 2009, a thematic conference „Regional Security through Regional Ownership: A New Era of Cooperation?“ was held in Ankara from 8th to 10th December. The main topic of this conference was regional ownership as an essential tool in ensuring sustainability of the existing regional cooperation networks. The conference gathered representatives of Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.

One of the main goals of the Conference was to contribute to the enhancement of synergy in the field of regional security cooperation in Southeast European (SEE) countries by providing common platform both for the fruitful exchange of individual views and best practices, and for discussions on existing challenges, priorities and future possibilities. Conference was jointly opened by Ambasassor Selim Yenel, from Turkish MFA, and by Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, Director of RACVIAC. One of the most distinguished speakers during the conference was former Turkish President H.E. Suleyman Demirel, who spoke about the importance of regional cooperation.

11 DEC 2009

SEPCA 2nd Regional Communications Liaison Officers (CLOs) Meeting

SEPCA 2nd Regional Communications Liaison Officers (CLOs) Meeting started in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 10th December. This meeting is a continuation of mutual cooperation that started last year. The meeting was opened with the welcome address by RACVIAC Programme Manager Colonel Mihajlo Mladenović, followed by keynote speeches delivered by Mr. Stanislav Bezovsky, Executive Secretary at SEPCA Executive Secretariat, and Mr. Reto Brunhart, Senior Advisor and Projects Co-ordinator at SEPCA Executive Secretariat.

The aim of this year’s meeting is to discuss current efforts towards building public security in South Eastern Europe, through co-operative police services, assisted by citizens and partner organizations. In that regard the participants exchanged new information, ideas and experiences. During the meeting strong emphasis was put on regional cooperation and CLOs Network training and planning.

03 DEC 2009

NATO Integration: Next Enlargement and its Implication in South East Europe

NATO Integration: Next Enlargement and its Implications in South East Europe is the title of a seminar held in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 2nd December 2009. This event gathered high ranking officials from NATO HQ in Brussels, Naples, and Sarajevo, as well as representatives of George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and representatives from ministries of defence and ministries of foreign affairs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Serbia.

Seminar Programme consisted of two panels, titled “Role of NATO and Priorities for SEE” and “SEE towards Euro-Atlantic Integration”. The keynote speaker and moderator of first panel was Colonel Nicolas Kotchine (Military Cooperation Division, NATO Joint Force Command Naples), who spoke about enlargement policy of NATO towards SEE, and about current and future role of NATO in the SEE region. He emphasized NATO’s main goal concerning SEE region and that is full Euro-Atlantic integration. Colonel Nicolas Kotchine also made an overview of current NATO missions in this region.

Mr Sabri Ergen (Action Officer, Defence Policy and Planning Division, Defence Policy and Partnership Section, NATO HQ Brussels) opened and moderated the second panel of the seminar, during which participants discussed political, military and security aspects of NATO integration and their implications to SEE. The seminar was closed with a lecture by Dr Dragan Lozančić, Professor at College of International and Security Studies (George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies), who spoke about future short-term prospects of NATO integration and the challenges the SEE countries face on the road to NATO.

23 Nov 2009

Commander of German Verification Center visited RACVIAC

On 30th November Brigadier General Winfried Mertens, Commander of German Verification Center, came to RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation as part of his visit to Croatian Verification Center. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Schlitt, his associate from the German Verification Center, accompanied him during the visit. The guests from Germany were welcomed by Director Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec and RACVIAC senior staff.

The reason for this visit was the desire expressed by Brigadier General Winfried Mertens to make personal acquaintance with the new RACVIAC Director and to express strong support to efforts by RACVIAC in the forthcoming period. Alongside the presentation of current situation at RACVIAC, the guests and their hosts engaged in a detailed discussion on the Programme of Activities for 2010, as well as on the prospects for mutual cooperation.

23 Nov 2009

Human Resources Management Workshop - New Aspects in the Transition of Professional Armed Forces

Human Resources Management Workshop: New Aspects in the Transition of Professional Armed Forces started in RACVIAC on 23rd November. This is the third year running that the Netherlands Defence College and RACVIAC jointly co-organize such a workshop. This year’s workshop started with the welcome address by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, and by introductory speech delivered by LtCol Frederic Jan Besselink, the Netherlands Defence Attaché at the Netherlands Embassy to Croatia.

The primary goal of the HRM workshop is to give the representatives of the invited countries an insight into the personnel and organizational aspects of the transition from the conscript-oriented to expeditionary, professional Armed Forces. The exchange of information and opinions between the participants is a very valuable aspect in this matter, because it facilitates the creation of a professional, international network in this field. The workshop, finishing on 27th November, will also discuss new aspects in the professional development of soldiers during their career, as well as their transition to the civil sector.

