In order to mark the official start of “Exercise Quick Response 2013” on 15 April 2013 all participants were formally welcomed and addressed by the Commander EUFOR, Major General Dieter HEIDECKER, and EUFOR Chief of Staff, Brigadier General József SZPISJÁK. This small ceremony took place inside ARCHER BASE, the Black Hawk helicopter hangar inside Camp BUTMIR. General Heidecker highlighted the importance of the role that EUFOR has still to play and thanked all participating nations for their valuable support and commitment. General Szpisják expressed his sincere appreciation of the excellent work demonstrated by his staff that had paved the way for a successful start of the exercise. A total of approximately 800 personnel will be actively involved in the conduct of the exercise.

Since EUFOR took over from SFOR in December 2004, it has been able to guarantee peace and to maintain a safe and secure environment - thus contributing to increased stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). When in September 2012 the number of troops deployed in EUFOR Operation ALTHEA was reduced it was done in recognition of the significant improvement in security in this country and the increasing role played by BiH authorities. Secondly, those reductions were conducted in the knowledge that, if needed, EUFOR can rapidly deploy Over the Horizon Forces to sustain security and safety. In order to train and test this key capability, such deployments are rehearsed on a regular basis.

This year’s largest such operational rehearsal has already put into practice a successfully activation and a quick deployment and integration of two light infantry companies, one from the UK and the other from Hungary, into the EUFOR structure. The first part of the training phase will take place between 18 -20 April in the location of Camp BUTMIR, SARAJEVO and nearby at RAJLOVAC barracks.

EUFOR, during a separate phase of the exercise and under a fictitious Peace Support Operation (PSO) scenario, will positively engage also a unit from the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH) with the aim to further enhance their professional training and international interoperability. This training phase will include a company and key elements of the AF BiH and commences on 20 April. It will take place at in the areas of KALINOVIK and PAZARIC and will include a display of combined military capability to distinguished visitors and representatives of local and international media at PAZARIC Barracks on 25 April 2013. It is geared to ensure the AF BiH will gain further experience in working together with international military units and to continue to develop as a modern armed force at the level required for Euro-Atlantic integration.

EUFOR’s robust capacity building and training program is also designed to strengthen the BiH Armed Forces and that its military personnel to have the capacity and skill to deploy and positively contribute to international missions overseas. In addition to its military operations, EUFOR is supporting the normalization process and the Rule of Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina in close co-ordination with the International Community and International Organizations and last but not least EUFOR remains committed to helping the law enforcement authorities in their fight against organize crime and corruption in BiH. EUFOR Exercise Quick Response 2013 will come to a close on 27 April 2013.

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Chief Press Officer:
Lt Col Otmar Lindner
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Lt Cdr Gareth Jones RN
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