AWE Masterplan moves forward with the inclusion of surplus weapons for a Safe and Secure BiH

The 14th session of the Strategic Committee for Ammunition, Weapons and Explosives (AWE) was hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Sarajevo on Monday, December 5, 2016 in order to discuss the Masterplan aimed at solving the issue of surplus weapons, ammunition and explosives in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The session was chaired by Deputy Minister Jerinić and co-chaired by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ambassador Jonathan Moore and the permanent members of the committee and representatives of the Joint Commission for Defence and Security of the BiH Parliament. Other attending members included COMEUFOR Major General Schrötter, COM NATO Sa Brigadier General Wilz and permanent members of the committee from the international organizations: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as representatives of embassies in BiH (The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden).

The committee approved EUFOR Col Trachsler’s proposal to include the plan for 60,000 surplus weapons in the AWE Masterplan. The plan was agreed in the OSCE and EUFOR hosted “Weapon Workshop” which sat last week.

Project EXPLODE and Project SECUP were reported to have completed in 2016. Mr Tarik Učanbarlić from UNDP briefed on Project EXPLODE whose activities include destroying high hazard ammunition and complex weapon systems and supporting the Armed Forces of BiH in the reduction of military ammunition stockpiles to manageable quantities. It also delivered training for senior military officers to build their capacities; and implement infrastructure upgrades to improve the safety and storage conditions of military weapons and ammunition storage depots. This project will now move on to the next phase, Project EXPLODE +, which will commence early 2017. Mr Paul Martin from OSCE briefed on Project SECUP (Security Upgrade) which also completed in 2016 and concerned the upgrading of security around the 30 storage sites in BiH.

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Delegates at the 14th Strategic Committee for weapons

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 AF BiH. 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.

COMEUFOR concluded by saying, “EUFOR will continue supporting the MoD and AF BiH in further development of procedures for storage and infrastructure. 2016 has been a successful year for both UNDP and OCSE with the completion of two major projects which have contributed greatly towards improving the SASE in BiH. The International Community has agreed on the Ammunition Weapons and Explosives Master Plan co-ordinated by EUFOR which MOD BiH has accepted today and will be implemented early in 2017.”
EUFOR will continue to assist, both the Ministry of Defence and AF BiH with technical advice, and subject matter expert support, within means and capabilities.

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