23 Nov 2009

Slovenian Defence Attaché Visited RACVIAC

On 23rd November 2009 Brig Gen Bojan Šuligoj, the Slovenian Defence Attaché at the Slovenian Embassy to Croatia, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. It was his farewell visit to RACVIAC, as his tour of duty in Croatia has finished and he is returning to the Republic of Slovenia. He was accompanied by his successor – Brig Gen Alojz Završnik. Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, and Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec, welcomed Brig Gen Bojan Šuligoj and thanked him for his contribution. They also expressed hopes of good cooperation with Brig Gen Alojz Završnik.

After the welcome reception in Director's Office, Slovenian guests had a meeting with other senior staff members at RACVIAC, during which Public Affairs Office held a brief presentation about RACVIAC’s mission, programme of activities, as well as ongoing transformation of the Centre’s structure and legal status. Newly appointed Slovenian Defence Attaché Brig Gen Alojz Završnik proudly stated that he is very well acquainted with RACVIAC’s work, largely thanks to fact that he comes from Slovenian Verification Centre, and that for many years he has attended MAG meetings as Slovenian representative. At the end of his inaugural visit, Brig Gen Alojz Završnik expressed his believe in the continuation of good relations between Slovenia and RACVIAC.

16 Nov 2009

“STARLINK” Introductory Training Course on Security System Reform

“STARLINK” Introductory Training Course on Security System Reform was opened on 16th November with the keynote speech delivered by Ms Willemijn VAN HAAFTEN, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of Croatia. It is the first time RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation hosts such a training course, organized in cooperation with the Centre for European Security Studies from the Groningen Netherlands. The Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of the Netherlands made significant contribution to this training course by sponsoring it, recognizing the importance and expedience of this topic for South East Europe.

Following the introductory part, “STARLINK” Introductory Training Course continued with the first lectures by Mr Sami FALTAS, Executive Director at the Centre for European Security Studies, and Mr Merijn HARTOG, Programme Manager at the same Centre. This training course, which lasts until 20th November, gathers participants from Albania, Croatia, Greece, Moldova, Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and NATO HQ in Sarajevo, representing their national authorities such as ministries of foreign affairs, defence and interior.

13 Nov 2009

Pandemic of influenza - Affecting global security

Seminar titled „Pandemic of Influenza - Affecting Global Security“, coorganized with Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative for South Eastern Europe (DPPI SEE), was held at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation from 09-11 November 2009. The Seminar gathered participants from Bosnia and Herezegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, and Turkey. They represented national ministries, agencies and institutions dealing with the pandemic of influenza. The purpose of the seminar was to increase understanding of the danger posed by influenza and the actions needed to be taken to control the new pandemic.

It started with the opening speech given by Dr Levant Akin from Turkish Hacettepe Universitesi, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health Institute, followed by the speech by Dr Serhat Unal, Dean of the Turkish Hacettepe Universitesi Faculty of Medicine. Participants were introduced with different aspects of the currently most interesting influenza types (avian, seasonal and swine): clinical pictures and symptoms; preventive measures; vactination; preparation for activities in case of a pandemic, as well as the phases of a pandemic. In the second part of the seminar national representatives presented their pandemic influenza action plans and goals of their national strategies.

26 OCT 2009

The recent De-mining Processes – National and Regional Approach, new Challenges

The seminar titled „The recent De-mining Processes – National and Regional Approach, new Challenges”, coorganized with Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC), was held at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation from 19 – 22 October 2009. The seminar gathered participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. They represented national armed forces and mine action centres from SEE as well as private companies dealing with demining process.

The purpose of the seminar was to present recent Information technology solutions for improvement of mine action activities and to encourage discussion on how to further develop IT in mine action in order to solve the mine problem. The seminar started with the opening spech by Juan Carlos Ruan, from Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), followed by the speech by Mr Davor Jelenić, Head of IT Section of the Croatian Mine Action Centre.

The participants were introduced with the recent Information technology used by the Croatian Mine Centre in demining process. It is the latest Geofoto Ltd product: 3D display of suspected mine areas. This technological solution enables better preparation of general surveys and demining projects as well as a more complex analysis of the situation in the field and of the mine action results. It is applicable in all suspected hazardous areas due to the fact that there are digital ortophotos S 1: 2 000 (DOP2) available for those areas. As practical part of the seminar, the participants had the opportunity to visit Geofoto Ltd, the regional leader in design and creation of geo-information systems and solutions, and digital cartography.

15 OCT 2009

RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony

On 15th October the Military Barracks “Vitez Damir Martić” in Rakitje was the venue of a very important event in RACVIAC’s history. The occasion was RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony. Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić handed over his duty to new RACVIAC Director Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski. Ambassador Hadžimusić came to this position in October 2007 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a career diplomat. He has held the leading position in RACVIAC for the past two years, during which the Centre entered into a challenging process of transformation, both of its internal organisational structure and its scope of activities – remodelling RACVIAC into the Centre for Security Cooperation.

