News 2012

18 December 2012

Exchange of letters between DCAF Ljubljana and RACVIAC

On 18 December 2012 Mr Anton Travner, Director of DCAF Ljubljana accompanied by Ms Jelka Klemenc, DCAF Programme Manager for Border Security, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. This visit was organized on the occasion of signing the document “Exchange of Letters between RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and DCAF Ljubljana”.

The purpose of this Exchange of Letters is to establish mutual framework for organizational and financial procedures as well as the responsibilities for the preparation and execution of four seminars on Border Security Management in 2013 by RACVIAC Security Sector Reform Pillar.

The purpose of these seminars is to discus main challenges faced by the states in the region in their efforts to deal with the phenomenon of Border Security, improving capacity building and enhancing common and coordinated measures.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Branimir Mandic, Deputy Director Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, and RACVIAC senior staff members. Following presentations of the Centres, the representatives of DCAF and the hosts engaged in a fruitful discussion on a more comprehensive further cooperation in some additional fields other than border management.

Subsequently, both sides expressed their hope that this mutual project, meeting RACVIAC Member states’ needs and requests, would further foster cooperation and dialogue in the SEE.

13 December 2012

Inaugural visit of Canadian Ambassador to RACVIAC

On 13 December 2012, the Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Ms Louise LaRocque, accompanied by Mr Bill McCrimmon, Counsellor and Consul at the Canadian Embassy in Croatia visited RACVIAC. The occasion for the visit was the desire expressed by H.E. to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC’s mission, aims and organization.

The Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Branimir Mandic, together with the RACVIAC staff members welcomed the distinguished guests.

After the presentation on the history, mission, annual programme of activities and accomplishments of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, the Canadian delegation and their hosts engaged in a very interesting discussion on RACVIAC’s programme, plans for the future and possibilities for further cooperation.

Ms Ambassador showed significant interest in RACVIAC’s achievements, current activities and plans for the forthcoming period, and expressed her willingness to create a more targeted and cooperative relationship between RACVIAC and Canada, as a RACVIAC observer country.

In this regard it is worth mentioning that Canada provided 15.000,00 Euros for the activity on Open Skies Treaty (OST) Aerial Observation Course, which took place from 27 March till 05 April this year.

13 December 2012

Defence and Security Committees: Regional Parliamentary Conference

A two-day “Defence and Security Committees: Regional Parliamentary Conference”, organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Joint Committee on Defence and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has started today in Rakitje.

The conference was kindly supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO HQ Sarajevo. The event is a continuation of a series of activities co-organized by RACVIAC and the Joint Committee on Defence and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a forum of parliamentarians and expert officials dealing with the parliamentary oversight of the security sector.

The main purpose of the conference is to give a broad introduction into the legislative part of parliamentary oversight in the region, to set out main principles and mechanisms of parliamentary operation and to give an overview of good practices in regional parliamentary work.

TThe conference has gathered more than 30 parliamentarians and expert officials representing national defence and security committees form Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro and Turkey. The conference is also attended by the Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Belgium and Kingdom of Denmark to Croatia as well as the representatives of NATO, DCAF and OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The conference was opened by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandic and Chair of the Joint Committee on Defence and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Dusanka Majkic. In her welcome speech Ms Majkic said that this conference was a valuable contribution to the enhancement of mutual parliamentary cooperation in the SEE region. She also expressed her hope that many more such events would be organized at RACVIAC premises, being chaired by a different national committee each year.

The conference continued with national presentations on current challenges in the parliamentary oversight of the security sector, legal framework of parliamentary oversight tools, parliamentary hearings and investigation, and the parliamentary oversight of defence and security budgets.

On the second day, part of the conference will take place at the premises of the Croatian Parliament, starting with the welcome speech given by Mr Josip Leko, President of the Parliament. His speech will be followed by the welcome addresses given by Mr Miroslav Tudjman, Ph.D., Chair of the Committee for Internal Policy and National Security, Mr Tomislav Ivic, Chair of the Defence Committee and Mr Boris Blazekovic, Chair of the Croatian Parliamentary Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

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

10 December 2012

Inaugural visit to Albanian ministries

On 10 December 2012, as part of his regular inaugural visits to the Member states, Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ambassador Branimir Mandic paid a visit to the Republic of Albania. At the Albanian Ministry of Defence Ambassador Mandic was received by Mr Arian Starova, Deputy Minister, accompanied by Ms Ivis Noçka, Director of the EU Integration Directorate.

Deputy Minister Starova expressed the readiness of Albania to continue supporting RACVIAC in all three segments: making financial contribution as a Member country, seconding personnel to RACVIAC staff and supporting the RACVIAC programme of activities.

Ambassador Mandic took this opportunity to outline the Centre’s achievements, current activities as well as plans and projects for the forthcoming period. As a newly appointed Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Mandic assured the Deputy Minister of his personal readiness to strengthen the Centre’s role and capacities while becoming more actively engaged in broadening the scope of activities and the number of partners. He also conveyed to the distinguished hosts his appreciation of the exceptional support their country has provided to RACVIAC, not only in financial terms, but also in terms of continual secondment of personnel.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Mandic was received by Mr Ilir Melo, Director General, General Department of International Organizations and Global Affairs.

Ambassador Mandic also had a meeting with Major General Zyber Dushku, Albanian Land Forces Commander and the former MAG Chairperson.

03 December 2012

Meeting with SEDM delegation

On 06 December 2012, RACVIAC Deputy Director, Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, and senior RACVIAC staff members hosted the South Eastern Defence Ministerial (SEDM) delegation headed by CDR Jake Daystar (US EUCOM), as part of their visit to the Croatian Ministry of Defence. The SEDM delegation was accompanied by Mr Marko Vucak, Head of Defence Policy Department, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia.

Since the Republic of Croatia will be hosting the next SESIM exercise, the meeting was scheduled in order to discuss and exchange views on the future, broadening and specifying cooperation between the SEDM Initiative and RACVIAC. In order to find a pragmatic solution for the preparation and organization of the SESIM Exercise planned for September 2014, both sides, including the Croatian Ministry of Defence, expressed their readiness to merge the existing capabilities and to use RACVIAC network and facilities in the planning and execution of the exercise.

The delegations agreed that the activities of RACVIAC and SEDM initiative alike were committed to contributing to regional security and stability and fostering cooperation in the SEE.

05 December 2012

Promoting Security Strategies and Emerging Policy Priorities in SEE Conference conducted

RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation conducted a two-day conference entitled “Promoting Security Strategies and Emerging Policy Priorities in SEE”, from 04 - 05 December 2012.

The purpose of this conference was to give an overview and share lessons learned on NATO, EU and OSCE security strategies and emerging policy priorities in the SEE countries.

While reviewing the achievements of the EU security strategy, NATO strategic concept and the strategies of other organizations and exchanging views on the challenges encountered in national security policies of the SEE countries, this event aimed to contribute to a more cohesive and effective international and regional security cooperation.

The conference gathered more than 40 participants and lecturers, officials at a decision-making level and experts representing relevant ministries from the SEE countries, UNDP Mission in Croatia, UNODC from Vienna, OSCE from Vienna, OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Regional Cooperation Council, MK Crisis Management Centre, MK University of "SS Cyril and Methodius", Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Centre for Security Studies from Sarajevo, Institute for International Relations from Zagreb, Institute for Democracy and Mediation from Albania and the Faculty of Political Science Zagreb.

Opening the conference, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandic said that co-operation between the states in the spirit of solidarity, partnership and transparency was crucial for security in the SEE area and should reflect mutual interests and respect. For the full potential to be realized, there was a need to be still more capable, more coherent and more active, particularly in achieving strategic objectives and effective crisis management, the Ambassador added. Mr Rok Kosirnik, Defence Planning Division, Force Planning Directorate, NATO HQ Brussels, delivered the opening speech outlining the NATO current policies in the context of challenges arising from security issues/building stability in Europe and beyond. In his presentation he addressed the current security challenges as well as some negative trends NATO is facing.

In accordance with the conference agenda, the first day was dedicated to the NATO Current Policies; Achievements of European Security Strategy; OSCE Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability, Regional Security Cooperation Mechanisms; Trends and Emerging Policies related to Terrorism and Organized Crime from the UNODC's Point of View; and Preventive UNDP Human Security Projects. On the second day the conference addressed different national security strategies and policy priorities in the SEE countries.

30 November 2012

Visit to Slovenian Ministry of Defence

On 30 November 2012, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandic, accompanied by Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, Deputy Director, and Mr Branko Kromar, Security Sector Reform Pillar Programme Manager, paid an inaugural visit to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia.

The RACVIAC delegation was welcomed by the Minister, Mr Ales Hojs, Mr Robert Strazisar, Head of the Multilateral Relations and Defence Diplomacy Division, and Mr Kavar Andrej, Advisor to the Minister, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Defence.

During the meeting Ambassador Mandic informed the Minister about the current status of RACVIAC as a very specific, regionally owned organization, the ongoing programme of activities and some future plans and challenges. As a newly appointed Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Mandic assured the Minister of the intention of the new management to broaden the scope of activities and strengthen the Centre’s role in the SEE. He also expressed his appreciation for the continuous support that the Republic of Slovenia has been providing to RACVIAC.

Minister Hojs reiterated Slovenia’s continued commitment and support to RACVIAC both in financial and personnel terms. The two delegations used this opportunity to discuss possibility for rationalization of the regional defence cooperation endeavours in the SEE, a proposal that was already presented at the last MAG meeting by the Republic of Slovenia.

28 November 2012

RACVIAC Director’s inaugural visit to Croatian Minister of Defence

RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir Mandic, accompanied by Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, Deputy Director and Captain Nevena Skender-Markic, Operations Manager, paid an inaugural visit to the Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Ante Kotromanovic, on 28 November 2012.

Ambassador Mandic took this opportunity to inform the Minister about the completed transformation of the Centre, ongoing activities as well as plans and projects for the future.

As a newly appointed Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Mandic assured the Minister of his personal readiness to strengthen the Centre’s role and capacities while broadening the scope of activities and links with other international and regional organizations. He conveyed his genuine appreciation to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia for the outstanding and considerable ongoing support to RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, particularly in the last phase of its transformation into a very unique, regionally owned, organization in South East Europe. He also pointed out that RACVIAC owes a particular debt of gratitude to the Republic of Croatia, as a host nation, for all of its efforts, uninterrupted assistance and commitment to fulfilling the Centre’s mission in the twelve years of its existence.

Taking into account RACVIAC mission and role in the region, the Defence Minister Kotromanovic availed himself of this opportunity to reassure RACVIAC of the Ministry’s intention for an ongoing partnership, thereby contributing to enhanced dialogue and cooperation on security matters among the countries of Southeast Europe.

27 November 2012

RACVIAC delegation visited OSCE and Austrian MoD

On 26 and 27 November 2012, RACVIAC delegation consisting of the RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir Mandic, and Planning and Liaison Officers, Colonel Ferdinand Klinser and Major Sasa Konjevic, visited the OSCE Secretariat and the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria in Vienna.

