“The EU Military Committee believes that EUFOR is essential in sustaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina”
On the 30th and 31st of January the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (CEUMC), General Mikhail Kostarakos, paid a visit to key personnel and institutions relating to Operation Althea in Sarajevo. He was accompanied by Lieutenant General Günter Höfler, the EU Austrian Military Representative; Rear Admiral Gluszko Waldemar, the Deputy Director General of EU Military Staff; and Brigadier General Arnaud Ladrange, the EU Deputy French Military Representative.
General Kostarakos started his visit by attending a meeting in the Defence Ministry with the Minister of Defence, Mrs Marina Pendeš and Chief of the Joint Staff, General Anto Jeleč. He then proceeded to a subsequent appointment with Commander NATO Forces Sarajevo, Brigadier General Giselle Wilz. The formal events of the first day completed with a discussion in the EU building with the EU Special Representative to BiH, Mr Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.
Minister Pendeš said:
“"This meeting and the visit by General Kostarakos are an indication that the EU sees BiH and its Armed Forces as partners, and that the EU forces see the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a partner. This is also a positive message to the MoD and AF BiH and all the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina ".
On the second day, the delegation travelled to EUFOR HQ, Camp Butmir where they were welcomed by an Honour Guard made up of Austrian and Turkish soldiers from the EUFOR Multinational Battalion. After a series of briefs from EUFOR branch Chiefs, CEUMC met one-on-one with Commander EUFOR, Major General Friedrich Schrötter for their final appointment in-theatre prior to the change of EUFOR Command in March 2017, where they discussed EUFOR’s role in the future of BiH.
General Kostorakos said of the visit:
“This has been an excellent opportunity to share views on the current situation and the future of our very constructive partnership. I hope in the future there will be serious improvements in the defence reform of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have been assured that the EU agenda remains a strategic priority for the country. The EU Military Committee commends the work of the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and believes that EUFOR HQ is essential in sustaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
EUFOR Operation Althea, currently made up of soldiers from 15 EU member states and 5 partner nations, works closely with the MoD, conducting capacity building and training throughout the country to promote a climate where the peace process can continue to move forward. The objective being that AFBiH will operate autonomously without the requirement for international assistance. EUFOR is fully committed to support BiH “on its path to a European future” and remains a vital enabling actor in the development and maintenance of a safe and secure environment.
The EU Military Committee was established in 2001 and is composed of the Chiefs of Defence of the Member States. It is the highest military body within the Council of Europe and provides advice and recommendations to the Political and Security Committee on all military matters within the EU. During an operation, the EUMC monitors the proper execution of military operations conducted under the responsibility of the Operation Commander.
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