The new Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* is also a career diplomat. He has been elected for the period of two years, during which he will carry the burden of finishing RACVIAC’s transformation into the premier regional platform for dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South East Europe. RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony was witnessed by the representatives of Government of Republic of Croatia, Croatian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Croatian Army HQ, deputy mayors of Samobor and Sveta Nedjelja, as well as representatives of Ministry of Defence of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Ministry of Defence of Republic of Montenegro which included the new MAG Chairperson Mr Draško Jovanović, and many diplomatic missions in the Republic of Croatia.

Complete Address by Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić can be found on this link, 45 KB PDF

14 OCT 2009

ESDP: South Eastern Europe in the Evolution of European Security Structure

The seminar ESDP: South Eastern Europe in the Evolution of European Security Structure was opened on 13 October by keynote speech delivered by Mr Hans-Bernhard Weisserth, Head of ESDP Task Force at the Policy Unit of Council of the European Union and Acting Head of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) Secretariat. The seminar gathered participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Serbia. They represented national parliaments, ministries of defence and of foreign affairs, Army HQ's, the Faculty of Political Sciences at Zagreb University as well as independent defence analysts. Representatives of EU and NATO also took part in this seminar, in the role of lecturers.

The purposes of this ESDP seminar were to provide the historical overview of European Security and Defence Policy development, to present growing organisational structure of ESDP and its achievements in civil-military operations in Europe, Asia and Africa, and finally to discuss the impact of Lisbon Treaty on ESDP as well as the special cooperation between ESDP and NATO. A significant part of seminar was dedicated to the relationship between ESDP and South East Europe, focusing on its influence on level of regional security and cooperation, development of European defence potential and prevention and management in crisis situations.

07 OCT 2009

22nd MAG & Budgetary Meeting

The 22nd MAG & Budgetary Meeting was held on 5th and 6th October 2009 at the facilities of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in Rakitje. It was chaired by Mr Pjer Šimunović, State Secretary at Croatian MoD. The first day was reserved for the budgetary meeting, where the discussion focused on budget for 2010. The second day of the meeting started with Director’s Interim Report for first eight months of 2009. It included achievements and results in 2009, RACVIAC’s annual programme for 2010, as well as organizational and financial challenges and lessons learned.

Director’s report was followed by Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec’s presentation of the current personnel situation, in which he put special focus on the seconded personnel since some postings are to become vacant soon. There was also discussion on the new legal status, mainly on the requirements for the process of its acceptance and ratification. As usual, the Autumn MAG session was also the occasion for the election of the new MAG Chairperson. In the next one-year period Mr Draško Jovanović, Deputy Minister in Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Montenegro, will hold that position. MAG representatives also confirmed Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, career diplomat from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, as the new RACVIAC Director. He will take over from 15th October 2009.

Complete overview of the Chairman's Conclusions can be found on this link, 45 KB PDF

25 SEP 2009

MoD of Bosnia and Herzegovina visited RACVIAC

On Friday 25th September the delegation of the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by Ms Marina Pendeš, Deputy Minister of Defence, arrived to RACVIAC as part of their visit to the Croatian Ministry of Defence. The delegation also included Mr Zoran Šajinović, Assistant Minister for International Defence Cooperation, Colonel Tomo Kolenda, Head of Department for Personnel, Mr Anto Ivanković, Head of Office of the Deputy Minister, and Colonel Dragoš Milanković, Defence Attaché of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Republic of Croatia.

The distinguished guest were wellcomed by the Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić and Deputy Director Col Željko Cepanec. LtCol Ewald Keller, Planning & Liaison Officer for Western Europe and International Organisations, presented the guests with information on the history, mission and accomplishments of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The delegation expressed great interest in RACVIC's work and was particularly impressed with RACVIC's cooperation with other organisations.

24 SEP 2009

Regional Seminar on Armed Violence Prevention

From 23rd to 24th September 2009 RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation held the Regional Seminar on Armed Violence Prevention: Review of National Projects and Identification of Areas for Assistance. It was co-organized with SEESAC (South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons), marking the continuation of the fruitful cooperation established between these two organizations in promoting stability, transparency and trust in the SEE region.

The purpose of the seminar was to bring together respective representatives from relevant ministries, regional and international organizations and NGOs, with a view to discussing national strategies and programmes for armed violence prevention, focusing on community security. It comprised a combination of plenary sessions, thematic working groups, individual presentations and open discussions (exchange of knowledge, experience and lessons learned). It gathered 30 participants from different countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia) and organizations (UN, RCC and NGOs).

