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On Thursday 19 May 16, Commander EUFOR, Major General Friedrich SCHRÖTTER visited the military unit "Tehnička radionica za održavanje municije" (TROM) in Doboj to witness the important work they conduct in support of destroying obsolete ammunition as part of Project EXPLODE. This visit was also attended by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Project Manager, Mr. Slobodan BOŠKOVIĆ, and the Deputy Commander of the Support Command of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH), Brigadier General Gojko KNEŽEVIĆ.

BiH still has a substantial amount of unstable military ammunition. A large part of this was poorly stored and maintained. The presence of unstable ammunition in BiH could cause public safety concerns, and is potential risk to a Safe and Secure Environment. It also constitutes a financial and administrative burden to the AFBiH. The governance and overall control of arms depots, and weapons inspections remains firmly with the competent authorities of BiH. However, it is in the interest of everybody concerned that management and disposal occurs following a safe and secure process.

Project EXPLODE, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP, strongly supports the TROM team to tackle this challenge. EUFOR’s Mission Operation ALTHEA, and other International Community partners will continue to assist both the BiH Ministry of Defence and AF. This consists of technical advice and subject matter expert support, in order to build the capacity of the Armed Forces of BiH, and to manage existing excessive stockpiles of ammunition and weapons. EUFOR also strives to ensure that a continued Safe and Secure Environment is maintained.

Commander EUFOR said: “The disposal of ammunition requires not only good guidance for the effective disposal, it also requires a realistic plan – directed and managed by the Armed Forces of BiH”. He went on to say: “The EU Special Representative to BiH, EUFOR, and the International Community assist to further development best standards to deal with this challenge in the safest and fastest possible way”.

Destruction of unsafe ammunition at the AFBiH “May 3rd” Barracks in TROM Doboj

Destruction of unsafe ammunition at the AFBiH “May 3rd” Barracks in TROM Doboj. Photo: WOII Martin Austerhuber

Project EXPLODE activities include: destroying high hazard ammunition and complex weapon systems; supporting the Armed Forces of BiH in the reduction of military ammunition stockpiles to manageable quantities; conducting training for senior military officers to build their capacities; and implementing infrastructure upgrades to improve the safety and storage conditions of military weapons and ammunition storage depots. The Project is also implemented in partnership with the BiH Ministry of Defence, the EU Special Representative to BiH, the UNDP, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Commander EUFOR also said: “The end-state and desired outcome is transparent stockpile reduction of ammunition and weapons, and the introduction of a sustainable ammunition and weapons life-cycle management system”. He also stated: “To ensure this is achieved as safely, quickly and effectively as possible, EUFOR will continue to cooperate closely with the AFBiH and with important units such as TROM Doboj. EUFOR, and the supporting International Community, will also continue to provide a positive contribution”.

EUFOR continues to support this important work. Particularly through its special assistance for weapons and ammunition disposal and Capability Building and Training Division – in support of a safe and secure environment here in BiH.
In March 2008, the "Agreement on Final Disposal of All Rights and Obligations over Moveable Property that will continue to serve Defence Purposes" (the Doboj Agreement), transferred the ownership of all moveable defence property, including all weapons, ammunition and explosives to the state of BiH (Ministry of Defence). This agreement was brokered by NATO HQ Sarajevo, and addressed all moveable defence property, including the surplus. The Agreement outlines a clear institutional framework for disposing of surplus: it tasks the MOD to prepare inventories/lists of surplus weapons and ammunition for disposal through sale, donation and destruction.

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