Switzerland is leading a multinational team of experts advising the Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces on weapons management.
The mission, which began on Wednesday, is being carried out as part of the European Union-led Eufor Althea stability mission in the country. Six Swiss light arms and munitions experts are part of the team, as well as specialists from Sweden and Austria.
It includes three-weeks of basic training in munitions. Special training for staff involved in munitions storage will be given in September. The overall goal is to ensure such training becomes standardised among the Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces in the medium-term.
As well as having a military presence in the country, Eufor Althea aims to develop skills with the goal of creating the necessary conditions for the withdrawl of international peacekeeping troops from the country.
Large quantities of munitions were stored in Bosnia after the war but have not been maintained since. The country’s armed forces do not have the technical know-how for the safe management of munitions and weapons, which pose a threat to the local population, according to the Swiss government.
Switzerland has been participating in the Eufor Althea mission since November 2004. Sixteen officers and non-commissioned officers currently form two liaison and observation teams in Mostar and Trebinje. In addition four staff officers are working at the Regional Coordination Centre South and at Eufor headquarters in camp Butmir in Sarajevo.
swissinfo.ch and agencies