15 SEP 2009

Defence Management and Integrity Building Conference

As a continuation of a successful cooperation which started in December last year, RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and NATO DSED/PASP (Defence and Security Economics Directorate/Political Affairs and Security Policy Division) co-organized a international expert Conference on “Better Management of Defence Resources Including Integrity Building in the Armed Forces”. The conference was held at RACVIAC facilities in Rakitje from 14 – 16 September 2009. It was organized as an expert forum with the goal to exchange different opinions and experiences in the field of defence resources management, especially from the perspective of NATO members and partner countries from Europe and North America.

The participants were introduced with different national systems of defence resources management, focusing on their specifics. These systems, alike all other parts of the security sector, are facing serious challenges in the context of the global financial crisis. The challenges urge for the improvement of the mechanisms of budgeting and control over expenditures and procurement processes, while constant budget cuts require continuous development and innovations in their management.The Conference was jointly opened by Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić, and by head of NATO DSED/PASP Mr. Michael Gaul. Judging by the unanimous appraisal from the participants, this activity was rightfully inaugurated as the flagship event to be hosted by RACVIAC in 2009. It gathered more than 30 participants representing national ministries of defence and finance, as well as representatives from NATO DSED/PASP, Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, SAD), and Transparency International.

14 SEP 2009

Minister of Defence of Belgium visited RACVIAC

The delegation of the Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Belgium, led by the Defense Minister Mr. Pieter De Crem, visited RACVIAC as part of their official visit to the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia. The Belgian delegation was accompanied by H.E. Mr. Marc De Schoutheete De Tervarent, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Republic of Croatia, and Mr. Pjer Šimunović, MAG Chairperson and State Secretary at Croatian Ministry of Defense.

Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić and Deputy Director Col Željko Cepanec welcomed the distinguished guests, while LtCol Ewald Keller, Planning & Liaison Officer for Western Europe and International Organisations, provided the guests with a presentation on the history, mission and accomplishments of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The Belgian delegation expressed particular interest in RACVIAC’s objectives and its cooperation with other similar organizations.

11 SEP 2009

New Russian Defence Attache in Croatia visited RACVIAC

On 9th September 2009 Colonel Vladimir Černišov, the Defence Attache at the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Croatia, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. It was his inaugural visit to our Centre, following his recent arrival to Croatia. He was accompanied by his assistant - Lieutenant Colonel Aleksej Ivlev. Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić and Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec welcomed Colonel Vladimir Černišov and thanked him for the interest he showed in RACVIAC's work as well for the support he offered to our Centre's activities.

10 SEP 2009

Study trip to the Federal republic of Germany – a look into the future

In the period of 2 to 4 September 2009, RACVIAC- Centre for Security Cooperation and the Vocational Advancement Service of the Ministry of Defence of Federal Republic of Germany co-organized the educational visit of Working Group on Transition of Military Personnel to the Service's headquarters in Bonn, as well as to the regional Vocational Advancement Service based in Koblenz.

The aim of this very successful study trip was to provide the permanent members of the WG with a sort of an insight into the future – into the basic concepts of one of the most advanced transition systems, which is purposefully designed and successfully integrated into the existing system of military personnel management. All the support mechanisms actually represent a welfare programme designed for acquiring and maintaining quality staff. Its starting point is the fact that in the environment of developed economy, the military organization must have sufficient resources in order to be competitive on the labour market. The career transition support mechanisms actually represent an added value, which often serves as the decisive point in choosing future career among young people who are just starting their working life.

28 AUG 2009

OSCE Border Management Staff College visited RACVIAC

On Friday 28th August RACVIAC hosted the delegation of OSCE Border Management Staff College, located in Dushanbe/Tajikistan, consisting of Mr. Wolfgang MAIERHOFER, Director/Acting Principal of OSCE Border Management Staff College, and Mr. Sergey BATYUK, Senior Lecturer at OSCE Border Management Staff College. RACVIAC Director Ambassador Nedžad S. Hadžimusić, and Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec welcomed the delegation and introduced them with the activities of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The delegation was also given a tour of RACVIAC's facilities. At the end of the visit the representatives of both organizations exchanged presents and agreed to leave the door open for future cooperation.

14 JULY 2009

Delegations from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Republic of Croatia visited RACVIAC

On 14th July 2009 the representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Croatian Ministry of Defence (MoD) visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, representative of FYROM* MFA, Mr Davor Čutić, Head of International Defence Cooperation Department at Defence Policy Directorate of Croatian MoD, and Colonel Željko Cepanec, from Croatian MoD, met with RACVIAC's Program Managers and Subject Matter Experts, at RACVIAC HQ in Vitez Damir Martić barracks in Rakitje.

RACVIAC Program Manager Colonel Omer Faruk Basturk welcomed the distinguished guests, while RACVIAC Public Affairs Office provided them with a presentation on RACVIAC’s programme, organization and activities. The national representatives and RACVIAC staff also discussed RACVIAC’s achievements, transformation process, international cooperation and future activities. After that they visited RACVIAC facilities and seminar rooms, and met with other members of staff.