As this was the inaugural visit of the recently appointed RACVIAC Director to the OSCE, the Ambassador used the opportunity to introduce himself in person and to present the management approach that will be utilized in order to implement the endorsed Strategy and develop RACVIAC further. The visit was also aimed at discussing possibilities for deepening and broadening of the cooperation between the two organizations. RACVIAC delegation had a series of meetings with highly ranked OSCE officials: Mr Alexey Lyzhenkov, Director of Transnational Threats Department; Mr Thomas Wuchte, Head of Action Against Terrorism Unit; Mr Knut Dreyer, Head of Strategic Police Matters Unit; Mr Ian Mitchell, Head of External Cooperation in the Office of the Secretary General; Mr Pascal Heyman, Deputy Director for Policy Support Service, Ms Penny Satches-Brohs, Senior Border Issues Adviser, Mr Geertsen, Senior FSC Support Officer and Ms Ana Karlsreiter, Senior Adviser in the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media.

During the visit to the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria, Ambassador Mandic met Major General Johann Pucher, Head of Security Policy Directorate, who was a former RACVIAC Director. General Pucher was accompanied by Brigadier General Reinhard Trischak, Director of the Military Policy Division, and Colonel Richard Monsberger, Head of Arms Control Section. The discussion focused on a wide range of topics related to the current status of RACVIAC, programme of activities, vision for the future, as well as further Austrian support to the Centre.

22 November 2012

Second Arms Control Symposium conducted

The second international Arms Control Symposium, conducted in the period of 21-22 November 2012, was a formidable platform for the development of an intellectual flow regarding arms control policy in Europe and beyond. Beginning from the starting point of the arms control regime – the CFE Treaty, the Symposium created a bridge to the latest developments in Arms Control Treaties and Agreements, such as the updated Vienna Document 2011. RACVIAC was particularly glad that this Symposium could deepen experiences and ideas about the Dayton Peace Accords. In that regard, based on the presentation by Major General Torres, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office for Article IV, Annex B-1of the Dayton Peace Agreement, who outlined the importance of the regional Arms Control Agreement, the participants tried to predict some future scenarios about regional arms control. Several respective experts presented the current implementation situation and prompted fruitful and comprehensive discussions, expressing some independent ideas not dominated by national interests or political guidelines.

This Symposium was also a chance to position international organizations such as NATO, OSCE and EU in the process of arms control and confidence building. Thus, the participants eagerly followed the discussion about the future role of conventional arms control in the European security architecture, reflecting the needs of the 21st century with regard to conventional arms control. The Symposium participants discussed the Dayton Peace Accords as a success story. They also developed ideas about certain changes in further implementation of this Agreement, such as a shift from the numerical limitation of major weapon systems to more complex systems of confidence and security building, without the exclusion of any geographical/political terrain and with the inclusion of non-governmental actors. The Symposium also provided sufficient space for national policies with regard to conventional arms control and displayed the OSCE crisis management mechanisms. With particular attention, the participants listened to the presentation on arms control between legislation and politics given by an independent defence analyst from Croatia.

Closing the Symposium, LtCol Stefan Miene, the CSE Programme Manger, said that this event proved to be a reliable platform for arms control. He stressed that the Symposium did not have a character of a state conference or a highly political assembly, but rather, the Symposium, and RACVIAC itself, were independent platforms giving everybody a chance to present their ideas and opinions in a free, unbiased, intellectual atmosphere, where different national and political backgrounds were respected, even at the risk that not everybody would support the statements made. The Symposium was also a good opportunity for the participants to get a sense of the Croatian hospitality. Thus, they enjoyed a reception at the Samobor City Hall by the Deputy Mayor on 21 November.

21 November 2012

New MAG Chairperson visited RACVIAC

On the 21st of November 2012, Ms Vesna Batistic-Kos, Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs and global issues at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs visited RACVIAC in her capacity as the newly appointed MAG Chairperson. Ms Batistic-Kos was welcomed by all RACVIAC staff.

In her introductory speech, the Chair Lady outlined the main objectives she intends to focus on in her one-year mandate. Having in mind the happy coincidence that the MAG Chairperson comes from the host nation, she expressed her readiness to promote all the statutory issues that RACVIAC wants to resolve.

She said that she hopes the best channels would be found to increase the visibility of RACVIAC as a regionally owned organization, becoming a regional brand. She believes that RACVIAC has a huge potential not only to conduct the planned programme activities, but also to broaden the scope of its cooperation within the network of international and regional organizations.

RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Mandic, reiterated his gratitude for all the support and contribution the host nation has provided to RACVIAC. For RACVIAC, this was an excellent opportunity to introduce to the new MAG Chairperson the programme activities, personnel and financial issues, as well as some other challenges the Centre is faced with.

21 November 2012

Arms Control Symposium has started in RACVIAC

With the welcome speeches given by H.E. Hans Peter Annen, German Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia and Ms Vesna Batistić-Kos, Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs and global issues at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the second international Arms Control Symposium has started in RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. This two-day event is co-organised with the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. The purpose of the symposium is to present the latest developments in arms control, with the aim to of opening new perspectives on confidence-building measures for peace and stability in Europe.

The symposium will serve as a platform for discussions on the fundamental role of arms control treaties as a cornerstone of European and the SEE security, raising awareness of the significance of arms control and confidence building measures, analyzing various aspects of modern regimes of arms control, addressing the future of conventional arms control, discussing the role of arms control in post-conflict environment, examining the implications of cyber defence in the field of arms control, etc. The event has gathered more than 40 participants representing ministries, governmental organizations and agencies, NATO, OSCE, independent defence analysts and universities, coming from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, United States, Turkey and Ukraine.

Opening the symposium, the German Ambassador said that, although it was not in the main focus of some policy makers, arms control was more important and more needed than ever, especially having in mind new technologies, weapons of mass destruction as well as some other new security challenges and treats. On behalf of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and in her capacity as the newly appointed Chair of the Multinational Advisory Group, Ms Batistić-Kos pointed out that this event, as well as other activities organized by RACVIAC, proved that the Centre was a corner stone of cooperation among the countries in the region and the best example of regional ownership aimed at enhancement of stability and security in the SEE.

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

20 November 2012

Major General Torres visited RACVIAC

On Tuesday, 20 November 2012, RACVIAC had the pleasure to receive the visit of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office for Article IV, Annex 1B of the Dayton Peace Accords, Major General Michele Torres and his staff. The OSCE delegation was welcomed by RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandic, Deputy Director Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop and CSE programme manager LtCol Stefan Miene. This was the second visit of Major General Torres to RACVIAC in his capacity as the OSCE Chairperson in Office for Article IV of the Dayton Peace Agreement.

RACVIAC has been instructing the designated individuals on how to successfully perform their duties as inspectors and/or escorts pursuant to the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control for years, having conducted 18 activities dedicated to this subject matter so far, thus providing a good platform for confidence building in the SEE region. Since the common interest and goal pursued by both organizations is supporting and assisting the signatory countries of the Dayton Peace Agreement in the execution and implementation of Article IV, the purpose of the visit was to discuss further developments of Article IV. Both sides openly discussed possible changes in the current Agreement and tried to develop future perspectives with regard to the regional arms control processes. Additionally, they discussed the future role of RACVIAC in the phase of amendments to the current Agreement, with regard to the training provided to inspectors and escort teams.

MajGen Torres underlined the competence that RACVIAC has already gained in Arms Control regime in the SEE. Ambassador Mandic availed himself of this opportunity to thank the OSCE for the longstanding support provided to RACVIAC and the countries of the SEE region. RACVIAC staff also accompanied the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office for Article IV in his bilateral talks at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

20 November 2012

Delegation of Ukrainian Verification Directorate at RACVIAC

On 20 November 2012, Col Hudz Andrii, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Verification Directorate, and Lt Col Dymytro Yantalets, senior desk officer, visited RACVIAC. The visit was made on the margins of their participation in the second Arms Control Symposium. The Ukrainian delegation was welcomed by BrigGen Zdravko Jakop, RACVIAC Deputy Director, accompanied by LtCol Stefan Miene, CSE Programme Manager, and Captain Nevena Skender-Markic, Operations Manager.

The Ukrainian delegation expressed their strong interest in RACVIAC programme of activities, underlining their willingness to actively support the Centre by providing experts in the implementation of certain arms control treaties and conventions. They pointed to the intensive cooperation they have with the German Verification Centre, which is a good impetus to the activities planned in 2013, not only for the Ukrainian Verification Directorate but for RACVIAC as well. The Ukrainian delegation expressed their appreciation of RACVIAC’s role in the SEE region, especially with regard to the arms control policy. The fruitful discussion demonstrates that both sides are interested to enhance the cooperation in the time to come.

14 November 2012

Conference on Regional Search and Rescue conducted

In RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation a two-day conference entitled “Regional Search and Rescue“ has finished today.

Conference was supported by the Kingdom of Denmark, as a follow up to the activity co-organized in May 2011 by RACVIAC and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia.

Recognizing the importance of efficient SAR structures, national and regional alike, as one of the security issues that should be further discussed and explored, RACVIAC intention was to bring together regional experts with the knowledge of and experience in supporting the SAR capacity building in the SEE countries, thus providing a broad platform for the exchange of information and best practices.

The purpose of the conference was to encourage further development of regional cooperation on Search and Rescue issues and to promote enhancement of the existing national SAR structures through the exchange of information and sharing of available training opportunities and relevant SAR exercises; exploring national points of view; identifying and listing the potential needs of the countries; presenting the Baltic Sea area SAR cooperation example; and encouraging the development of a possible regional and national cross - border cooperation.

The main conference objective was to initiate the establishment of a regional Search and Rescue functional network in the SEE, with the aim to enhance mutual assistance among Search and Rescue services and optimize the use of Search and Rescue resources in case of disasters.

This event gathered more than 40 participants from the SEE region, mostly civilian or military officials and experts representing relevant national institutions dealing with SAR issues from: Defence/Armed forces, National Rescue Coordination Centre's authorities, National Directorates for Protection and Search, Civil Aviation Authorities, Ministries of the Interior, Civil Emergency Management Authorities. Lecturers were experts from Danish Costal Rescue Service, Tactical Air Command and Joint Rescue Coordination Centre; Italian Mission Control Centre COSPAS SARSAT; Hungarian Joint Force Command; Polish Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Techno Sciences Inc. from the United States.

The conference was opened by RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir Mandic, and H.E. Eric Bo Weber, Danish Ambassador accredited to Croatia. Ambassador Mandić said that this conference could be an initial push for potential future steps aimed at encouraging further development of regional cooperation on Search and Rescue. Ambassador Weber expressed his sincere hope that the conference would lead to an agreement between the countries of SEE on regional network on SAR.

On the first day of the conference participants were introduced to the Croatian National Protection and Rescue Directorate, Danish National Rescue Council and Costal Rescue Service and Baltic See cooperation example.

At the end of the first day the conference participants visited Air Base Lucko, where they were presented with the transportation capabilities as well as equipment of Croatian Armed Forces and National Mountain Rescue Service, used in SAR missions.

