„My most difficult task and my greatest success was that I did not allow the City of Sarajevo to be closed down as an institution, even though it was desired by some people“, stressed Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić at the traditional press conference held today at the City Hall.
Looking at the results achieved since he resumed office on March 27, 2013, Komšić said that he inherited debt of two and a half million BAM, which amounted to tri million by the end of that year. „If we compare this debt to the amount of the grant allocated by Sarajevo Canton of 5 million BAM, we can see that it is more than half that amount“ stressed Komšić.
„However, in 2014 came an even greater shock. At the beginning of April of that year Sarajevo Canton stopped financing us completely. The grant was cancelled which was justified by the Federal Law on Public Revenue, which excluded the City of Sarajevo from the budget as a local self-government unit. We found ourselves in a vacuum between obligations of the Canton and the Federation. We were left to ourselves.” said Komšić.
“As the Mayor I was faced with the fact that Sarajevo, as the country’s capital city was about to be closed down. I invested the greatest possible efforts to save the status of the City of Sarajevo as the country’s capital city and to secure its financing. And I succeeded. You are the witnesses that the City of Sarajevo was not closed down. We did not lock the doors. We won the appeal against Federation at the Constitutional Court. Therefore, from December 2015 the City of Sarajevo’s finances are stable.” stressed the Mayor.
He was proud to say that he managed to secure the survival of Sarajevo as the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its international promotion.
“Thanks to the exceptional international cooperation that we carried out during these four years, I am pleased to say that today the City of Sarajevo is a very desirable partner internationally. Its reputation was enhanced, we are receiving twinning request on daily basis, and this is followed by donations”, said the city’s leading man.
In the part of the press conference that followed, looking back at the projects implemented for the past few years Komšić mentioned the opening of the City Hall.
“That was my project, even though there was some ill-intentioned criticism. I brought the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as a present to Sarajevo and its citizens. If it had not been opened on May 9, 2014, its facade would be littered with graffiti, its windows smashed, and drug addicts would occupy its basements”, said Komšić adding that the City Hall has now become a multimedia cultural centre of the City of Sarajevo and the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sarajevo was one of few cities which did not have a cycle lane. “We would not be able to construct it without the heads of Sarajevo municipalities, the Ministry of Traffic of Sarajevo Canton and Directorate for Roads. In the forthcoming period it will stretch all the way to Bentbaša. Another important project that we worked on was the setting up of signposts at tram stops as information to tourists” reminded Komšić.
When it comes to Trebević Cable Car, the City only managed to obtain the building rights in January this year. “The designs have been completed, and the Italian company Leitner is already making the necessary parts for the cable car in its factory. We will have one of the best cable cars in the world because it is built by the best company” stressed the Mayor.
Mayor Komšić also mentioned EYOF as one of the most important projects. He pointed out that it is an important project because it will gather 1500 participants, 5000 guests and require involvement of all levels of government. He further mentioned that not a single state institution wanted to support this project, the organisation of which costs 6 million Euros.
“We secured the funds for that project. Now, at my great insistence, other state bodies also decided to support it. This event can no longer be brought into question. The Youth Olympic Festival will take place in 2019” stressed Mayor Komšić.
Considering that many discussions were raised concerning the 2017 public New Year’s Eve celebration in Sarajevo, Komšić said that a contract has been signed with Magaza Ltd. to whose account payment will be made for organization of the New Year’s Eve celebration. The city of Sarajevo allocated 100.000 BAM and the Sarajevo Canton 150.000 BAM for this purpose.
The renowned British newspapers the Guardian has made up a list of European cities to visit this winter, including the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
„In this cruel world, Sarajevo is a reminder that bad things can turn out for the better. This once magnificent bastion of integration and multicultural glow rose from the ashes which had befallen it from 1992 to 1995 during the siege, and it is now a blooming and fascinating destination. Narrow streets of Baščaršija, the old town, are teeming with good cafes, and you can find accommodation at a reasonable price. Hostels such as Balkan Han, the Doctor House and Franz Ferdinand offer accommodation from 11 to 32 Euros per night” reports Guardian.
The Guardian singled out the reconstructed City Hall and Svrzo’s House, a grand museum reminiscent of the atmosphere of 18th century Sarajevo. It also recommends visiting the Tunnel and Museum of Hope, which served as the only exit for citizens of Sarajevo during the dark war days.
“For dinner you can visit Cakum-pakum and enjoy in the taste of legendary pancakes. Just like at the time of the Winter Olympics which were held in Sarajevo in 1984, you can go skiing and snowboarding on Mountain Bjelašnica, 20 km away from the city. We also recommend Mountain Jahorina at the southeast of the country”.
Apart from Sarajevo, this list also includes: Baden-Baden, Germany; Poprad, Slovakia; Zagreb, Croatia; Tromso, Norway; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Memmingen, Germany; Sibia, Romania; Poznan, Poland and Are-Östersund in Sweden.
Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić received the non-resident Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Sean O’Regan for an introductory visit.
Mayor Komšić informed the Ambassador about the constitutional and legal status of the city of Sarajevo and wished him a successful mandate.
Ambassador O’ Regan stressed that he has special emotions for our country and that the capital city of the Republic of Ireland has a sizeable Bosnian and Herzegovinian community expressing his wish for establishing cooperation between the two countries.
On this occasion, the Mayor suggested the possibility to establish cooperation between Sarajevo and Dublin.
Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić received today the newly appointed Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Andrea Rauber Saxer and whished her a successful mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the continuation of the good cooperation between the City of Sarajevo and the Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mayor Komšić and Ambassador Rauber Saxer agreed that the present cooperation between the City of Sarajevo and Swiss Confederation was very successful and expressed their hope that it will continue in the future. The Ambassador especially emphasized the cooperation in the project „Reactivate Sarajevo“ and presented the Mayor with the invitation to visit the exhibition entitled „Sarajevo now: people’s museum“ by Urban-Think Tank of ETH Zurich and Baier Bischofberger Architects which will be on display until January 31, 2017.
Mayor Komšić thanked the Embassy for the assistance which the Swiss Confederation provided in the past and which it continues to provide, especially for the donation of the cable car equipment from Grächen.
The Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić and his Deputy Abdulah Skaka received an introductory visit from the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Haldun Koç. The Mayor wished the Ambassador a successful mandate in Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed his desire for the good cooperation between Bosnia and Turkey and their cities to continue. Ambassador Koç thanked the City officials on their cordial welcome, stressing the support and solidarity shown by the City of Sarajevo during the attempted military coup in Turkey on the night of July 15.
During the meeting, the emphasis was put on the cooperation between the two countries in generating climate that would result in joint projects at the local level
Mayor Komšić thanked the Republic of Turkey and the City of Erzurum for showing their sincere friendship and taking over the hosting of the European Youth Olympic Festival 2017.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the City of Sarajevo was presented today at the Hall of Ceremonies in the Sarajevo City Hall in the presence of many media representatives.
The Memorandum will be the basis for the establishment of the Sarajevo Information Centre, which will provide updated, direct and secure electronic access to the public records of the ICTY and archive materials contained in online data basis of the ICTY. The Centre will also have educational, research, museum, archive and publishing purposes.
After greeting the guests the Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić said that through the establishment of this centre, the City of Sarajevo intends to give a tangible contribution to facing up to the past, peace building and reconciliation.
„This is a historical moment for our city and country because we will be getting one of the most important archives, enabling us to establish the truth about the events which took place in the 1990s. Without that truth we cannot build peace and stability of our country that is to say better future“ said Mayor Komšić.
The Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Mr. Fausto Pocar stressed the importance of today’s event.
“There is still a lot of work to be done until the Centre is established, but the important thing is that the materials which were gathered for twenty years will be accessible to the public, and not just to researchers and historians”, said Pocar, adding that people who were directly affected by the war will have access to the records and be able to see not just the actual final judgements from the material, but also the memories and testimonies of people talking about the truth and what had really happened.”
Judge Pocar said that for now this will be the only centre, however the idea is to open several similar centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region – Croatia and Serbia. He also said that one centre will be opened in Srebrenica.
The spokesman of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Nenad Golčevski said that the users of the first Information Centre, which will be established in Sarajevo, will have access to over 400 000 documents from court cases tried before the Tribunal.
“Those records are a direct testimony of the crimes and they include more than 3 000 video footage made at the time the crimes were committed. They also contain photographs made at that time, artefacts, items found at the crime scenes, mass graves etc.” stressed Golčevski.
The Mayor of Sarajevo Ivo Komšić and Mayor of Tehran Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf signed the Sister City Agreement between Sarajevo and Tehran in the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Namely, at its 43rd session held on October 26, 2016, the Sarajevo City Council adopted the Decision Establishing cooperation between Sarajevo and Tehran. The Agreement was signed with the aim to promote and strengthen friendly ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and establish and expand cooperation between the capital cities of the two countries.
According to plan the two cities will exchange experiences and information in the field of culture, tourism, urbanism and architecture, administration of city infrastructure, traffic and environmental protection.
„The signing of this Agreement is a confirmation of the traditional friendship and ties between Tehran and Sarajevo. Based on that agreement both parties express their readiness to take a more active role in expanding cultural, scientific and trade relations“, said Mayor Komšić.
„In our capacities as mayors of Tehran and Sarajevo we are engaged in creating good mutual ties and relations between the two countries Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the two cities Tehran and Sarajevo. Actually, the message of sister city relations consists of both the elements of cultural exchange and the aim of promotion of urban management and quality of life of citizens of both cities“ said Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.
On this occasion Mayor Komšić met with prominent personalities from different fields, the President of the Islamic City Council Mehdi Chamran and Deputy of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, H.E. Ambassador Morteza Rahmani Movahed. Furthermore, a meeting was held with the representatives of the Association of Bosnian-Iranian Friendship.
The Mayor of Sarajevo visited the Centre for Traffic Control and Metro Transportation Services and Tehran City Observatory. Also, he attended the closing ceremony of Tehran Globe Adobe, and on that occasion discussed the possibility of cooperation in different fields of urban management.
This visit once again demonstrated the friendly relations which exist between Sarajevo and Tehran, and the Mayor was received at the highest level. After the visit at the state level, this visit goes to show the clear desire to improve the cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran at all levels.
Deputy Mayor Abdulah Skaka received members of the Women’s Association Bosna Sanjak from Istanbul, who are visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the meeting they discussed the possibilities of establishing sister relations between a school from Istanbul and Dobrinja Gymnasium with the goal of strengthening ties between Bosniacs in Sarajevo and Istanbul, as well as preserving the Bosnian language among the younger generation.
Furthermore, within the framework of this visit the Women’s Association visited the school for children with disabilities in Sarajevo and donated equipment necessary for work with autistic children.
Based on the agreement made in Istanbul with the representatives of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Department for Culture, Deputy Mayor Skaka suggested the cooperation between Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, City of Sarajevo and Association Bosna Sanjak with the goal of organizing the Sarajevo and Bosnia Days of Culture in Istanbul, and pointed out that assistance of the Association in the organization of this cultural event would be of great significance.