01 JULY 2009

Open Skies Treaty - Aerial Observation Orientation Coourse

Open Skies Treaty - Aerial Observation Orientation Course started on 29th June at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The purpose of the Course is to train personnel from SEE countries in planning, organizing and executing an Aerial Observation Mission based on the provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies, and in that way increase the administrative capacity in the security cooperation field.

The Course is co-organized with the Republic of Serbia, which provides its support at airbase Batajnica, and with the Republic of Bulgaria which provides its airplane An-30 for training observation flight. The event is sponsored by the Republic of France. The course is mainly designed for civilians and officers dealing with Arms Control in the SEE region. It gathers 5 lecturers from Germany, Hungary and Croatia, and 7 participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Serbia and Slovenia. The course lasts for two weeks, comprising the theoretical part in Croatia and the practical part in Serbia.

01 JULY 2009

WG2 Workshop on Military Base Conversion

The 10th Working Group 2 Workshop on Military Base Conversion (MBC) was conducted in Podgorica, Montenegro, during the period of 23rd – 26th June 2009. The Workshop’s agenda included presentations and the field study trips to former military objects (former military bases “Šipćanik”, “Tološi” and “Morača“) organized by the host nation, questions and answers sessions, the countries’ updates on the domestic MBC processes and the elaboration of Workshop’s conclusions. The workshop gathered 32 participants from 7 countries and 6 international and regional organizations.

24 JUN 2009

WG1 Workshop on Transition of Military Personnel

The 10th Workshop of Working Group 1 on career transition support to separated military personnel was held in the period from 15th to 17th June 2009 in a pleasant environment of the Hotel Metropol, at the Ohrid lakeside. The event was co-organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Macedonian Ministry of Defence, as the result of the WG1's in-country approach, which enables direct and onsite introduction with the subject matter best practices in the host country, and includes a very important element of the immediate cultural exchange.

The workshop was successfully conducted as a combination of individual presentations, subject matter lectures, group work and open discussions. During two working days, 32 participants from 12 countries, together with NATO and regional OSCE representatives, had a chance to elaborate several important aspects of military personnel transition process that had not been analysed in detail before - primarily job fairs as the main workshop topic, and the critical element of employment support. Other topics included career transition of officers as a specific military personnel category, psychological preparedness of the transition support beneficiaries, and the first-hand experiences in the co-operation between donor countries and donation consumers. In addition to that, the 10th WG1 Workshop initiated important debate on the future Working Group activity scope and operational modalities within the context of the latest RACVIAC's organizational and programme changes.

09 JUN 2009

US Air Force Attache Major Doug Brock visited RACVIAC

On 9th June 2009 Major Doug Brock, the US Air Force Attache at the US Embassy to Croatia, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. It was his farewell visit to RACVIAC, as his tour of duty in Croatia has finished and he is returning to the United States of America. He was accompanied by his successor – Lieutenant Colonel Sean Cantrell. Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić welcomed Major Brook and thanked him for his contribution. He also expressed hope of good cooperation with Lieutenant Colonel Cantrell.

19 May 2009

MoU signed between RACVIAC and NATO School Oberammergau

On 19th May 2009 Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, and Colonel James J. Tabak, Commandant of NATO School Oberammergau, signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Both organisations strive to assist the region of South East Europe in conducting reforms and capacity building within security sector.

Therefore, the MoU was a logical step which strengthens their cooperation by offering more systematic and coordinated approach to future joint undertaking. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at RACVIAC HQ in „Vitez Damir Martić“ military barracks in Rakitje, Croatia, in presence of RACVIAC staff.

19-20 May 2009

Conference on Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Security Sector

The conference “Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Security Sector”, co-organised by RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and RAI – Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, was started on 19th May at RACVIAC Centre in Rakitje. In many countries corruption has become a part of political-administrative everyday life. Bribery, embezzlement or other kinds of corruption have caused damage to economy, politics and society and this has prompted many countries to put greater emphasis on reducing corruption. Whether in politics, administration or economy, one thing is certain: corruption spreads like cancer with very similar effects. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. Bearing all this in mind, RACVIAC and RAI recognized that there is a need to foster dialogue and cooperation on these matters in the region of Southeast Europe, and they decided to engage in this pertinent issue by providing regional countries with an opportunity to exchange valuable information on challenges they all face in that regard.