On the second day the conference continued with the presentation on the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Denmark and cooperative rescue coordination system based on the COSPAS SARSAT Network and its operational aspects. The most interesting part of the Conference were the national presentations on National Challenges and Perspectives of SAR, during which participants exchanged information on National SAR agencies, RCC responsibilities, SAR providers, number of SAR missions, effectiveness, trainings, etc.

09 November 2012

Representatives of Serbian MFA and MoD visited RACVIAC

On 09 November 2012 Mr Zoran Vujic, Assistant Minister for Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Serbia, and LtCol Milan Rankovic, RACVIAC Point of Contact at the Serbian Ministry of Defence, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. This was Mr Vujic’s first visit to the Centre.

The visit took place in the margins of the official meeting the Serbian delegation had at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Branimir Mandic.

The Serbian delegation highlighted the active role of RACVIAC in the process of electing the MAG Chairperson for 2012/2013. The agreement reached between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia on the MAG Chairmanship is a result of joint efforts of RACVIAC and the two core Members. This is a clear sign of the enhanced regional cooperation and the importance of RACVIAC for security dialogue.

The Serbian representatives and RACVIAC Director discussed further cooperation and activities and plans for the future. While Serbia, as one of the core RACVIAC Members, has proved to be a reliable partner to the Centre, both sides expressed their hope that the cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and RACVIAC would be even more enhanced in the time to come.

09 November 2012

New MAG Chairperson elected

In accordance with the RACVIAC Agreement and MAG Chairman's Conclusions from the 28th MAG Meeting, the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia have agreed on the MAG Chairmanship for 2012/2013.

Thus, a nominee from the Republic of Croatia, Ms Vesna Batistić Kos, Ph.D., Assistant Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, will chair the MAG during 2012/2013. Subsequently, the Republic of Serbia will chair the MAG in the period 2013/2014.

Background: Pursuant to the Agreement on RACVIAC, Multinational Advisory Group (MAG) – the steering committee of the Centre, appoints its Chairperson at the autumn MAG meeting for the period of one year. Since this year there were two nominees for the position of the Chairperson – one from the Republic of Croatia and the other from the Republic of Serbia, the two countries had to agree on which would take over the chairmanship first.

08 November 2012

Conference on Financial Aspects of Economic Crisis hosted by Montenegro

A conference entitled “Financial Aspects of Economic Crisis and Their Impact on Security Sector”, organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, was held on 07 November 2012 in Budva, Montenegro.

The purpose of this conference was to bring together regional experts on economy and finance, as well as experts and decision makers from Defence Planning, Defence Budgeting and Defence Policy Departments, Internal Affairs Offices and parliamentary defence and security committees from the SEE in order to introduce and discuss the issues related to the current economic and financial crisis and its effects on budget and general expenditure trends.

Since the SEE countries have generally been faced with severe economic and financial crisis, unfinished transition processes and demands and efforts in the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, a special focus of this conference was given to the impact of the financial crisis on the security sector, as one of the major targets of transition and one of the prominent factors in the process of integration.

The conference comprised expert presentations and follow-up discussions on recent developments in macroeconomic and financial framework of the SEE countries, development of the Western Balkan Economies in the post-crisis period, experiences in responding to the crisis, impact on security sector, comparative analysis of European countries with reference to managing national/defence budget, specialized regional defence budget analysis, specific financial constraints, and current trends related to defence budgets and plans.

Opening the Conference, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandić said that today, and particularly after the Chicago NATO Summit, NATO Alliance and NATO aspirant countries, which many of the SEE countries are, were facing numerous challenges with regard to the expansion of partnership policy, limitation of resources, the need to reconcile values and interests, and engagement of partners in emerging security threats. Hence, there is a clear need to assure access to the global commons, building capability through multinational and innovative approaches and future development of partnerships and outreach.

It is worth mentioning that this conference resulted from the idea of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defence to co-organize a conference that would focus on the consequences of the economic crisis on the security sector, and therefore RACVIAC is very grateful to the Ministry for hosting the event.

07 November 2012

PSSM course has started in RACVIAC

In order to promote proper management and security of national stockpiles in the SEE region, RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports of the Republic of Austria, the Bundeswehr Verification Centre (BwVC) and the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) from the USA, has organized a Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) Course, taking place from 06 to 09 November 2012.

An estimated 875 million of small arms are in circulation around the world, killing up to million people every year and posing a serious threat to safety and security on a global scale. Therefore, training in stockpile management, surplus reduction and destruction of small arms and light weapons and conventional weapons is of outmost importance for the countries in the South East European region as well.

This technical level course is aimed at training personnel to handle national stockpiles, implementing operational procedures and exchanging ideas on potential improvements of security and management, introducing best international practices in physical security and stockpile management as well as at analyzing main challenges and introducing national laboratory procedures.

The course has gathered more than 20 participants representing governmental organizations and agencies involved in the management of national stockpiles of small arms and light weapons and conventional weapons, along with the personnel involved in the in-service surveillance of all types of conventional ammunition, employees of national laboratories, as well as international experts coming from Switzerland, Austria, DTRA and BwVC.

The course was opened by Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, RACVIAC Deputy Director, who said that safe storage and disposal of surplus and aging weapons and munitions was a matter of serious concern to South East Europe, while appropriate education and training could ease the situation and contribute to proper management and security of national stockpiles.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Brigadier General Jürgen Beyer, Director of the BwVC, who is on his official visit to RACVIAC and the Croatian Ministries of Defence and Foreign and European Affairs. Brigadier General Beyer took this opportunity to express the readiness of the BwVC to guide and support such efforts, thus making its contribution to finding a successful solution to any challenge related to arms control.

06 November 2012

Director’s inaugural visit to Montenegrin Ministries

On 06 November 2012, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandic paid an inaugural visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro.

Ambassador Mandic was welcomed by the Minister, Mr Nebojsa Kaludjerovic. During their conversation Ambassador Mandic informed the Minister about the completed transformation of the Centre, ongoing issues and the forthcoming activities. He also expressed his appreciation for the continuous support Montenegro has been providing to RACVIAC.

Minister Kaludjerovic pointed out that Montenegro attached high importance to the regional cooperation and strengthening regional instruments among which RACVIAC was on the priority list of the Montenegrin foreign policy. He reiterated Montenegro’s commitment and support to RACVIAC, particularly regarding the issues of security and European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Ambassador Mandic and Minister Kaludjerovic discussed other burning political and security issues in the region, while RACVIAC Director used this opportunity to meet with Zoran Jankovic, Director General of the Directorate for Multilateral Affairs and Regional Cooperation.

In addition to these meetings, ambassador Mandic also met with Assistant Minister for Defence Policy, Mr Ivan Masulovic. Assistant Minister Masulovic emphasized that Montenegro had continually encouraged consolidation of regional security and stability, thus establishing successful cooperation with all the countries in the region. He also announced continued support to RACVIAC, in line with their national capacities.

As a newly appointed Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Mandic assured the Assistant Minister of his personal readiness to strengthen the Centre’s role and capacities in addressing new security challenges and responding to the changing security needs of the region.

06 November 2012

Director of the Bundeswehr Verification Centre visited RACVIAC

On Tuesday, 06 November 2012, the delegation of the Bundeswehr Verification Centre, led by Brigadier General Jürgen Beyer, Director of the Centre, visited RACVIAC. The delegation also included LtCol Emil Schreiber, head of International Cooperation Section and LtCol Hans-Ulrich Müller, desk officer for the SEE. The delegation was accompanied by LtCol Jörg Rauber, Military Attaché of the Federal Republic of Germany accredited to Croatia.

The distinguished guests were welcomed by the Deputy Director of RACVIAC, Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop and RACVIAC senior staff members.

Since the Physical Security and Stockpile Management Course, organized in cooperation with the Bundeswehr Verification Centre, commenced on the same day, brigadier General Beyer used the opportunity to attend the course opening ceremony and give a welcome speech to the participants.

Later on, the guests were provided with a presentation on the history, mission, completed process of transformation and accomplishments of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, as well as the activities planned in the forthcoming period.

The German delegation also presented their Centre, current tasks and activities, along with future challenges related to the arms control.

During open discussion Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop expressed his sincere gratitude to Germany for all the contributions and support they have provided to RACVIAC since its establishment, particularly in the last phase of its transformation and consolidation as a regionally owned organization in South East Europe.

It is worth mentioning that in addition to the financial contribution, the Federal Republic of Germany has for years supported RACVIAC with staff officers seconded to the Centre as well as with a number of highly competitive civilian and military experts in a wide range of security issues.

The German delegation used the visit to emphasize and praise the role of RACVIAC in the process of stabilization and development of the South East European region, assuring RACVIAC of Germany’s intention for an ongoing partnership and support, thereby contributing to enhanced trust and cooperation on security issues among the countries in the region.

01 November 2012

Inaugural visit to MK ministries

In order to introduce himself in his new capacity as the Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ambassador Branimir Mandic paid a visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* on 01 November 2012.

At the Ministry of Defence Ambassador Mandic was received by Mr Bekim Maksuti, Head of the Department for International Cooperation, while Mr Oliver Krliu, State Counselor and Director of the Directorate for Political Security Cooperation and Multilateral Affairs, welcomed him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Mandic took this opportunity to outline the Centre’s achievements, current activities as well as plans and projects for the forthcoming period. He also conveyed to the distinguished officials his appreciation of the exceptional support their country provides to RACVIAC, not only in financial terms, but also in terms of continual secondment of personnel. He emphasized particular contribution that the former RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski made in his three-year term to the completion of RACVIAC transformation and expansion of programme activities. Both ministry representatives reiterated the commitment and support of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* to RACVIAC in the time to come.

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

29 October 2012

Roundtable on Demographic Trends and Social and Economic Challenges in SEE has started in RACVIAC

In RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation a two-day event entitled “Roundtable on Demographic Trends and Social and Economic Challenges in SEE“ has started today.

Presenting demographic changes as global phenomenon resulting from two almost universal trends: declining fertility and increasing life expectancy and their impacts on economic, social and environmental factors in any country or region, the purpose of this event is to give an insight into demographic changes in the SEE countries, social and economic challenges, main trends and related policies.

The event will provide an opportunity to explore and discuss demographic trends that have occurred over the last decade in the SEE and their impacts on social security and economic sitauation in the SEE, giving also an overview of demographic trends in the EU, relevant EU policies and regulations and bodies responsible for demography in the EU.

This event has gathered around 30 participants and lecturers from AL, BA, CZ, HR, ME, MK, RS, mostly officials at decision-making levels from national demographic and statistics institutions and universities, as well as experts representing the EU Commission, UNDP, EUFOR, MARRI and universities.

Opening the round table, RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir Mandic, said that there was an estimate that a significant divergence in regional patterns of population change would most likely generate a substantial asymmetric impact on the European territory and further increase economic and social disparities between different geographical areas in Europe.

Keynote speeches, dealing with the demographic trends in the EU and related policies, were given by Mr Jörg Peschner, PhD, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission; and Ms Ana Trišić-Babić, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affaires from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In accordance with the round table agenda, special attention will be given to the current demographic trends and projected population change in Europe and neighbouring regions, promotion of sustainable development as a response to demographic changes, managing migration in response to demographic changes and national points of view of the SEE countries and their plans, programmes and studies of demographic trends and changes.

