Friday, October 26, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 26,2007) – 3.500 potential users have so far applied for assistance as part of the NATO/PFP Trust Fund for taking care of “surplus” members of the Bosnian Armed Forces.5,8 million Euros has been ensured for these purposes.

This was stated at a press conference held in Sarajevo yesterday by the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bosnia Karel Vosskuhler on behalf of the lead nations of the NATO Trust Fund, together with Head of the International Organisation or Migrations (IOM) Regina Boucault and the Bosnian Deputy Defence Minister Marina Pendes.

They said that activities on social reintegration of professional soldiers and civilians in service in the Bosnian Armed Forces who have been dismissed in the meantime are going in accordance with the planned pace and that 3.261 persons, out of 6.000 dismissed between 2004 and 2006, have so far been covered by certain forms of assistance provided by the NATO Trust Fund.

Ambassador Vosskuhler underlined the importance of this program in the context of defence reform and obligations of BiH stemming from its membership in the Partnership for Peace.

The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bosnia said that Bosnia has made significant progress in cooperation within the Partnership for Peace and stressed that this is largely a result of the work of the the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bosnian Ministry of Defence and its officials.

The Bosnian Deputy Defence Minister Marina Pendes confirmed the commitment for the continuation of reforms and thanked Great Britain, the Netherlands and Croatia (the three lead nations of the Trust Fund), the IOM and donor states that by participating in this fund support efforts on the social and economic reintegration of dismissed members of the Bosnian Armed Forces.

Head of the IOM Mission in Bosnia Regina Biocault said that some 1.500 or 50 percent of users of the NATO Trust Fund have been contacted so far and reminded that professional soldiers, civilian officials and staff dismissed between 2004 and 2006/07 were able to apply for assistance.

Assistance is provided in the form of training, expert training, cross training, help in starting small businesses, purchase of equipment, self-employment in the agricultural sector etc.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey have also supported as donors the activities of the Trust Fund.

British Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Rycroft, representatives of the Croatian Embassy in Bosnia and the NATO HQ from Brussels also attended the press conference in the Bosnian Ministry of Defence.

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