The Conference was opened jointly by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, RAI Chairperson Ms Vesna Ratković, and State Secretary of Ministry of Justice of Croatia Ms Marina Dujmović-Vuković. There are 60 participants (speakers and audience) at this Conference, representing parliamentary security/defence committees, relevant ministries, the judiciary system, and NGOs, from RAI and RACVIAC member countries, as well as relevant international organizations (such as NATO, Transparency International, OLAF, UNODC, World Bank) and also representatives of UK Defense Anti-Corruption team and the University of Nottingham. All of them are people actively involved in fighting corruption in their respective positions and willing to discuss it openly.

05 May 2009

Dayton Article IV - Orientation Course opened in RACVIAC

On 5th May 2009 Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, the Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, opened the new RACVIAC course titled „Dayton Article IV- Orientation Course“. The Course is co-organized by RACVIAC and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The purpose of this Course is to prepare designated individuals to perform duties as inspectors and/or escorts in relation to the Dayton Agreement - Article IV and to establish a common approach to the Agreement in order to ensure mutual confidence and transparency during the performance of the tasks.

The opening lecture of the Course was provided by Dr Heinz Vetschera, an Academic Lecturer in Peace Support Operations Training Centre on Sarajevo (PSOTC). Dr Vetschera held a lecture on historical and conceptual basics of arms control, as well as on activities and organization of OSCE. There are 20 participants from regional countries’ verification agencies and armed forces present at the theoretical part of the Course, which started on 5th May in RACVIAC HQ in Rakitje. They will also participate at the practical part - inspection to be held from 10th to 15th May in Gašinci and Našice military barracks of Croatian Armed Forces.

28 Apr 2009

INSARAG Awareness Training Course started in RACVIAC

Today Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, opened the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) Awareness Training Course. For the next two days 17 students from 9 Southeast European countries will be improving their understanding of the INSARAG Guidelines.

The Course has been prepared in close cooperation with Southeast Europe Security Cooperation Steering Group (SEEGROUP), Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative (DPPI) for Southast Europe, The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

06 Apr 2009

Seminar “SEE at the gates of the EU - Enhancing Integration Processes” held at RACVIAC

On 2nd and 3rd April 2009 a seminar entitled “SEE at the gates of the EU - Enhancing Integration Processes” was held at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The purpose of the seminar was to support the EU integration of SEE countries through facilitating exchange of views and lessons learned.

There were 34 participants from SEECP countries on the seminar and they included representatives of relevant ministries and agencies, NGOs, academia, as well as students from the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb. The Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić and RACVIAC Program Manager for International Cooperation Colonel Omer Faruk Basturk welcomed the participants.

26 Mar 2009

Cooperation between NATO School and RACVIAC is taking shape

Commander Schöne (German Navy), Director of Policy Department, NATO School Oberammergau paid a two-day visit to RACVIAC on 24th - 25th March. The purpose of the visit was to coordinate future cooperation on predominantly arms control issues, as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations is in the making. The signing ceremony will most likely take place at RACVIAC on 18th May, when Colonel Tabak (US Marine Corps), Commandant of NATO School, will be addressing seminar participants at a dinner speech on "Building Integrity in Defense".

Among the identified fields of cooperation, in the first place there is the improvement of the level of expertise of RACVIAC personnel by attending relevant courses in Oberammergau. Quite a few of the 90 different courses NATO School is offering are most suitable to RACVIAC experts on e.g. arms control issues. Secondly, as a start RACVIAC offered to host NATO School Mobile Education and Training Teams (METT) once in a while on any given subject supportive to RACVIAC strategic objectives and mission. Furthermore, RACVIAC staff will be provided with access to NATO School Advanced Distributive Learning (ADL) features. It goes without saying that this promising visit is just a start of a fruitful cooperation seeking for synergy, thus avoiding duplication and competition.

19-20 Mar 2009

21st MAG Meeting and Budgetary Meeting

On 19th and 20th March RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation is the host to the annual meeting of the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG), the steering committee of RACVIAC responsible for running its activities. RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation has entered into the transformation process of internal changes in order to adjust itself to the expanded mission given to this Centre, i. e. supporting the dialogue and cooperation on security issues between the countries of Southeast Europe, as well as with their international partners.

New legal status and new organizational structure of RACVIAC are the first visible forms of this transformation, and in view of that, the 21st MAG Meeting can be considered crucial for the future of RACVIAC. Along with the aforementioned topics, the Meeting also includes discussion on RACVIAC annual budget, plan of activities for 2009 and 2010, current personnel issues and other issues of importance for the functioning of RACVIAC. Majority the RACVIAC member countries have their representatives at the Meeting, and the invitations have been sent to representatives of institutions and organizations such as EU, RCC, OSCE, DCAF, SEESAC, SEDM, UNICRI, CESS, CCMR, GCSP and NATO.

The Chairperson of the Conference is Mr Pjer Šimunović, State Secretary at Croatian MoD and the representative of Croatia, the country currently holding presidency of MAG.

