On the morning of 30 October 2013, the Austrian Federal President, His Excellency Dr Heinz Fischer, arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for an official visit on board of a military aircraft C-130 Hercules at Sarajevo International Airport.
The Austrian President was accompanied by a delegation headed by Austria's Minister of Defence and Sports, Gerald Klug, and including Lieutenant General Bernhard Bair, Deputy Chief of General Staff and Brigadier General Dr. Johann Frank, Head of Division for Security Political Analysis.
Following a warm welcome from the Austrian Ambassador in BiH, H.E. Martin Pammer, the President and his party paid a visit to Camp Butmir, the Headquarters of the European Force (EUFOR) in BiH, where they were welcomed by Commander EUFOR Major General Dieter Heidecker and the Austrian National Contingent Commander Colonel (GS) Klaus Jäger.
COM EUFOR then briefed President Fischer on the current situation in BiH and presented the tasks of EUFOR, including its Capacity Building and Training activities with the Armed Forces of BiH (AF BiH). General Heidecker thanked the President for the outstanding support to the mission. Austria contributes troops to EUFOR within the Headquarters, the Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) Houses in BRCKO, BRATUNC and TUZLA, the HQ of the Multinational Battalion (MNBN) and providing pilots and helicopters for the aerial support. In total, more than 200 Austrians serve in the EUFOR mission, Op ALTHEA.
COM EUFOR also praised the professionalism of the Austrian members of EUFOR and expressed his confidence that EUFOR will continue to support the BiH authorities in maintaining the Safe and Secure Environment.
The Federal President stated that Austria’s military mission in Bosnia should be assessed favorably. Together with the soldiers, Fischer participated in a national reception where he thanked the soldiers for their "peace-keeping and humanitarian services" in the framework of the mission for the European Union. He emphasized that they are rendered "in the spirit of Austria's fundamental principles: peace, stability and democracy.” President Fischer took the opportunity to have lunch together with all members of the Austrian Contingent and provided them with the opportunity to pose their personal questions; this was widely appreciated by all those present.
During his one-day trip to BiH, Federal President Heinz Fischer will pay a visit to the national theatre to accept the Bosnian ”Isa-beg-Ishakovic” award presented by Amel Suljović. Isa-Beg Ishaković was an Ottoman general and the first governor of the Ottoman province of Bosnia. He ruled during the 1450s and 1460s. Mr Suljović is the founder and president of the Association for the Protection of Culture and Cultural Heritage ”Klepsidra”.
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