25 October 2012

RACVIAC Director paid inaugural visit to Serbian Ministry of Defence

On 23 October 2012 Ambassador Branimir Mandić paid a visit to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia in his capacity as the newly appointed Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in order to get the Serbian Ministry of Defence more acquainted with RACVIAC’s achievements and plans for the future. He was welcomed by the State Secretary, Mr Aleksandar Nikolić. During their conversation, the State Secretary reiterated the commitment and support of the Republic of Serbia to RACVIAC. Since Serbia, as one of the core RACVIAC Members, has proved to be a reliable partner to the Centre, the State Secretary pointed out their intention to intensify the cooperation in the time to come.

Ambassador Mandić expressed his appreciation of the readiness of the Republic of Serbia to enhance the collaboration with RACVIAC in the forthcoming period. He also took this opportunity to remind that it is of outmost importance to reach a consensus on the appointment of the Multinational Advisory Group Chairperson as soon as possible. Since the security of the region is based on dialogue and cooperation, the Ambassador expressed his hope that the most suitable and most beneficial solution for all RACVIAC Members would be found in the forthcoming period.

24 October 2012

Ottawa Convention seminar has started

Focusing exclusively on mine victim assistance, the seminar on Ottawa Convention has started today in RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. Following the well-established practice from the previous years, this is the sixth activity on this specific topic organized in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, Croatian Office for Demining and Croatian Mine Action Centre.

The Ottawa Convention, officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction is the most comprehensive international instrument for ridding the world of mines. It deals with everything from mine use, production and trade, to victim assistance, mine clearance and stockpile destruction.

The purpose of this seminar is to provide assistance with the implementation of the Ottawa Convention on the regional level, support the mine victims assistance efforts, and share the experiences in the assistance, care, rehabilitation, social and economic reintegration of mine victims. The seminar also presents a podium for the mine affected persons, setting an example of the effectiveness of national efforts with regard to the mine clearance and the acquisition of financial, technological and human recourses required for the implementation of victim assistance programme and deepening contacts between the representatives of various national and international organizations dealing with the implementation of the Ottawa Convention.

The seminar has gathered more than 30 participants, representatives of national ministries, national mine action centres in the SEE, regional and international mine action NGOs, other international organizations dealing with mine actions, as well as representatives of diplomatic missions and countries which are actively involved as co-operators / supporters in the process of mine destruction, representatives of public and private companies involved in the abovementioned issues and the last, but not least - mine victims who were explicitly invited to attend.

The opening speeches were delivered by Ambassador Branimir Mandić, RACVIAC Director; Ms Dijana Pleština, PhD., Director, Office for Mine Action, Croatia; Mr Mirko Ivanušić, Deputy Head of Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC); and Mr Bill McCrimmon, Counsellor and Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Canada to the Republic of Croatia.

On behalf of the country which was the initiator of this very important convention, Mr McCrimmon said in his opening address that the activities as this one represented a worthy initiative which had to be maintained, bearing in mind the great number of mines still polluting the world and posing a serious danger to civilians.

The opening ceremony continued with the presentation on the significance of humanitarian and security conventions, given by Ms Dijana Pleština, and followed by the presentations on understanding the importance of the Ottawa Convention, given by Ms Paramdeep Mtharu, Implementation Support Officer, Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit (APMBC ISU), and Mr Loren Persi, Advocacy Advisor, International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

This three-day event will also deal with the needs of survivors, psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration, survivors’ experience and peer support, presenting not only the experts’ point of view, but also the point of view of landmine survivors. In accordance with the seminar agenda, on the second day there will be a filed visit to a demining worksite near the town of Petrinja, organized by CROMAC, as well as a visit to the Mošćenica settlement Street of the Dead, where 13 people were killed by mines.

17 October 2012

A Decade of Peace Support Operations Conference

A conference entitled “A Decade of Peace Support Operations (PSO): South Eastern Europe (SEE) - From Consumers to Producers of Security” was held today, 17 October 2012, at the RACVIAC premises, in Rakitje. This Conference was envisaged as a third event in a long-term project addressing principal aspects of the SSR in the context of the SEE countries’ participation in Peace Support Operations (PSOs).

The main objective of the Conference was to proudly present the efforts and results of the SEE countries in the PSOs in the period of more than ten years, providing participants with the analysis of regional and national strategies, plans and efforts for the future. Being small nations and operating in the extremely difficult post-conflict and current crisis environment, the SEE countries contributed perhaps even more than could have been expected considering their economic strength.

Confirming the hypothesis that in more than 10 years of their contribution to numerous PSOs the SEE countries have become providers of security, obtaining legitimacy and visibility in the international community, this conference gathered more than 30 participants, military and civilian decision makers from the ministries of defence and security, foreign affairs, members of parliaments, as well as representatives of SEEBRIG – South-Eastern Europe Brigade, EUFOR - Operation Althea, EEAS - European External Action Service, SEDM - South East Defence Ministerial, and some former highly-ranked officials from UNDPKO.

The event started with the opening speech by Major General (ret) Wolfgang Jilke from Austria, former UN Secretary General Advisor, who presented the history and main principles of peacekeeping, focusing on contemporary peacekeeping operations as well as on some UN realities regarding the new horizons dilemmas and debates.

In the first panel, dedicated to the legal, institutional and military approaches, presentations were given by Mr Per Normark, Strategic Planner, Crisis Management and Planning Directorate, European External Action Service, and Lt Robert Karaman, POLAD, Croatian Armed Forces International Military Operations Training Centre.

The conference was closed with the national presentations given by the representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Serbia and Slovenia, who focused on the implementation of the strategies and the future of PSOs in the SEE region.

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

16 October 2012

Meeting with SEEBRIG Commander

On 16 October 2012, RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir MANDIC, hosted Brigadier General Zdravko Popovski, South-Eastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG) Commander, at the RACVIAC premises in Rakitje.

Since both RACVIAC and SEEBRIG believe that cooperation and dialog among the countries of South-Eastern Europe must be further developed, the meeting was scheduled in order to exchange views on the topics of mutual interest. Ambassador Mandić and Brig Gen Popovski agreed that the activities of RACVIAC as well as of SEEBREG were committed to contributing to regional security and stability and fostering good neighbourly relations.

In that regard, it was agreed that the RACVIAC delegation would pay a visit to SEEBRIG in Tyrnavos, Greece, in the near future, to discuss the possibilities of further cooperation. This visit would be a good opportunity for RACVIAC staff to get acquainted with the structure, capabilities and employment of the SEEBRIG. Brigadier General Popovski will participate in the Conference “A Decade of Peace Support Operations (PSO): South Eastern Europe (SEE) - From Consumers to Producers of Security ”, which is taking place tomorrow, 17 October, at the RACVIAC facilities.

12 October 2012

RACVIAC staff visited CARITAS Centre

In order to continue the well-established cooperation with the local community, as well as to get acquainted with the CARITAS Centre for Homeless People located in Rakitje village, close to the RACVIAC headquarters, Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop paid a visit to the CARITAS Centre on 12 October 2012.

He was welcomed by Mr Ivan Mavrek, the CARITAS Care for the Homeless Project Manager. Mr Mavrek informed the RACVIAC Deputy Director about the operations and daily activities of the Centre, as well about their needs and problems.

General Jakop took this opportunity to deliver some food to the beneficiaries of the Centre, saying that both the CARITAS Centre for Homeless People and RACVIAC were doing a worthy job, hoping that this small donation made by RACVIAC would brighten the day of the beneficiaries.

12 October 2012

RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony

On 12th October 2012 RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony was held in Rakitje. Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski handed over his duty to the new RACVIAC Director Ambassador Branimir Mandić. Ambassador Todorčevski came to this position in October 2009 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, as a career diplomat. He has held the leading position in RACVIAC for the past three years, during which the Centre completed a challenging process of transformation to the international, regionally owned organization, focused on fostering dialogue on security cooperation in South East Europe, both, among the countries in the region and their international partners.

The new Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Branimir Mandić, comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he held the position of Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

RACVIAC’s Handover & Takeover Ceremony was attended by the representatives of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Croatian Parliament, Croatian Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Croatian Army HQ, as well as the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albanian Ministry of Defence, the representatives of other RACVIAC Member countries and diplomatic missions in the Republic of Croatia as well as of the local municipality.

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

10 October 2012

28th MAG Meeting

The 28th semi-annual meeting of the RACVIAC steering body - Multinational Advisory Group (MAG), has started in Raktije, Republic of Croatia, today, on the 09th of October 2012, under the Chairmanship of Albania. The Meeting gathered representatives from the majority of RACVIAC Member States and a representative of the Regional Security Council (RCC).

Pursuant to the Meeting Agenda, the first day is dedicated to budgetary issues. The purpose of the Meeting is to discuss all relevant aspects of the RACVIAC Budget, more specifically the 2012 and 2013 Budget, including the 2014-2016 Budget Projection. Furthermore, the Meeting is aimed at giving the opportunity to the Associate Members to declare their pledges for the 2013 Budget pursuant to preliminary calculations based on the Draft Programme 2013.

The main topic of the second day of the MAG Meeting is the Director’s Interim Report, which covers the first eight months of the current year. It is meant to provide the Autumn MAG Meeting participants with all the relevant information and highlight RACVIAC’s achievements during the reporting period. Director’s presentation will be followed by the presentations given by RACVIAC Programme Managers with regard to respective programme achievements in the first eight months of the year 2012 and the programme projections for the period 2013-2016. Following their presentations, Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, RACVIAC Deputy Director, will inform the MAG about the current personnel situation.

Later in the day a representative of the Croatian MFEA and RACVIAC Management will jointly provide MAG with the information on the draft version of the Host Nation Agreement. Subsequently, MAG should accept the recommendations and authorize the Director of RACVIAC to finalize the HNA. MAG will also elect a new MAG Chairperson for the period 2012/2013, as this is a common practice during autumn meetings.

05 October 2012

Representatives of EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence in RACVIAC

On 05 October 2012 Mr Francesco Miorin, CBRN Regional Coordinator from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and Ms Francesca Longo from the European Commission Joint Research Centre, accompanied by Ms Sanja Bujas Juraga and Ms Ivana Zerec from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affaires, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

This visit was organized on the margins of the fourth round-table meeting of the European Union’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative in South East Europe, the Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine, held in Zagreb on 4 October 2012 at the premises of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.

The occasion for the visit was the presentation of the CBRN CoE Initiative, as well as of the implementation mechanism of the projects approved by the CoE Initiative, with a view to discussing possible ways of cooperation with RACVIAC.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director Nikola Todorcevski, Deputy Director Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop, and RACVIAC senior staff members. Following the presentations of both Centres, the representatives of the CBRN CoE Initiative and the hosts engaged in a fruitful discussion on possible activities and plans for the future. Subsequently, both sides expressed their hope that the cooperation between the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative and RACVIAC would be enhanced in a time to come.