Vjesnik - croatian daily newspaper article

20 Mar 2009

English Language Training Course on Arms Control Terminology Completed

Today, Lt Col Kalman Nemeth, Chief of the Training and Verification Division, closed a two-week English Language Training Course on Arms Control Terminology. All 25 students from 8 Southeast European countries passed the final exam, which consisted of writing an essay on a given topic, followed by a multiple choice test and oral examination in front of a committee of three teachers. The participants received a certificate of completion. More information regarding the course can be found in the External report.

12-13 Mar 2009

5th Meeting of the Working Group on RACVIAC Legal Status Chaired by the Republic of Croatia)

In order to finalize the Draft Agreement before the 21st MAG Meeting, the Working Group on RACVIAC Legal Status hold the 5th meeting of the Working Group on Legal Status, with the discussion on Articles under the following titles: Organizational Structure of RACVIAC, Financial Management and Final Provisions.

On 12th and 13th March 2009 the 5th Meeting was held at RACVIAC, and all representatives present reached a conclusion that the text of the Draft Agreement on RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation has been agreed on at an expert level. Legal experts that participated in the activities of the Working Group tend to follow, as much as possible, the framework and general guidelines set forth in MAG Papers, namely in MAG Decisions on Future Status of RACVIAC from 27th July 2007, RACVIAC Strategy Paper from 4th October 2007 and Multinational Advisory Group (MAG) Terms Of Reference (TORs) from 4th October 2007.

The Working Group at the level of the legal experts agreed on the provisions of the Agreement, and the Chairmanship of the Working Group will submit the current Draft of the Agreement to the MAG including the one remaining open issue, for further consideration and decision.

09 Mar 2009

English Language Course on Arms Control Terminology

Today, Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation opened the English Language Training Course on Arms Control Terminology. For the next two weeks 25 students from 8 Southeast European countries will increase their command of English using Arms Control Terminology as a vehicle.

The challenging course curriculum includes even the weekend as working days. Participants who pass the examination will be provided with a certificate of completion. More information about the English Language Training Course on Arms Control Terminology will follow on Friday 20th March 2009.

06 Mar 2009

Director of RACVIAC hosted representatives of the Swedish Embassy to Croatia

On 5 March 2009, Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić with his senior staff members, hosted representatives of the Swedish Embassy to Croatia, upon their request. Distinguish visitors, Mr. Per BACKMAN, Minister and Head of Economic and Commercial Affairs and Mr. Hrvoje POKUPEC, Commercial Officer in Swedish Embassy in Zagreb were offered a presentation on RACVIAC Mission, programme of activities as well as ongoing transformation of the Centre’s structure and its legal status.

Guests displayed vivid interest for RACVIAC Programme 2009, especially for those activities dealing with integrity building in SEE region, widely recognized as an indispensable prerequisite for healthy business environment. Interlocutors agreed upon that after these preliminary talks, a concrete proposal for possible cooperation will follow shortly from Swedish side in order to be realized before upcoming Swedish EU Presidency in the second semester 2009.

05 Mar 2009

USAF Air War College and Croatian Military Diplomatic School at RACVIAC

Yesterday, the 04th of March 2009, RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in cooperation with the Croatian PSO Center (CAPSOC) hosted 18 senior students from the USAF Air War College, led by Col Al Lowry Commander of the USA Air War College, as well as 26 senior students from the Croatian Military Diplomatic School, led by course director LtCol Jugoslav Jozić. The guests from the United States paid a visit to both Centres in the frame of their current study trip to Southeast Europe, whereas the visit of the students from the Croatian Military Diplomatic School was an integral part of their curriculum.

Both RACVIAC and CAPSOC briefly presented their mission, structure and achievements. Later on, all participants demonstrated a great deal of understanding in their critical questions and comments during a lively question & answer session, as well as a subsequent open discussion. Everyone participating in this visit agreed that short visits of this nature, with little preparation and logistic requests, are extremely useful in promoting the visibility of the RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation as well Croatian PSO Center (CAPSOC).

03 Mar 2009

Director's Visit to Embassy of the Republic of Slovakia in Zagreb

Visit is realized on the initiative by HE Ambassador Roman Supek, in the aftermath of the Director's letter sent to the Embassy on 17th February 2009 regarding possible participation of Slovakia in RACVIAC activities. Director presented to Ambassador and his two associates main activities of the Centre and highlighted ongoing transformation of RACVIAC. He handed over RACVIAC usual gifts as well as the set of general information on RACVIAC, including plan of activities 2008/2009.

Ambassador Roman Supek expressed their interest in RACVIAC activities and announced concrete involvement of Slovakia in due course. Ambassador Roman Supek also expressed his intention to visit the Centre, once he has settled down in Zagreb as a new Ambassador of Slovakia who took over this duty just two month ago. He also promised to convey Director's best wishes to his friend Mr. Miroslav Lajčak, new Slovakian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

20 Feb 2009

Meetings at NATO HQ

On 20 February 2009, Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić Director of RACVIAC visited the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He was accompanied by Mr. Sorin Sterie, Senior Political Advisor from Security, Defence, Justice and Home Affairs in Brussels Liaison Office of Regional Cooperation Council for South East Europe.

