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First biometric passports issued

20th October 2009

Nezavisne novine: First 427 biometric passports have been issued yesterday in BiH and more than 2.000 requests have been submitted, has been said yesterday by Siniša Macan, director of the Identification Documents, Data Exchange and Evidence Agency of BiH.

He has added that all the citizens, who have submitted their requests from Thursday, will receive biometric passports during this or next week, while explaining the main difference between the new and old passports and pointing out that the safety is now much better, and possibility of misuses has been reduced to a minimum.

Sredoje Nović, Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH, has said that there were many obstructions in BiH in introducing the passports and has called the entity parliaments to immediately adopt the law on electronic master registries.

"Each excuse of not doing it is an attack on issuing and security of biometric passports and it can also influence the answer of the EU Expert Commission, which will evaluate the liberalization of visa regime with BiH", Nović has warned.

Nikola Špirić, chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, has said that we should not forget the disagreements that were an obstacle to the introduction of biometric passports, but that in the upcoming period we should promote that success, in order for the report of the European Commission to be positive.

"This is a very important day for all the citizens of BiH and issuing biometric passports was one of the most important conditions for the citizens of BiH. I hope that the EC will notice the success of this country, and my goal and the goal of my cabinet is to do everything in order for the BiH citizens to come to the white Schengen", Špirić has said.

Nović has said that 160 institutions at 320 locations are connected into the system, and that BiH has succeeded to introduce new passports in a pretty short time.

Mustafa Mujezinović, Prime Minister of the FBiH, has said that this is one of the most important steps towards the liberalization of visa regime.

"Liberalization will mostly be of an importance for the economy and businessmen, because it seems to me that they are the ones, who mostly suffer due to visas. It is hard for everyone, but many businessmen give up their business travels due to the procedures they have to go through", he has said.

Nović has yesterday handed in to Špirić and Mujezinović symbolic samples of biometric passports, without a legal validity. The same will also be received by the Prime Minister of the RS, Milorad Dodik, Commissioner for enlargement of the EU, Olli Rehn, as well as the chief of the European Commission Delegation in BiH, Dmitris Kourkoulas and the High Representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko.

Macan has reminded that the price of new travel documents will be 40 KM and that those, who have been stopping issuing of passports lately, have been doing it by themselves.

"There were no reasons for the process to be stopped. Everyone, who was doing it, was not doing in on the basis of any kind of act, but based on their own decisions", Macan has said. He has also explained that a deadline for the introduction of biometric passports is the end of the year, and that the adoption of all bylaw acts has been stipulated by then.

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