04 October 2012

SEDM meeting in Sarajevo

On 3 October 2012, RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, accompanied by Major Saša Konjević, Planning and Liaison Officer for SEE, participated in the South East Europe Defense Ministerial (SEDM) meeting, held in Sarajevo and hosted by the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Muhamed Ibrahimović.

The Meeting, gathering 15 defence ministers or their representatives from SEDM member and observer countries, as well as representatives of several international organizations, was focused on the future of SEDM and its synchronization with other regional efforts in order to avoid unnecessary duplications.

RACVIAC was recognized as a platform with which cooperation needs to be further elaborated and made concrete.

27 September 2012

Conference on Partnership Policy and Smart Defence conducted

RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, and supported by NATO Public Diplomacy Division, conducted a two-day conference entitled “Conference on Partnership Policy and Smart Defence in the Context of the New NATO Strategic Concept”, in Poljče, Slovenia, from 25-27 September 2012.

The purpose of this event was to foster and support the Partnership and Smart Defence by presenting conclusions of the last NATO Summit held in Chicago, examining regional prospects of NATO partnership and informing the SEE countries about the contribution of the SEE to NATO-led missions in the pre-accession phase and its impact towards full NATO membership. The even was also aimed at promoting the required deeper and wider partnerships for the accomplishment of goals in order to build capability through multinational and innovative approaches and to strengthen NATO’s relations with its partners.

This event was also an excellent opportunity to provide national presentations and information on the existing and future common projects in the SEE region (such as Joint Participation in the Crisis Management Operations, Balkan Regional Approach to Air Defence - BRAAD, Regional Training Centres, etc).

Opening the conference, the incoming RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Branimir Mandić, said that because of the effects of the economic crisis and impacts of the cuts in defence budgets, it is necessary to stress the need for cooperation in defence and security sector in the SEE and beyond in order to develop capabilities with the purpose of improving and maximizing efficiency and effectiveness.

The conference gathered more than 40 participants, civilian and military officials at decision-making levels, and experts representing relevant ministries and international organizations dealing with planning and policies, international cooperation, procurement and finance. In accordance with the conference agenda, the first day was dedicated to the contribution of the SEE countries to NATO-led missions in the pre-accession phase and NATO’s network with Partners. The second day focused on the effects of the economic crisis on defence budgets, as well as on identifying common projects on smart defence (pooling&sharing) in the SEE.

26 September 2012

RACVIAC presented to OSCE/FSC in Vienna

The Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, and Col Ferdinand Klinser, the Liaison Officer for Western Europe and International Organisations, gladly accepted the invitation to the OSCE/FSC Meeting in Vienna to present the achievements, developments, enlargement of cooperation and the future of RACVIAC, based on its Strategy for the period of 2012 – 2015, held on 26 September 2012.

The Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) is one of the OSCE’s two main regular decision-making bodies. It was established at the 1992 Helsinki Summit to strengthen the Organization’s focus on politico-military security.

The Forum meets weekly in Vienna and provides a unique platform for the 56 OSCE participating States to discuss topical security challenges on an equal footing. The agenda of the FSC Meetings always includes “security dialogue”, allowing participating States to raise and discuss security concerns and challenges. These discussions regularly lead to initiatives and measures to strengthen politico-military security, including confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs).

Ambassador Todorcevski took this opportunity to draw the attention of the participants to one of our forthcoming events, due to take place in October in RACVIAC’s premises. The event is entitled “A Decade of Peace Support Operations – South East Europe from Consumer to Provider of Security”.

Col Klinser presented the history of RACVIAC, focused on the achievements of all three pillars in cooperation with the OSCE and gave an outlook of the future development of RACVIAC and broadening the scope of cooperation.

In the final, vivid Q & A session RACVIAC received compliments for the quality of its achievements in all of the three pillars, notably for the following events: CSE: Dayton Peace Accord, Arms Control, Vienna Document; IRC: The SEE Path towards EU, Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – EU’s Contribution to the Security and Involvement of SEE; SSR: Code of Conduct, Border Management, Gender and SSR. In this regard, our Centre was highlighted as a unique and important platform for security dialogue and stability in SEE.

20 September 2012

RACVIAC staff paid a visit to the town of Lepoglava

In order to get a better insight into the municipal and judicial system of the Republic of Croatia, RACVIAC staff paid a visit to the town of Lepoglava on 20 September 2012.

The Mayor of Lepoglava, Mr Marijan Škvarić and his deputy, Mr Alojz Gredelj, gave a warm welcome to RACVIAC staff members in the town hall. Mr Škvarić delivered a presentation on the Croatian municipal and county system and gave a vivid overview of the town’s history, cultural heritage, and economic situation.

The next stop on the visit was the Lepoglava penitentiary. The warden, Mr Miljenko Mavrin delivered a comprehensive presentation on judicial and prison system of the Republic of Croatia, while sharing some interesting stories and figures regarding high-quality products made by the inmates. In addition to warm hospitality of its people, RACVIAC staff also enjoyed an amazing historical and cultural heritage of the town of Lepoglava by visiting Pauline Church of Blessed Virgin Mary and the 16th International Lace Festival.

18 September 2012

Seminar on OSCE Code of Conduct has started at RACVIAC

The Seminar on “SSR and OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security“ has started today in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

The idea for organising the Seminar on the implementation of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico–Military Aspects of Security and for emphasising the importance of the Code of Conduct (CoC) for successful security sector reforms in South Eastern Europe (SEE) originates from the RACVIAC Strategy 2012-2015 which highlights the enhancement of security cooperation in the SEE region as one of the most important objectives.

The Code of Conduct is a core document with regard to the OSCE politico-military dimension that commits the participating States to a set of principles governing democratic control of armed forces, police and security forces.

The purpose of this two-day Seminar is to raise awareness about these commitments and discuss experiences and challenges in the practical implementation thereof. Special emphasis will be placed on security sector governance and reform.

The Seminar gathered more than 20 participants - senior military and security officials, Members of Parliament and parliamentary professionals, representatives of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs from the SEE countries, whose duties relate to the OSCE and the Code of Conduct, as well as representatives from the public sector, civil society, and experts from the OSCE and DCAF.

Opening the Seminar, the Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, said that “no matter how deeply the countries of South East Europe are engaged in the Security Sector Reform, the OSCE Code of Conduct is a perfect tool for keeping track of the changes they have made towards the democratisation of their transition societies, while the seminar is a great opportunity to transparently show to the public the improvements in the overall security of their societies”.

11 September 2012

Cyber Defence Workshop conducted at RACVIAC

Advanced Research Workshop on “Cyber Defence Strategies and Policies: Addressing a Constantly Changing Threat” was conducted in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, from 11-12 September 2012.

This two-day workshop was organized in cooperation with NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, as the first in a series of activities on cyber issues planned for the forthcoming period.

Bringing together more than 30 civilian and military officials dealing with policy development and senior cyber security experts, as well as representatives of NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the European Defence Agency (EDA), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), SELEC - Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre, Croatian Association of Security Managers, Global Cyber Defence & Security Services (Italy), this event gave the participants from the SEE region an insight into cyber defence strategies and policies of other international organizations and countries outside of the SEE region and allow them to exchange their knowledge, experience and know-how.

Opening the workshop, Assistant Minister for Defence Policy, MoD, Republic of Croatia, Dr. Sc. Dragan LOZANCIC, has once again expressed the commitment of the Republic of Croatia to supporting RACVIAC and its activities. He has pointed out that, having in mind that the countries of the region are at different stages of development in terms of technology, and thus differently vulnerable to cyber threats, this workshop will prove very useful for them.

01 August 2012

New Deputy Director appointed

Colonel Željko Cepanec's tour of duty as Deputy Director ended on 31st July 2012. At the same time, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia appointed Brigadier General Zdravko Jakop as the new Deputy Director of RACVIAC and he assumed his new duty on the 1st of August 2012.

RACVIAC is pleased that Brigadier General Jakop`s expertise and leadership skills have been acknowledged through this new appointment.

30 July 2012

Visit of Chilean Ambassador

The Ambassador of the Republic of Chile to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Mr Germán Orlando Ibarra Morán, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 30th July 2012. The occasion for the visit to RACVIAC was the desire expressed by H.E. to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC’s mission, aims and organization. The guest was welcomed by the Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, and senior RACVIAC staff members.

Besides the presentation on the history of RACVIAC, its organizational structure, mission and achievements given by RACVIAC’s PR Officer, the Chilean Ambassador and his hosts engaged in an interesting discussion on RACVIAC’s activities and role in the SEE region. Mr Ambassador extended his congratulations to RACVIAC on the work it is undertaking to assist strengthening of peace and stability in the region.

25 July 2012

Head of OSCE Action against Terrorism Unit visited RACVIAC

On 25 July 2012 Mr Thomas Wuchte, Head of Action against Terrorism Unit, Transnational Threat Department, from OSCE Vienna visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The occasion for the visit was the wish expressed by Mr Wuchte to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC, as he was appointed to the mentioned position only recently, namely in March this year. Mr Wuchte was welcomed by the RACVIAC Director and seconded staff members.

Following the presentations on the structures, missions and programmes of both organizations, Mr Wuchte and the hosts engaged in a very comprehensive discussion on further enhanced cooperation between RACVIAC and Action against Terrorism Unit. Both organizations recognized some complementary activities and areas for a closer and deeper collaboration, which could contribute to the dialogue and security cooperation in South East Europe.

16 July 2012

NATO School Oberammergau pays a visit to RACVIAC

On 16 July 2012, the NATO School Oberammergau staff, headed by Colonel Mark D. Baines, NSO Commandant, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, Deputy Director Colonel Zeljko Cepanec, and RACVIAC senior staff members welcomed the guests.

This was the first extended working visit, which gave both organizations a chance to present their programmes and plans. Despite the distinguishing features of these two organizations, one internationally and the other regionally oriented, both organizations recognized some corresponding programme activities and possible areas for a closer and deeper cooperation. Both sides expressed their interest in revitalizing this cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

26 June 2012

First official visit of Belgian Ambassador to RACVIAC

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Ms Nancy Rossignol, visited RACVIAC on 26 June 2012. The occasion for the visit was the desire expressed by H.E. to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC’s mission, aims and organization.

The Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, together with RACVIAC Programme Managers and Subject Matter Experts welcomed the distinguished guest, while Maj Sulo Mustafaraj (AL), Subject Matter Expert for the CSE, delivered a presentation on the history, mission, annual programme of activities and accomplishments of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation.

The Belgian Ambassador and her hosts engaged in a very interesting discussion on RACVIAC’s activities and plans for the future. Based on her previous professional experience, H.E. Ms Rossignol showed particular interest in RACVIAC’s activities with regard to arms control, especially mine clearance. She also expressed her interest in gender issue mainstreaming in security sector. Ms Ambassador repeated her willingness to create a cooperative relationship between RACVIAC and the Kingdom of Belgium.

13 June 2012

CSDP related activity held in Skopje

In cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and the European Commission TAIEX instrument, RACVIAC conducted the activity “Common Security and Defence policy (CSDP) - EU’s Contribution to the Security and Involvement of SEE Countries” in Skopje, in the period of 11-13 June 2012.

