Saturday, March 29, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 29,2008) - The Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia (EUFOR), Major General Ignacio Villalaín, has witnessed the signing of an agreement passing ownership of defence equipment to the Bosnian Ministry of Defence (MoD).The agreement covers movable defence equipment such as weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as other movable defence property such as radar stations and vehicles, EUFOR said.

Speaking at the ceremony for the ‘Agreement for final rights and obligations concerning movable property”, Major General Villalaín said:

“Today sees a significant step forward for this country. I warmly welcome this agreement and congratulate all parties on their vision and commitment. They are demonstrating a clear determination to securing a stable and productive future for the country and its armed forces.

A key part of our operational role in the Balkans regarding defence issues is to ensure that progressively more and more responsibility is handed over to the state level and the Bosnian Armed Forces. This signing today supports this and is another step forward in the excellent progress that the country is making towards defence reform.

EUFOR’s mission is to contribute to the safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and this agreement will have a powerful impact underpinning this. My task as Commander is to maintain close and fruitful contact with the Bosnian ministry of Defence and the Bosnian Armed Forces , advising and supporting them as we engage in ongoing military operations and training together. I am delighted to be here for this significant signing today,” General Villalaín said.

NATO HQ Sarajevo congratulated all who have contributed to the signing of the Transfer Agreement on Moveable Defence Property. This agreement is a milestone towards the full implementation of the Law on Defence and is an important and positive step along the path of Bosnia within NATO'S Partnership for Peace Program.

"The reform of the defence structures of Bosnia that began in May 2003 is widely recognised as the most successful reform effort undertaken since 1995. The achievements of the past five years have underpinned Bosnia’s successful bid to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and are a key element of its wider efforts to achieve full Euro Atlantic integration.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked long and hard to make this agreement happen, to the many members of the international community who have supported this work and especially to the political leaders of Bosnia who have made the hard choices based on their clear understanding of the importance of this agreement to the present and the future of this country. NATO extends its thanks and congratulations.

As we celebrate this event let us remember that our work is not done. NATO and its colleagues from the international community stand ready to fully assist Bosnia to implement this agreement and we hope that work based on preparation already done can start without delay," NATO HQ Sarajevo said.

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