On 20 December 2013, Lieutenant-General André Blattmann, paid a visit to EUFOR Headquarters in Camp BUTMIR, SARAJEVO. As Chief of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General André Blattmann is responsible for command and control of the Swiss Armed Forces and their development. He directs the Land Forces and the Air Force, the Armed Forces College, the Logistics Organisation, the Command Support Organisation as well as the Armed Forces Staff and the Armed Forces Joint Staff.
Lt Gen Blattmann was accompanied by H.E. Dr. André Schaller, the Swiss Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Mr. Fredy Fässler, Member of the Cantonal Government of St. Gallen, Colonel (GS) Fredy Keller, Commander SWISSINT, Colonel (GS) Christian Lanz, Special Advisor for Security Policy to the Chief of Defence (CHOD), Colonel (GS) Benedikt Roos, Military Advisor to CHOD and Mrs. Claudia Beuss, Deputy Head of Mission Swiss Embassy.
Before attending an office call with Commander EUFOR, Major General Dieter Heidecker, the guests were briefed by the Swiss Senior National Representative, Major Luca Govi, and the Special Advisor on Weapons and Ammunition Disposal (SAWAD) to COM EUFOR, Colonel (GS) Martin Trachsler.
General Heidecker informed the visitors about the latest developments within the country and EUFOR’s activities in the area of capacity building and training, support to local institutions and Law Enforcement Agencies as well as the BiH Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH). EUFOR also has a special focus on projects related to the large amount of ammunition that is stored in warehouses of the AF BiH. In that context, he thanked Ambassador Andre Schaller for a donation consisting of four prefabricated buildings, generators and other related equipment by Switzerland together with the Embassy of the United States to the BiH Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces for the purpose of conducting inspections of ammunition and explosive ordnance. General Heidecker stressed that every effort to support the AF BiH to secure hazardous materials and to get rid of the huge stocks, some 17,000 tons of obsolete ammunition and dangerous substances that pose a threat to the citizens, is highly appreciated and supported by EUFOR. The allocation by the Swiss government of 150,000 Swiss francs for de-mining of approximately 200,000 metres of land near the centre of a local returnee community in LANISTE near BRCKO was also commended by COM EUFOR.
COM EUFOR also praised the high standard of the Swiss troops serving in EUFOR, highlighting their highly appreciated contributions by manning the Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) Houses in TREBINJE and MOSTAR and providing staff officers for HQ EUFOR.
General Blattmann congratulated EUFOR for playing a successful role in safeguarding the country and in helping the local institutions to meet international standards. The visit also provided the Chief of Defence Staff with the opportunity to meet with his troops and to receive a firsthand update on the individual tasks carried out by the Swiss members of the Operation ALTHEA Mission.
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