The purpose of this multi beneficial event was to further promote a common understanding of the CSDP, as well as to develop a common security culture and efficient cooperation between the EU and SEE countries.

More than 50 participants, coming from various SEE countries, shared the information, views and lessons learned about the influence of Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) and CSDP on candidate and potential candidate countries in the process of accession to the EU and its benefits for the SEE.

Special emphasis was given to the civil-military cooperation in the EU crisis management with regard to building civilian and military capacities, development of more flexible framework for the partnership with NATO, and influence of the CFSP/CSDP on EU candidate and potential candidate countries from the perspectives of various SEE countries.

The event was opened by H.E. Mr Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Defence (MK), followed by speeches given by Mr Robert Liddell, Head of Political, Justice and Home Affairs Issues, EU Delegation in Skopje, and H. E. Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, RACVIAC Director.

In his opening address, Ambassador Todorcevski said that common and synchronized adoption of demands, cumulated in the CSDP concept, could be one of the instruments stimulating effective reaching of CFSP/CSDP standards as part of the EU integration. Different concepts of crisis management and the necessity for harmonization with regard to CSDP standards have increased the needs of the EU candidate and potential candidate countries in the pre-accession phase pertaining to the procedures, management, capabilities, knowledge, etc.

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

12 June 2012

Seminar on Democratic Control of Armed Forces held in Sarajevo

The Seminar on the Democratic Control of Armed Forces as Basic Principle of SSR: Regional Perspective was conducted at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, from 11-13 June 2012. The Seminar, co-organized by RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, Joint Committee on Defence and Security of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, NATO HQ Sarajevo and DCAF, was a continuation of the conference on Parliamentary Oversight of Security Sector held in June 2011 in Sarajevo.

The main purpose of the Seminar was to give a broad introduction to enhancing parliamentary oversight of the security sector and to set out main principles and mechanisms related to this matter, as well as to give an overview of best practices in adopting legislation on parliamentary oversight over the security sector in the SEE region.

The Seminar gathered more than 50 participants, representing the defence / security parliamentary Committees, Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Greece, Montenegro, Poland, Slovenia, and Serbia, as well as representatives from NTO HQ Sarajevo, OSCE –Sarajevo, EUFOR-ALTHEA, and DCAF from Geneva.

The Seminar was opened by Ms Dusanka Majkic, Chair of the Joint Committee on Defence and Security, Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Col Zeljko Cepanec, RACVIAC Deputy director, Mr Valentin Inzko, Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, BG (Ret) Harald Quiel, Director of Department for Security Cooperation, OSCE, BG Gary E. Huffman, Commander, NATO HQ Sarajevo, BG Robert Brieger, Commander, EUFOR- ALTHEA.

In his opening speech, Col Cepanec pointed out that he was delighted to see that this event managed to attract not only representatives of all international actors present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also highly professional lecturers and experts, with the aim to evaluate the situation in the SEE region in terms of parliamentary oversight of the security sector.

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

08 June 2012

Round Table on Irregular Migration conducted

RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in cooperation with Migrations, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative – MARRI conducted a two-day round table entitled “Irregular Migration and its Effects on Security”, in Ohrid, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*.

The purpose of this round table was to discuss the legislative aspects, standards, procedures and the main challenges faced by the SEE countries and international and regional organizations in their efforts to manage the complex and diverse phenomena of irregular migration, human trafficking, document security, crime and terrorism, and their effects on security.

This event, recognized by both MARRI and RACVIAC as a platform for strengthening confidence and security in the SEE region, by building more open, transparent and stable environment through exchange of information, views and ideas, gathered more than 20 participants and lecturers from AL, BA, HR, ME, MK, RS, RO, and TR, mostly officials at decision-making level and experts representing relevant ministries, institutions and organizations dealing with irregular migration issues.

Opening the round table, RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, said that the countries of Europe were affected by a multitude of challenges and opportunities in the area of migration and its effects on security and in order to manage mobility in a secure environment, the countries needed to continue with their prioritized dialogue and cooperation in the EU, in the EU’s neighbourhood and beyond.

In accordance with the round table agenda, special attention was given to the regionally integrated approach aimed at successful prevention and combat of illegal migration; the current international and regional efforts towards refugees and internally displaced persons; and national legal aspects of irregular migration and the state's policy options on irregular migration of the SEE countries.

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

04 June 2012

Head of International Cooperation, Denmark Tactical Air Command, visited RACVIAC

On 04 June 2012, Mr Ove Urup-Madsen, Head of International Cooperation, Tactical Air Command Denmark, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. Mr Urup-Madsen was welcomed by RACVIAC Deputy Director Colonel Zeljko Cepanec and International and Regional Cooperation with focus on Euro Atlantic Integration Pillar's Subject Matter Experts. The occasion for the visit to RACVIAC was the discussion on the possibilities for further cooperation in the area of Search and Rescue.

After the presentation on RACVIAC mission, organizational structure, current situation and achievements, Mr Urup–Madsen and his hosts engaged in a detailed discussion on RACVIAC's Programme of Activities for 2012, focusing on a Search and Rescue Course planned for November 2012.

30 May 2012

“Investigative Journalism and Data Protection” conference held in Pula

A two-day conference entitled “Investigative Journalism and Data Protection”, jointly co- organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Regional Cooperation Council, the European Association of Public Service Media in South East Europe and the Croatian Radio and Television, was conducted in the period of 29 – 31 May 2012 in Pula.

The conference was a follow-up activity to the Conference on Public Media and Security in SEE, held at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation in November 2011, aimed at promoting and increasing cooperation by using dialogue, information exchange, transfer of knowledge, views and ideas, as well as at disseminating international standards related to investigative journalism and data protection and building a more open, transparent and stable environment in the SEE region.

The purpose to organize this Conference arose out of a need to promote investigative journalism, foster journalist independence, while upholding and observing data protection principles and security related standards.

More than 30 participants, representing the SEE countries’ Ministries of Defence and the SEE public media services, as well as the representatives of the European Association of Public service Media in South East Europe, European Broadcasting Union, South Eastern European Media Organization, Regional Cooperation Council took part at this conference.

Drawing attention to the importance of the interconnection between public media services and security issues, conference participants analyzed transparency of the relationship between the media and security, explored the role of the public media in crisis management operations, promoted freedom of expression and capacity building in the field of the media, fostered media pluralism and cooperation between regional public media services and state institutions, and shared information, views and experiences.

Formal opening addresses were delivered by Col Zeljko Cepanec, RACVIAC Deputy Director, Ms Nela Gudelj, Educational Centre, Croatian Radio-Television, and Ambassador Stanislav Daskalov, Deputy Head of Liaison Office in Brussels, Regional Cooperation Council.

29 May 2012

Dayton Article IV Course opened in RACVIAC

On 29 May 2012 Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, the Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, opened the Dayton Article IV Course. Following the well-established practice of the previous years, this course is co-organized with the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office for Article IV of Annex 1-B of the Dayton Peace Accords.

The purpose of this Course is to instruct the designated individuals coming from the four State Parties on how to successfully perform their duties as inspectors and/or escorts pursuant to the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control and to establish a common understanding of the Agreement in order to foster mutual trust and confidence, as well as transparency during the performance of inspections.

The course consists of a theoretical and a practical part. The theoretical part will include lectures about the history of Arms Control and the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a special focus on the inspections of Declared Sites. The practical part will include a training inspection of a Declared Site, enabling the participants, previously divided into two teams, to practice roles of inspectors or escorts.

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 Arms Control Scope and Limits, as well as on activities and organization of the OSCE. In his opening address, Dr Vetschera said that Arms Control itself is the military side of cooperative security policy and therefore it needs a minimum of political will and cooperative counterpart to cooperate with.

Staff officer from the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office for Article IV of Annex 1-B of the Dayton Peace Accords stated that so far 670 inspections have been conducted under Article IV, specifying that every declared unit was inspected twice.

16 May 2012

Workshop on Cluster Munitions

The Workshop on the Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions started in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 16 May 2012. This is the fourth time that RACVIAC and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia jointly organize an event dedicated to Cluster Munitions.

Convention on Cluster Munitions is a very important achievement of the so called Oslo Process, which started in February 2007 when 46 of the 49 participating states agreed on the political commitment to establish a new, legally binding instrument before the end of 2008 prohibiting cluster munitions. The Convention was signed in Oslo on 3 December 2008 by representatives of 94 countries. By February 2010, the required 30 ratifications were achieved and the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010, thereby becoming international legally binding piece of legislation.

With a view to encouraging the States Parties to the Convention to fulfil their international obligations under the Convention and recognizing the need for international cooperation and assistance, RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia have decided to co-organize a Workshop on the implementation of the Convention in South Eastern Europe.

This Workshop is designed as a forum gathering experts from the ministries of defence and foreign affairs, armed forces, national mine action centres, governmental offices for demining and various governmental and non-governmental organisations: Cluster Munitions Coalition, International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations Development Program, Bundeswehr Verification Centre, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, International Trust Fund to Enhance Human Security, Norwegian People’s Aid, South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Trust Fund for Humanitarian Demining of Croatia – “Croatia without Mines“ as well as the representative from Permanent Mission of the Lebanese Republic to the UN Office in Geneva.

The purpose of this Workshop is to share the latest developments related to the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in SEE, with a particular focus on the obligations of the States Parties to the Convention and national strategies, implementation plans, progress reports and needs for support from outside the region. A significant part of this activity is dedicated to clearance, stockpile destruction and victim assistance. The Workshop, lasting until 18 May, started with the opening speeches delivered by Ms Vesna Batistic-Kos, PhD, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Ms Dijana Plestina, PhD, Director, Croatian Government’s Office for Demining, H.E. Mr Henrik Ofstad, Norwegian Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, Mr Zdravko Modrusan, Head of the Croatian Mine Action Centre and Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, RACVIAC Director.

15 May 2012

Deputy Head of Mission of Swedish Embassy has visited RACVIAC

The Deputy Head of Mission of Swedish Embassy to the Republic of Croatia, Minister-Counsellor Erik Hammarskjöld, accompanied by Ms Madeleine Lyberg visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 15 May 2012 in order to make personal acquaintance with the Centre. The distinguished guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Deputy Director, Colonel Zeljko Cepanec, and senior RACVIAC staff members. The guests were provided with a brief presentation on RACVIAC's history, mission, annual programme of activities, the completed process of transformation and plans for the forthcoming period.

The Swedish delegation engaged in a comprehensive discussion with RACVIAC staff members on RACVIAC's activities, regional security cooperation issues, arms control issues and confidence and security building measures. They expressed their appreciation of RACVIAC’s efforts to contribute to regional stability and security.

11 May 2012

Conference on CSDP held in Belgrade

RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, in co-operation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia and the TAIEX Instrument, organized a Conference entitled: Integration and Contribution of SEE to Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU, which was held in Belgrade from 09 to 11 May 2012. The event was opened by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, H.E. Mr Dragan Sutanovac, Ambassador Vincent Degert, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, and Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, RACVIAC Director. The purpose of the event was to contribute to regional security cooperation in South Eastern Europe as an important tool in promoting European integration efforts of the region. The Conference has also contributed to the recognition of the importance of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)/Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as part of the SEE countries’ integration in the EU.

