From 26-28 August, the Operation Commander for EUFOR Operation Althea Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit the EUFOR mission and to meet with international and BiH officials. He was welcomed by the Force Commander of EUFOR, Major General Reinhard Trischak. The two Generals met with the High Representative, the Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative, the BiH presidency, the BiH Ministers for Defence and for Security, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and BiH Armed Forces Chief of Joint Staff.
Expressing their gratitude for EUFOR assistance, members of the BiH presidency stressed the good cooperation between EUFOR and the civilian and military structures of BiH, in particular with the Ministry of Defence.
EUFOR Commander Major General Trischak underlined the significant progress within the Armed Forces of BiH, emphasizing that they are an example in the execution of their tasks, being one of the most trusted institutions in BiH according to public opinion survey. “Particularly the Demining Battalion does an excellent job”, Major General Trischak said. EUFOR monitors, advises and assists the demining operations of the demining battalion of the Armed Forces of BiH. EUFOR also supports the BiH Ministry of Defence Masterplan in disposing of unsafe ammunition, weapons and explosives which contributes to a safer and more secure environment.
In two weeks the Training and Cooperation Plan for 2020 between EUFOR and the Armed Forces of BiH will be signed and October will see EUFOR’s annual exercise Quick Response, cooperating with security partners from BiH and testing the capability to bring in considerable reserve forces if required. Lieutenant General Rittimann stated that as long as developments in BiH are unpredictable, EUFOR has to continue its work as a physical and psychological presence, a visible assurance of the European Union’s commitment to peace and stability of the Western Balkans. “It is not a sprint that we are running, but a marathon”, the Operation Commander added.
The generals pointed out that EUFOR continues to closely monitor the security situation and focuses on its core task, to assist the BiH authorities within the mandate to maintain peace and stability in the country.