Tuesday, October 30, 2007


MOSTAR, Bosnia (October 30,2007) – The Ortijes base near the southern Bosnian city of Mostar is now in the hands of the Bosnian Army. This ended the the European Union Force (EUFOR) 12-years-long presence in Mostar.

The French Ambassador to Bosnia attended the ceremony, together with the Bosnian Ministry of Defence representatives and other high officials.

The Bosnian Defence Minister Selmo Cikotic stated that the ceremony symbolizes taking over responsibility for stability, safety and future of Bosnia.

He expressed gratitude to the members of French, Morocco, German, Italian and Spanish troops who contributed stabilization and peace in the region.

The French Ambassador to Bosnia Maryse Berniau thanked the Bosnian Defence Minister and all his associates who helped the process of handing over the base to the Bosnian Army. She greeted the Mayor of Mostar and added she did not want to forget about the close ties made with the administration and citizens of Mostar.

”Twelve years after the formation of the ‘Salamander’ division in Mostar, we are happy to be able to hand over the base to the Bosnian authorities”, Maryse Berniau said.

She added that a lot of money was invested into the reconstruction of the base and that the base and its surroundings are mines-free. She emphasized that all the activities were performed in accordance with the European environmental standards.

Ambassador Berniau emphasized that some of the French troops will return to France and that about 150 French soldiers will stay in Bosnia as members of the EUFOR.

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