During one-day visit Ambassador Hadžimusić had two separate meetings with NATO senior officials – first with Mr. Robert F. Simmons, Deputy Assistant SG for Security Cooperation and Partnership, and then with Guy B. Roberts, Deputy Assistant SG for WMD Policy, Nuclear Policy, Defence Policy and Planning Division. RACVIAC Director was also invited to give a presentation at SEEGROUP meeting on Centre’s new mission, ongoing transformation and Programme of Activities in 2009.

Full report, PDF

17-20 Feb 2009

RACVIAC held another Chemical Weapons Convention Seminar

From 17th to 20th February RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation held Chemical Weapons Convention, coorganized with Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This seminar was a continuation of the fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC and OPCW in promoting regional stability, transparency and trust.

Main seminar objectives were the following: to clarify any uncertainties in the submissions of the Member States to the OPCW obliged by the Convention; to provide an update on issues relating to industrial (Article VI) declarations under the CWC, including a review of Verification Information System (VIS); to execute training in preparation / completion of electronic declarations using the Electronic Declaration tool for National Authorities (EDNA). This year's seminar gathered participants from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine. They were senior and junior military and civilian recommendation makers dealing with CWC issues and responsible for escorting inspections from the Secretariat of OPCW.

11-12 Feb 2009

Visit to NATO School and George C. Marshall Center

From 11th to 12th February group of RACVIAC representatives visited NATO School Oberammergau and George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Germany. It consisted of Colonel Tomislav Vibovec, Colonel Ömer Faruk Baştűrk, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Mergel, Captain Dobrislav Biloš, 1st Lieutenant Igor Skenderović and Mr Ivan Ivnik. The purpose of the trip was to consult with the commandant of NATO School and to take advantage of George C. Marshall Center’s experience and their way of running operations, as well as to consider possible expansion of mutual cooperation.

09 Feb 2009

Hellenic Defence Attaché Visited RACVIAC

On 9th February 2009 RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation was honored by the visit of Colonel Christos Pantzias, Defence Attache of Hellenic Republic in Croatia. Colonel Christos Pantzias was accompanied by Assistant of Defence Attache of Hellenic Republic in Croatia 1stLT Andreas Bourdaniotis.

After the welcome reception in the Office of Director, Ambassador Nedžad Hadžimusić, Mr Pantzias was hosted by Deputy Director and Chief of Staff Colonel Tomislav Vibovec and RACVIAC senior staff members. Later on Press & PR Officer 1stLT Igor Skenderović held a brief presentation about RACVIAC Mission, programme of activities, as well as ongoing transformation of the Centre’s structure and its legal status.

05-06 Feb 2009

4th Meeting of the WG on RACVIAC Legal Status

Following the MAG decisions on the change of the RACVIAC mission and the Strategy Paper, and based on the previous three meetings, the Working Group (WG) on RACVIAC Legal Status convened for the fourth time on the 5th and 6th February 2009 with the purpose to review and refine the legal status of RACVIAC.

The 4th Meeting of the Working Group on RACVIAC Legal Status gathered 14 participants from 7 MAG countries, namely from: Croatia, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania (as observers) and Turkey, representing relevant governmental institutions, organizations and ministries involved, as well as 7 RACVIAC representatives, all ready to share their observations and actively engage in discussions. This 4th Meeting of the WG on RACVIAC Legal status was Co-Chaired by Ms. Mirta Mandic and  Mr. Andrej Dogan. They have continued to work on revision of RACVIAC Legal status, a they have agreed that a tentative date for holding a next meeting of the Working Group on RACVIAC Legal Status is 12-13 March 2009.

04 Feb 2009

4th Meeting of the WG on RACVIAC New Organisation

In RACVIAC Centre on the 4th February 2009 was held 4th Meeting of the WG on RACVIAC New Organisation, led by Chairman Mr. Ömer Burhan Tüzel.  The meeting gathered 13 participants from 8 MAG countries namely from: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Spain and Turkey, representing relevant governmental institutions, organizations and ministries involved, as well as 7 RACVIAC representatives, all ready to share their observations and actively engage in discussions.

The Working Group Chair will report on the outcome of the fourth and final WG meeting and the draft decision proposed for adoption, to the MAG Meeting to be held on 19-20 March 2009. Those recommendations on a new organizational structure for RACVIAC would enable the RACVIAC to respond more effectively to the new tasks entrusted to it by the Strategy Document adopted at the 18th meeting of the MAG in 2007.

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