The event gathered more than 120 participants, coming from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, France, Montenegro, Portugal, Rumania and Serbia, as well as representatives of RACVIAC and EUFOR. During the event, a comprehensive approach to the topic was adopted, relying on the experiences presented to the participants by distinguished speakers from the European Union with regard to different issues on the relation between the CSDP and national security and defence in the South East European (SEE) countries, lessons learned, future expectations and needs. The exchange of views with the lecturers from the EU has endorsed the implementation of the CSDP policy, as well as future and foreseeable cooperation on CSDP among the SEE countries.

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

27 Apr 2012

Vienna Document 2011 activity held in Germany

The Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, and the staff officer for CSE, LtCol Konstantinos Alexopoulos, attended the “2012 Contacts in Germany”- Vienna Document 2011 activity, held in Schleswig – Holstein, Germany from 23 -27 April 2012. The activity was organized as an event by which Germany fulfilled its obligations pursuant to the Vienna Document 2011, hosting 63 inspectors from 33 countries. Apart from them, RACVIAC, NATO and OSCE representatives took part in this event as well. This was the third event of such kind to be organized by the German Arms Control Verification Centre from 2006.

The event started on 23 April with a visit to the Jagel Air base at the 51 Reconnaissance Wing “Imelmann” and continued the following day with the demonstration of the new types of major weapon and equipment systems at Kai-Uwe von Hassel barracks at the Kropp and Jagel Air Base. Through the static and dynamic display, the German Federal Defence Force presented a new type of multirole armoured vehicle - GTK Boxer and UH Tiger, attack helicopter.

A visit to the Kiel Naval Base Command on 26 April was a complete novelty of this Vienna document activity. The Navy is excluded from the Vienna Document and so far only Italy, as one of the 56 signatory members, has granted a visit to the Navy facility on a voluntary basis.

Background: RACVIAC has been organizing intense VD 1999/2011 courses for the countries of the South East European region since 2001. This year’s course, held from 12 -16 March 2012, was the very first to be held after the new Vienna Document entered into force in December last year, with the updates made after twelve years.

20 Apr 2012

27th MAG & Budgetary Meeting held in Albania

The 27th MAG & Budgetary Meeting, the first semi-annual meeting of RACVIAC’s steering body - the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG) to take place after the new Agreement entered into force, was held in the Albanian town of Durres from 17 to 18 April 2012. The Meeting was organized by the MAG Chairmanship of Albania and it gathered the majority of MAG Member countries. As usual, the Budgetary Meeting was held on Tuesday, 17 April, and it gave MAG representatives the opportunity to discuss all relevant issues regarding RACVIAC’s Budget for 2011 and 2012, as well as projections for 2013 and beyond. On the following day the 27th MAG Meeting took place. It was officially opened by Brigadier General Zyber Dushku, Deputy Chief of General Staff of Albanian Armed Forces and the MAG Chairperson.

The Meeting Agenda consisted of a brief presentation of Director’s Annual Report 2011 provided by the Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, followed by the presentations on RACVIAC’s annual 2011 and 2012 programmes for each of RACVIAC’s three pillars, delivered by Lieutenant Colonel Stefan Miene, Mr Branko Kromar, M.Sc., and Mr Milan Janicijevic. In addition to that, Major Sasa Konjevic informed MAG about further steps to be taken with regard to the possibility for RACVIAC to serve as a regional platform for cyber security related activities. The last presentation was given by the Deputy Director, Colonel Zeljko Cepanec, who informed participants about the current financial issues in the functioning of RACVIAC, as well as about the current personnel situation in the Centre.

Since the term of duty of the current RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Todorcevksi is expiring in October 2012, upon the recommendation of Members, MAG approved the appointment of Ambassador Branimir Mandic, a nominee of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the new Director of RACVIAC in the period of October 2012 to October 2015.

Pursuant to the invitation by the MAG Chairperson, the representatives of Kosovo* took part in the MAG Meeting under Agenda Item AOB as special guests and expressed their interest in obtaining the Observer status in RACVIAC.

Chairman's Conclusions 27th MAG Meeting

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

13 Apr 2012

SEECP Defence Ministerial, April 2012, Belgrade

On 11 and 12 April 2012 in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, under the Serbian South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Chairmanship-in-Office, a SEECP Defence Ministerial Meeting was held. The Meeting focused on enhancing mutual cooperation in the region aimed at resolving the surplus arms and ammunition issues. The Meeting gathered defence ministers or deputy ministers from 11 countries, as well as representatives of 6 international and regional organizations. At the Meeting, RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, was represented by the Director, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, and Planning and Liaison Officer for South-eastern Europe, Major Sasa Konjevic.

The distinguished participants recognized the regional character of the surplus arms and ammunition issues. In that regard, satisfaction with RACVIAC’s performance in the past, particularly in terms of solving surplus arms and ammunition issues, was reiterated both in the Joint Statement and in individual addresses of the Meeting participants. Furthermore, support for, as well as high expectations from, RACVIAC’s future activities were expressed. Ambassador Todorcevski, in accordance with RACVIAC mission and goals, and in line with RACVIAC’s previous activities in the field of surplus arms and ammunition, expressed RACVIAC’s readiness to be a part of the implementation of the activities emanating from the Joint Statement of the SEECP Defence Ministerial Meeting. More information on the SEECP Defence Ministerial Meeting is available on the following link: http://www.mod.gov.rs/novi_eng.php?action=fullnews&id=3353

10 Apr 2012

Indonesian Ambassador visited RACVIAC

On 10 April 2012, H.E. Mr Agus Sardjana, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Republic of Croatia, accompanied by Mr Simson Ginting, Minister Counsellor, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. The occasion for the visit was the desire expressed by H.E. Mr Sardjana to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC's mission, aims and organization. The guests were welcomed by the Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski and senior RACVIAC staff members. In addition to the presentation on RACVIAC's history, organizational structure, mission and achievements given by RACVIAC's PR Officer, the Indonesian delegation and their hosts engaged in a very interesting discussion on RACVIAC's activities and plans for the future, particularly on the topics of irregular migration, climate change, etc. The Indonesian Ambassador extended his congratulations to RACVIAC for the great work which it has undertaken to assist strengthening of peace and stability in the region.

27 Mar 2012

Open Skies Course has started

The Open Skies Treaty – Aerial Observation Course, has started on 27 March at RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. This two-week Course has been organized in cooperation with Canada, Croatia, Germany and Hungary. The purpose of the Course is to train personnel from the South East European countries in planning, organizing and executing an Aerial Observation Mission based on the provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies, thereby increasing the administrative capacity in the field of security cooperation. The theoretical part of the Course is taking place at the RACVIAC facilities in Rakitje, while the practical part will be hosted by Croatia, the Pleso Airbase. As a significant contributor to the Course, Hungary made available the aircraft AN-26, certified for the purposes of the Open Skies Treaty (OST), for the observation flight training, which is going to be conducted over the territory of the Republic of Croatia. The event is financially supported by Canada and Germany. All of the countries involved have provided specialists who act as lecturers during the Course.

The Course is mainly designed for military personnel, members of Verification Agencies, who are involved or planed to be involved in the execution of the OST Missions. It has gathered five lecturers from Canada, Croatia, Germany and Hungary, as well as twelve participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. During the first week, participants will get an overview of the Open Skies Treaty, the most commonly followed rules and procedures in the execution of observation flights as well as an update on the latest developments in the implementation of the Treaty. During the second week of the Course, the observation flight and all of the related tasks will be carried out.

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

23 Mar 2012

Round Table on SSR and Gender conducted

RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, conducted a Round Table entitled “SSR and Gender: Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820” from 20 to 22 March in Maribor. This was the very first gender-related activity to be organized in RACVIAC, in support of RACVIAC’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) programme for the mid-term period which is, among other things, aimed at covering gender issues and the protection of human rights in general. The purpose of the Round Table was twofold. Firstly, it was aimed to bring together the representatives from South Eastern Europe (SEE) to discuss relevant general information on standards guiding the Security Sector Reform and gender with a main focus on the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, European standards and regional instruments in Europe. Secondly, the purpose was to encourage the participating representatives of the parliaments, ministries and NGOs from the SEE countries to share their experiences in implementing their Action Plans with the measures to strengthen the role of women in the area of security sector.

The Round Table gathered more than 40 participants, the representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Ministries of Defence, Ministries of Interior and Ministries of Security from the following countries: AL, BA, HR, ME, MK, RS, and SI, as well as the representatives from the public sector, experts from various national institutions and think-thanks. Highly competent speakers included: Ms Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik, Slovenian Ombudsperson for Human Rights Protection; Ms Marina Pendeš, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Hercegovina; Ms Ivis Nocka, Director, EU integration, Albanian Ministry of Defence; Ms Megan Bastick, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces; as well as the representatives of the Slovenian Government Office for Equal Opportunities, UN Women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, University of Maribor and Slovenian and Croatian Armed Forces.

Opened by Mr Peter Stavanja, State Secretary, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, this Round Table addressed relevant information on history and standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms guiding Security Sector Reform and gender and highlighted the gender perspective in the UN programming and reporting, as well as in peace support operations. Special attention was given to the representation of women at different levels of the decision-making process, especially in the security sector institutions. Last session was dedicated to the presentations of National Action Plans for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions in the SEE countries.

15 Mar 2012

RACVIAC held Vienna Document 2011 Compliance and Verification Course

From 13 to 15 March 2012, RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation held the “Vienna Document 2011: Efforts to Revitalise Confidence and Security Building, Compliance and Verification Course”, co-organized with the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Croatia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). RACVIAC has been organizing intense VD 1999 courses for the countries of the South East European region since 2001, but this particular course is the very first to be held after the new Vienna Document entered into force in December last year, with the updates made after twelve years.

Military and civilian experts, representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Verification Agencies dealing with Vienna Document took part in the course, coming from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Slovenia and Serbia. Lecturers included representatives from Austria, Croatia, Germany and the OSCE. The aim of the Vienna Document 2011 – Compliance and Verification Course was to introduce the participants to the new content of the Vienna Document 2011 in general, with a special focus on Article IX (Compliance and Verification), Inspection and Evaluation, giving a comprehensive, theoretical and practical analysis of the implementation of these activities.

The course, focusing on constraints and obligations arising from the aforementioned parts of the document, was designed as a combination of theoretical and practical activities. Thanks to the generous support of the Croatian Armed Forces, the participants had the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience and act as inspectors and escort team members during the evaluation visit to the Artillery Rocket Launcher Regiment in Bjelovar and inspection flight over the specified area provided by the 91st Air Base Pleso.

15 Mar 2012

USAF Air War College at RACVIAC

Yesterday, on the 14 of March 2012, RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation hosted 19 senior students from the USAF Air War College, accompanied by US Air Attaché to the Republic of Croatia, Lieutenant Colonel Sean J. Cantrell. The guests from the United States paid a visit to RACVIAC in the framework of their current study trip to Southeast Europe. Air War College students were welcomed by the Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, RACVIAC Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec and senior RACVIAC staff members. The guests were provided with a brief presentation on RACVIAC's history, mission, annual programme of activities, the completed process of transformation, new Agreement on RACVIAC and plans for the forthcoming period. Later on, all participants demonstrated a great deal of understanding through their to-the-point questions and comments during a lively Q&A session and a subsequent open discussion.

02 Mar 2012

RACVIAC delegation paid visit to NATO

On 1 and 2 March 2012, the RACVIAC delegation consisting of the Deputy Director, Colonel Zeljko Cepanec, and Planning and Liaison Officers, Colonel Ferdinand Klinser and Major Sasa Konjevic, visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The delegation met with the representatives of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, namely Head of Cyber Defence Section Mr Suleyman Anil, Senior Advisors Dr Deniz Yuksel-Beten and Mr Michael Gaul, and Ms Gabriela Horosanu, working in the Science for Peace and Security Programme. Possibilities of cooperation and partnership in organizing and carrying out cyber security related education and training activities were discussed. The Science for Peace and Security Programme was identified as a tool that could be used by NATO to provide support to RACVIAC in organizing high-level, policy-oriented cyber security related activities. The first of these activities might be organized in June 2012, with two follow-up activities organized by the end of 2012.
The RACVIAC delegation also had meetings with the missions of the Republic of Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina to NATO, as well as with the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Croatia to NATO, during which the RACVIAC delegation was honored to meet H.E. Branimir Jukic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to NATO, Ms Betty Bernardica Pavelich Sirois, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Croatia to NATO, and Mr Markus Weidinger, Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Austria to NATO. At the meetings, the RACVIAC delegation presented the ideas about RACVIAC’s role in the cyber security realm in the future, explained what kind of cooperation and partnership with NATO RACVIAC was striving to establish and how the delegation and missions could assist RACVIAC in this regard. Finally, it was concluded that RACVIAC’s ideas were positive, future-oriented and had the potential to be developed further, and that the delegation and the missions would support the ideas within their capacities.

01 Mar 2012

Norwegian Ambassador has visited RACVIAC

>The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to the Republic of Croatia H.E. Mr Henrik Ofstad visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 01 march 2012 in order to make personal acquaintance with the Centre. The distinguished guest was welcomed by Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski and senior RACVIAC staff members. The guest was provided with a brief presentation on RACVIAC's history, mission, annual programme of activities, the completed process of transformation and plans for the forthcoming period.
Ambassador Ofstad engaged in a very interesting discussion with RACVIAC Programme Managers on RACVIAC's activities and plans for the future enhanced cooperation. Since the Kingdom of Norway has been providing support to RACVIAC for years, allocating funds for the activities related to security sector reform and international and regional cooperation, the Norwegian ambassador availed himself of the opportunity to assure RACVIAC of Norway’s intention for an ongoing partnership, praising the role of RACVIAC in the process of stabilization and development of the South East European region.

01 Mar 2012

Good Governance Concept Seminar

>The Security Sector Reform - the Good Governance Concept Seminar was conducted at RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation from 28 - 29 February 2012. The purpose of the Seminar was to address and explain the Good Governance concept as one of the most important and most applicable concepts of the Security Sector Reform. The Seminar gathered more than 30 participants, parliament members and parliament committee staffers, military officers and civilian equivalents from the ministries of defence and armed forces as well as personnel from the ministries of foreign affairs and the interior from the South East European countries. Highly competent speakers came from the following organisations: Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) centre from Geneva; Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb; Institute for International Relations, Zagreb; Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana; Centre for Democracy, Good Governance and Local Development, Institute of Social Sciences “Ivo Pilar”, Zagreb; Belgrade Centre for Security Policy and Security and Defence Committee, Parliament of Montenegro.
Opening the Seminar, Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, emphasized that “the Good Governance concept was a driving force for democratic changes in South East Europe, while this concept was closely related to the concept of human security and the two make perfect tools for achieving both external and internal security.“ This Seminar provided necessary knowledge and focus on the Good Governance concept, as well as the aims and means of its implementation, to the officials engaged at various levels and in different forms in governing national resources, including drafting and passing laws, planning and executing defence budgets, managing human resources, managing agencies, encouraging civil society actions, leading public sector actors and alike. The Seminar participants engaged in very comprehensive discussions on several topics, such as: Good Governance Concept implications for the Security Sector and for Security Sector Reform; Implementation of the Good Governance principle in the environment of transition; Good Governance as an organisational or system issue; Effects of the implementation of the Good Governance principle on improved security of the society by way of law making procedures etc.

25 Feb 2012

MAG POCs meeting conducted

>In order to discuss some current issues and to make the necessary preparations for the forthcoming 27th MAG Meeting, scheduled for April 2011 in Albania, the MAG Point of Contacts (POCs) meeting took place on 25 February 2012 in RACVIAC. The Meeting gathered 17 participants representing relevant ministries from 14 MAG countries, namely from: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey, as well as RACVIAC’s Management and staff.
During the Meeting, the participants were provided with the updates on the 2012 Programme and projections for the period 2013 - 2015, current financial and personnel situation at RACVIAC and the recommendations of the Internal Multinational Working Group on cost-savings measures, audit procedures and measures for stable financing. Special attention was given to the lack of seconded personnel and fulfilment of the Member Countries’ obligations in that regard. The participants agreed that such working meetings of the MAG POCs could ease the way to better and more comprehensive discussions during the annual assemblies.

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

21 Feb 2012

RACVIAC Director visited Croatian Minister of Defence

RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, paid an inaugural visit to the Defence Minister of the Republic of Croatia on 21 February 2012. Ambassador Todorcevski congratulated Minister Ante Kotromanovic on the appointment pointing out that RACVIAC owes a particular debt of gratitude to the Republic of Croatia for its initial efforts and uninterrupted assistance as well as commitment to fulfilling the Centre’s mission in the past eleven years. He took this opportunity to express his genuine appreciation to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia in particular for the outstanding and considerable ongoing support to RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, not only in terms of finances but also in terms of the secondment of personnel.
Taking into account RACVIAC's mission and role in the region, the Defence Minister Kotromanović availed himself of this opportunity to emphasize and praise the role of RACVIAC in the process of stabilization and development of the Southeast European region, as well as to reassure RACVIAC of the Ministry’s intention for an ongoing partnership. Both officials share the opinion on the need for continuing efforts to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters and to accelerate the Euro-Atlantic integration processes in the countries of Southeast Europe.

21 Feb 2012

RACVIAC opened a new programme year with the Chemical Weapons Convention Seminar

The Chemical Weapons Convention Seminar, co-organized with the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has started today in RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation. This Seminar, the eighth one on this topic, is a continuation of the fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC, the Federal Republic of Germany and the OPCW in promoting regional stability, transparency and trust. The Seminar has gathered more than 30 participants, civilian and military officials, from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Turkey, as well as lecturers from the OPCW. Once again, the Australian Ambassador to Croatia, H.E. Ms Beverly Mercer, made a contribution to this Seminar as a lecturer, introducing the Australian Group Initiative. At this year’s Seminar, in addition to the overview on the CWC and the OPCW current status, tasks, activities and challenges, particular attention has been given to Article X of the CWC related to the activities of assistance and protection against chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals. Special attention has also been paid to the national protection programmes in the countries of the sub-region, problems and developments in this area, as well as to inspection and verification activities and procedures. The Seminar is assessed as one of the most successful and fruitful activities organized by RACVIAC CSE Pillar in the recent past. The capacity of the RACVIAC Centre to continue with the implementation of the adopted program of activities has also been strongly supported by the committed efforts of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Division for Conventional Disarmament and Arms Control, regional chemical weapons specialists, high-profiled experts from the OPCW and RACVIAC CSE Pillar staff, which are very much appreciated. RACVIAC will continue promoting the CWC in all appropriate international and regional forums as part of the capacity-building process in the SEE countries we stand committed to.

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

14 Feb 2012

Germany and RACVIAC signed Financial Agreement

On 14 February 2012, H.E. Mr Bernd Fischer, German Ambassador to Croatia, and the Director of RACVIAC, Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, signed the Financial Agreement between RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation and Federal Republic of Germany for the year 2012.With this Agreement, the Federal Republic of Germany allocated 72.000,00 Euro which will be used to support seminars, courses and workshops included in the RACVIAC “Programme of Activities 2012” mainly within RACVIAC’s Cooperative Security Environment (CSE) with focus on Arms Control Pillar. It is worth mentioning that in addition to the financial contribution, the Federal Republic of Germany supports RACVIAC with one staff officer seconded to the Centre as well as with a number of highly competitive experts in a wide range of security issues. RACVIAC Director, Ambassador Todorčevski, acknowledged the cooperation with Germany as a mainstay of progress and security of the SEE region for over a decade. He pointed out that “RACVIAC very much appreciates the German contribution, provided to the Centre not only in its establishment phase in 2000 and later, but also in the latest phase of its transformation and consolidation as a Centre for Security Cooperation in South East Europe.“ Therewith, RACVIAC and Germany significantly contributed to enhancing trust and cooperation on security issues among the countries in the region.

27 Jan 2012

Working meeting with SEESAC representatives in Belgrade

On 27 January 2012, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Nikola Todorcevski, accompanied by LtCol Stefan Miene, RACVIAC Programme Manager for Cooperative Security Environment, met with representatives of the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) in Belgrade. RACVIAC delegation was hosted by Mr Ivan Zverzhanovski, SEESAC Team Leader a.i., Ms Bojana Balon, WPON Project Manager, and Ms Iva Savic, SEESAC Communications Officer. The purpose of the meeting, agreed upon during bilateral talks initiated by RACVIAC, was to discuss the annual programme of activities developed by the two Centres respectively, as well as the possibilities of continued cooperation. The delegations consider the meeting to be a traditional and beneficial one, which should represent a platform for regular data exchange and harmonization of planned activities in the region.It is the shared intention of SEESAC and RACVIAC to coordinate their efforts within the framework of the tasks established by their respective steering bodies in order to make a significant impact on countering the uncontrolled use of SALW and on the issues of improving stockpiling ammunition and weapons. The interlocutors declared their willingness to open new areas of cooperation within the national programmes of SEE countries for security sector reform and pursued the objective of developing a regional approach to strengthening security and stability in the region.

24 Jan 2012

H.E. Valdet Sadiku visited RACVIAC

The Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Mr Valdet Sadiku, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on 24th January 2012. The occasion of the visit to RACVIAC was the desire expressed by H.E. to make personal acquaintance with RACVIAC’s mission, aims and organization. The guest was welcomed by the Director of RACVIAC Ambassador Nikola Todorčevski, RACVIAC Deputy Director Colonel Željko Cepanec and senior RACVIAC staff members. They provided the distinguished guest with a brief overview of RACVIAC’s history, mission, annual programme of activities, the completed process of transformation, the new Agreement on RACVIAC, which was ratified recently, and the plans for the forthcoming period. Mr Sadiku praised the role of RACVIAC in the process of security cooperation and stabilization of the South East European region.

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